It’s January. When you live in the upper northeast, the lack of sun and bitter cold temps can suck you under. What a great time to write! And go to the gym to fulfill your new years resolutions, of course.
I’ve been working on the finishing touches to my book, a memoir that reflects on my battles with good and evil. I know what you’re thinking. How original– right? Though I’ve known my life has always been quite dysfunctional from childhood, I never thought it to be uniquely dysfunctional, therefore, never considered anyone would care to hear my story. But–brace yourself. God told me to write it.
AND this is where I lose half my readers, I figure I should be upfront and honest though, so there are no surprises.
God had actually been pushing me to write my story for a few years. But, like I said, how cliché is it to write a memoir? If a writer writes a memoir there is usually some sort of narcissistic motivation. And I agree, who doesn’t want to talk about themselves? I can’t promise that in writing it my narcissistic tendencies didn’t do jumping jacks every time I opened my laptop. Not really, though. Digging up my past, then spending hours carefully remembering and analyzing it all, didn’t sound much like any fun I wanted to partake in. But I became invested. Invested in spewing out my memories, in hopes of helping at least one person. There were many reasons I decided to get serious about the idea, but the one that sticks out, the one that made me write the first paragraph, was due to a flirty, middle-aged woman I chatted up during my daily cardio tortures at the gym.
Every morning Bev and I talked about life while we sweated and panted on the elliptical. She had just began her gym journey, I had been circling through that routine since I was a teen. Bev was beginning a mid-life crisis and needed to preserve her vanity. Her crispy, tanning bed skin, bleached blonde hair, and perky fake breasts weren’t cutting it anymore– I presumed. (I don’t say these things with malice, they are necessary to paint the picture that which was her. I liked Bev, she was a sweet woman.) I gave her pointers about weight training and how to eat right and she absorbed it all, following my advice and becoming addicted to the notion of becoming firm and more youthful.
I watched as she quickly thinned out, not that she was in any way over weight. I watched how she analyzed herself in the mirrors daily, wearing fresh, new, skin-tight spandex and a tops she busted out of, showing all but her nipples. I watched as she hired a trainer and sunk even deeper to the obsession. And then I listened. I listened as she began complaining about her husband– her husband that she once praised on what a good father he was, and the sweet things he did for her. Her husband was a doctor, she was a stay at home mom.
After about nine months of watching her transform, physically as well as mentally, she moved her goals to the next level. Our conversations became a mix of how hot her trainer was, and how he was going to help her sculpt and finesse her body, in preparation for her to compete in a bikini contest. We didn’t talk much anymore at that point, he routine was different so I had to find a new chat buddy for cardio torture. She still kept me informed during small talk here and there, when id arrive or when I was about to leave. She went on to get her personal trainer certification and soon she was working at that same gym– meaning she was there all day every day, along with other trainer.
It didn’t take a genius to see the intense flirting that went on between the trainer and her, or to see that they both took their lunch at the same time, and they left in her vehicle every day for that “lunch break’. No, all of the other gym regulars knew exactly what was going on as well. I just knew it was going to happen well before it did. Bev ended up divorcing her husband and to this day she is still with the gym rat trainer.
The whole time I watched all of those events take place, I wanted to take Bev and shake her. I wanted to tell her how familiar I was with everything she was experiencing, and tell her how she had fallen into a trap. I couldn’t, though. There was too much to say in order to get her to understand. I knew there was no way she would have given any of my ramblings serious thought. She had an agenda and nothing was going to detour her, I knew that all too well. It made me so incredibly sad. I soon switched gyms, I couldn’t stand to continue to subject my peaceful mornings to something I wanted to help but couldn’t. And that is about the point where I had a dream– yada, yada- -and God told me to write my story– yada, yada. The details of that dream are for another post.
You see, Bev was just one out of dozens. I witnessed the same exact scenario happen in many different gyms. Being the fitness guru that I was, there weren’t any gyms in my county I hadn’t been to. And at every gym, always the same shit happening. Gyms just happen to be a great medium for married men and women to sow their wild oats. Not all married folk, of course, just the weak ones.
My entire memoir isn’t about gym affairs. It would be cool if it was, though, right? Maybe for my next book.
My story begins when I was only five, I wasn’t quite into gym affairs at that age. I was certainly into boys, though. My memoir is more a collective of various life events, which showcase some of the great handiworks of the dark side. But at some point it may include a gym affair– or two, or three… Plenty of crude, reckless behavior as well. After the shit I put myself through, I’m lucky to be where I am now.
No. It’s not luck.
Its grace. It’s Mercy. Its love.