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Monday, October 24, 2011

first world problems

Don't think it doesn't occur to me that all my bitching about "having" to eat all this extra food I'm eating in order to grow muskles isn't semi-obscene in a world where too many people are going hungry. I am not a clueless, totally self-absorbed douchebag. Most of the time. No, in fact, most of the time I am acutely aware that all this focusing on my body, what it can do and what it looks like, *is* a very selfish and spoiled pursuit. But as selfish and spoiled pursuits go, it at least isn't harming anyone. It's not as if I stopped eating whey protein powder, starving children in Somalia are going to have more to eat. It's not as if I stopped eating whey protein powder, hungry children in fuckin' Boston are going to have more to eat. But sometimes I look at all the time I spend in the gym or taking freaking progress pictures and obsessing over them or, y'know, writing crap about fitness on the internet, and I think, "Andrea, that time would really be better spent doing volunteer work." But, alas, I am not Mother Teresa in a tanktop.

It is with all that being said that I convey to you my absolute frustration that, looking back at my records, it seems I have not really gained any weight in the past 3 months, and so to call what I am doing a "bulk" is perhaps overstating it. I am trying to be okay with this. I am trying to remind myself that the fact that I am, and have been, borderline obsessive with the logging my food and wearing my bodymedia and writing down my workouts and reaching for some kind of nebulous yet real-in-my-mind goal is a self-soothing technique. Kinda like some severely autistic children like to bang their heads on hard surfaces. I *know* that. In fact, since I have been embarking on this miserable online dating experiment, I have had lots of prospective new acquaintances ask about how I got into lifting weights, and I always give the same glib answer. To wit, the second half of 2010 I had a whole bunch of bad things occur in my life and my way of coping with it was to get in really, really good shape. And I always follow that by saying (because I'm so effin' witty) that as dysfunctional coping mechanisms go, it's probably less destructive than, say, drinking heavily or running up massive credit card debt. Glib, witty, but honest at its core. I use focusing on my body as a way not to focus on the hurt inside of me that comes from finding my father dead on the floor, from the breakup of my relationship with someone I adored, from the goddamn cat dying two days after Christmas just when it looked like she was gonna beat the odds.

First world coping mechanism! I suppose if I were starving in Somalia, my drive to try not to starve would be distracting me from any grief I had about losing loved ones. Do human beings ever really process loss without distraction? I dunno. This post is already too deep for me. I do better when I'm bitching about gym douchebags or tearing apart books that suck. People like me when I'm cranky and superficial. Don't fret. We'll return to that shortly.

But right now I'm kinda making a resolution to stop being invested in whether my "bulk" works or not. I like lifting weights. It's fun even when you're not using it to obsess. I like going to the gym because it's "me" time (and while doing charity work would be the better thing to do, having a little me time isn't overly selfish.) I'm going to make the effort to just lift and go to the gym for fun and cut down on the obsessing about it. I know I've probably said that before, but this time I mean it. Lulz.


1 comment:

  1. Dear Andrea, first, I am so sorry! What you've gone through, in such a short period of time would topple a lot of people. I am all for witty and snide but your sensitivity and perspective re. the lives of others (not to mention my immediate affinity to you based on you Michele Bachmann comment), indicates a depth that may not be obvious to the superficial observer.
    Anyway, I do volunteer work. I have done volunteer work intermittently, since I was 15 years old, but all the circumstances have to be right in order to do that. I know you wrote this some time ago but the philosophy remains applicable: we focus on different aspects of our lives at different times and you are right: coping mechanisms are imperative when we are under stress and yours could certainly not have been healthier (not that you need my gratuitous, retroactive support). Hope to god this does not sound condescending.