February 10, 2011 by Amanda Zahn
I feel the urge to warn people away from this blog. I do not even know where to begin when drafting this warning, however, so I press on with my train of thought. It is not anything controversial or embarrassing; it is just not likely something anyone will care to have drawn into a mental image. Maybe I am wrong.
I have decided that I look better naked than I do clothed. No, this does not mean I am shedding my wardrobe and moving to a nudist colony. While I do have a friendly appreciation of the naked form of both man and woman, I can almost guarantee that living with that every day is not my cup of tea. I would not even call this a realization, this positive image I have suddenly put into words. It is more likely that I had great room for comparison, of a clothed me and an unclothed me, in a short period of time.
Let me bounce around a little. I am really enjoying having morning classes this month. I am in class for the same amount of time per day as I was last month, but having it begin at 0900 feels like it leaves me so much day to get things done. Last month, I would get up around 0700 and have a light breakfast, do some short chores or homework, go to the gym, come home, shower, eat lunch, do heavier chores and more serious homework, and then I would usually nap for about an hour before class started at 1700. When I got out of class, I would likely be doing either more homework or, if it was a raid night, playing World of Warcraft.
This month, I typically get up between 0630 and 0700. I shower and get dressed, eat breakfast, pack my snack or lunch, and then I head to class. When I get out of class at 1300, I eat lunch, I do whatever chores or errands I need to get done, I do my homework, I spend an hour or two doing something wholly recreational, I go to the gym, I come home and cook dinner, and then I do either more homework or more recreational fun. I have exactly the same amount of time with both schedules, but the morning classes seem to guarantee that I do not need that nap in the afternoon.
I do not like going to the gym at night. I have always favored a workout in the morning for the quick wakeup and the feeling of being on top of the world for the rest of the day. The drawback to morning classes is a required evening gym schedule. It is packed at night. My gym is huge, so being packed is saying two things: there are a LOT of sweaty bodies in the same space, and you know it is a good gym when it can be packed and still accommodate everyone’s workouts if they maintain a little patience. The other members are generally decent people, however, and there is never a long line for any one piece of equipment.
One thing I have gotten into, going to the gym in the evenings, are the organized classes. There is a class scheduled every night at 1745. Some nights it is aerobics, others it is cardio kickboxing. There are cycling classes, boot camp basics, body works, abs, arms, legs, and everything in between. The organized classes fit so well into my schedule that it is easy to stay motivated to keep going. I have been going alone, but I have a couple of friends who say they will start going with me next week.
Now we can get back to the naked comment. So I am at one of these classes last night and it is one that involves free weights, a step, and a yoga pad. It was a class of repetitive movements, lots of push ups and sit-ups, and a leg workout at the end. You have seen these types of classes before. They are always in a room surrounded by mirrors, right? Naturally, this is so with my gym as well. The aerobics room is wired with a huge sound system and mirrors on three walls. I believe it would be all four, but the back wall is shared with the racquetball court behind it.
My peers and I, pumped up by bad techno renditions of beloved 80′s music and an instructor who is entirely too energetic, were completing all of the exercises as a unit. It was a beautiful thing to behold in those mirrors as all hands came up and went down in unison. Maybe it is my choice in workout apparel, some form-fitting sweats and a loose, but not baggy, t-shirt, but I did not like watching myself in the mirror. Watching myself move reminded me why I went to the gym in the first place. It is not a bad thing; it is more like a resolved acceptance of the shape of my body.
When I got home from the gym and got ready to take my shower, I was confronted by another mirrored image of me. This time, however, I was alone and very much bared naked for my own judgement. What I saw pleased me even if bouncing around to bad 80′s techno in that form might have changed my opinion. When I start losing weight, the first place it is noticeable is in my face and neck. Seeing myself without a stitch of clothing allowed me to see my face and neck and compare it to the proportions of the rest of me.
I am not going to go into specific thoughts here. I have some male friends who would likely suffer an aneurism or something if I really went into the things I noticed about individual parts of my body. I will close out this appreciation for my naked form with a smile that you will have to picture on your own, and a closing thought.
It is dusk in the movie that is my life. This is not the dusk that precedes the end of the movie, but a dusk that offers a time of reflection before tackling the next morning. I am driving, to where or from where, I do not know. The destination is unimportant. There is likely an older song in the background, like Journey or Boston, or maybe it is a rock song with some awesome guitar bits, like Van Halen, or maybe it is even something with a message in the lyrics, like the Scorpions or Meatloaf.
My window is down and I am letting the wind ruffle my hair as I drive. In this movie, the long and uninterrupted road ahead of me is broken visually with memories and reflections. Naturally, they will coordinate with whatever song is playing, but they will seem to come into my head, play through once or twice, and then get sucked out of my open window and into the night. I am not chasing my memories; I am allowing them to be as free as I am currently. I am opening my mind to new reflections, new mirror images, and am ready to chase the dawn.