Mental Exercise

So I go to a Chisel class at Crunch gym nearly every Friday or Saturday. I hate it, but I do it.

When you go to those classes often, you get to know the regulars. Most of them are cool: there’s a model that I hate because she’s gorgeous but I love because she’s low key and nice to look at; there’s a very young, frumpy blonde who is so uncoordinated that she’s always on the verge of completely toppling over during the simplest of exercises, which fascinates me; and there’s a no nonsense woman who could kick all of our asses but instead is very polite and accommodating to everyone in her path. The Friday class teacher is very sweet in the class, but standoffish outside of it. She has a baby bump and for months I have been trying to figure out whether she’s pregnant or not. The Saturday teacher is a superstar black gay man, the class is usually too crowded because he’s so popular.

And then there’s me. I am uptight. Like, really uptight. I don’t look like I should be uptight, I’m the only one in a Motorhead tee and tattoos. But my weights are lined up just so and I would never lay on the mat without a towel and I get testy when anyone encroaches on what I deem as my space.

I have a long list of rules in my head that no one has any idea exist but everyone has to follow or I get annoyed. Like, don’t leisurely fill your water bottle at the fountain when there’s a line of people behind you waiting to take a drink. Or don’t sloppily throw your weights everywhere so that I’m in danger of killing myself during lunges. Don’t show up ten minutes late and jam yourself in somewhere that you don’t really fit, inconveniencing the people who got there on time. Don’t clump around getting in everyone’s way by putting your shit away before the class is done so you can leave early during the final stretching part of the class. Don’t do a lot of creepily sexual sighing during yoga class. Don’t wear tight, see-through shorts so I am forced to get to know your ladyparts every time you stretch a hamstring.

The list goes on and on. But I try to keep a lid on myself because I know I’m nuts. I take the attitude that the imagined transgressions are the Universe’s way of teaching me to relax, to be patient, to stretch my emotional hamstrings in a modest pair of non-see-through pants, if you will. And on most days I am able to refrain from being a complete asshole.

But there is one “teacher” that I have not been able to decipher just yet, so I am writing about it here in the hope that by doing so I will be able to unravel the mystery of the strong feelings that come up.

She is a severely anorexic woman. I would guess she is anywhere from her mid 30’s to 40’s, it’s hard to tell. She always dresses in baggy grey sweats, baggy greyish white tee. Her clothes hang off of her, her skin is grey, her hair is black and frizzy with gray running through it, cut in the worst Roseanne Roseannadana bob imaginable. Her arms and legs are mere toothpicks, it’s a miracle they can hold her up as she hops around nonstop through any class that features cardio. She ignores the weight training segments and hops around on the step. She ignores the stretching segments and hops around on the step. She is moving, moving, moving, and looks like she could expire at any moment.

On top of this excessive visual stimuli, she’s got a death wheeze that you can hear from a fair distance. Wheeze in, wheeze out, wheeze in, wheeze out. I find it beyond distracting, as I do the nonstop hopping, and I always pray that she parks herself far away from me when she enters the class. One time she was directly behind me and I spent the entire hour focused on the wheeze. In, out, in, out, in out. Gah!!!! It drove me mad. 
But most of the time she’s not that near me, and I’m still pissed off. I’m obsessed. I actually look around for her when the class starts, and I hate her with more passion than makes sense. And it really doesn’t matter where she is in the room, she just has to be there to send me on a demented mental tangent:

MEAN ME: Just look at her over there. Does she think we don’t know what’s going on? Stop that fucking jumping, you maniac and get yourself to a hospital. You are annoying. ANNOYING.

NICE ME: Why are you being so ridiculous? She’s got a disorder. She’s not doing this to hurt anyone. Maybe she experienced some major trauma and this is how she’s learned to cope. You don’t know what her life is like.

MEAN ME: I’m not ridiculous, she’s ridiculous. That bullshit behavior is totally disruptive. It’s been long enough, she needs to pull it together. That wheezing is making me crazy, CRAZY!

NICE ME: She’s halfway across the room, fer Chrissake. If you spent more time focused on working out and less time focused on judging other people, you’d have a better time. You’re doing this to yourself, you know.

MEAN ME: Whatever…I hate her hair…

I have no idea why I take her condition so personally. Am I afraid of my own weakness? Am I somehow jealous that she is able to control her pasta intake much more capably than I can? Am I upset that she’s breaking the rules? Am I afraid that I could fall into disorder insanity too? Or am I merely uptight and thus annoyed at having so much visual and aural distraction while I’m trying to concentrate? Maybe I’m just an incredibly crabby person. I don’t know, I don’t know!

It’s clear that my problem with her is really some problem within myself. I have heard and read and experienced many times that the people that we react most strongly to are mirrors held up to reveal to us something about ourselves. But I haven’t quite figured this one out yet, so I guess she will remain in my consciousness until I do.

When I work it out properly, I’ll try to write something more insightful than I’ve given you today as I realize that this is a somewhat pointless entry. But I do feel better at having openly admitted (once again) that I am an awful person.

Happy Mother’s Day!

Author: Raffaele

Rock and roll juggernaut, writer, muse, animal lover, Cycle Slut from Hell, friend, lover, sister, daughter, nerd, fagwoman, Slytherin, killer queen.

5 thoughts on “Mental Exercise”

  1. Does it make you feel any better to know that down here in Austin I'm having the exact same arguments with myself whenever I have to spend time with other humans? There's a woman at my work who drifts around the hallways. She's not doing anything wrong – just… drifting. At 0.02 MPH. Really slow. She has a big flat butt and a permanently confused expression.

    I want to throw her down the stairs.

    Personally, I think some of those reactions are driven by an alpha personality recognizing weakness and seeking to protect the pack by removing it. I can't explain the unmitigated tooth-baring aggression I experience on a daily basis any other way. It's primitive and raw and I have to admit, I wouldn't be any other way.

    To quote Ren Hoek: “Hey! I feel great! I love being angry!”


  2. Oh my gosh I know exactly who you are talking about! I always see her at the ultimate conditioning and cardio scuplt class I take! She makes me crazy! I purposely try to go to the front of the class so that I don't see her in the back. She is so distracting, I wish she was banned from classes. It's sad because the woman obviously has a problem but why should people that actually benefit from the class for positive health reasons have to look at someone like that.


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