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Monday, July 25, 2005

Avenging The Training Room Tyrant

When I was a sophomore in college I decided that if I was going to be big girl – the polite way to say fat - then I was going to be a strong big girl. I enrolled in a weight lifting class. An early morning weight lifting class! Just the habit a big girl ought to have, right? Two of my fatty-friends joined me and united we arrived at the first class with our best strong-gal faces!

We stepped forward to meet the instructor, our guide to the land of the strong and powerful. His name may as well have been Training Room Tyrant. He was lean, fit and fine to look at. And he was a fat bigot. He was on a mission to rid the world of the obese and unworthy and purify his planet with the fit and strong. He barked orders like a prison warden and belittled us three little pigs. Certainly we were fat by choice, out-of-control gluttons wasting earth’s precious resources -like air and water! But fat girls like to please; we yearn to be accepted in an unforgiving world. Without complaint we lifted, tugged and pulled on weights that were much too heavy too many times on this our first day of class. The more we tried to please the Tyrant the more he pushed – he was on a mission.

We spent the next four days in hell. Our entire muscular systems were broken and torn and we suffered together. After four days our muscles healed, but our spirits remained shattered. One more time we had failed and we felt like unworthy little pigs living in a thin man’s world. So we did what fat girls do; we ate ourselves silly, drowning our sorrows in tubs of ice cream. We never went back to class. And even though I spent but 40 minutes under his command, I never forgot the Training Room Tyrant.

Years later I declared war on my fatness and underwent gastric bypass surgery. Ten days later I stepped on my treadmill (after dusting it off, of course) and I spent ten minutes walking laboriously. With every slow steady step I took I cursed the Tyrant and I vowed to avenge the shame and humiliation he had wrought upon my compatriots and me. And the next day I walked and I was mad as hell at the Tyrant. In my mind’s parade I saw all the others who had belittled me throughout my life and I avenged myself with every step. Every day I walked madder and faster and further fueled by my anger. “I’ll-show-them, I’ll-show-them” sang the cadence of my step.

Then one day I noticed how great it felt to fill my lungs with air, and breathe out effortlessly. My legs were strong, my heart beat steady and I was becoming a fit person. My body became strong and I pulled myself tall with confident posture. I loved swinging my arms to every step. I put music on the stereo and turned it up loud! I walked for me – for the pure joy of motion! And the anger slipped away. When I let this anger go it was replaced with positive thoughts and the countless wounds inflicted upon my spirit over the years began to heal.

I had triumphed over the Tyrant and I was crowned victorious! Looking back, it seems silly to have wasted so much energy on anger and revenge. But the fact is, it motivated me to move and from there I discovered this wonderful powerful body. I found it didn’t really matter what motivated me to move. What mattered was that I got out and took one step and then the next down the road of self-discovery, health and wellness.

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