Tuesday, September 11, 2007

My Moment of Clarity

Well, here it is, my second day of Operation Bootcamp and muscles I didn't know I had are screaming every time I shift my ample bottom in my office chair. And it makes me smile. Wierd huh? Truth is I've been experiencing a gradual increase in chronic pain over the past year. Sometimes it is related to my pitifully weak lower back just giving me hell for a few days or weeks at a time when I do anything remotely active (well the poor thing is responsible for keeping my even more ample bosom from dragging the ground) but most of the time I just wake up aching from head to toe and the pain stays with me in varying degrees throughout the day.

I'm quite the rationalizer so I've come up with all sorts of scientific (not) explanations for why I hurt all the time and I've tried drugs (legal ones anyway), alcohol, sleeping more, "relaxing" more and my tried and true, "taking it easy." And you know what? The pain is just getting worse, not better. I've had an intense allergy to exercise my whole life. Fundamentally I am physically lazy (and given my prediliction for reality tv, arguably mentally lazy as well).

Why have I feared exercise for so long? Asthma was one reason. I developed it in adolescence and it was always triggered by exercise (among other things). That fear is no longer an obstacle thanks to Advair. My asthma is now much more under control than it has ever been before. What was my other fear? Pain. Exercise tends to cause some sort of physical discomfort. But I'm in pain all the time now . . . so what am I saving myself by not exercising?


So there you have it, my moment of clarity. I can settle into a foregone conclusion of gradually worsening chronic pain over which I have little control, or I can create some productive pain, some pain that means something, in the hopes that it will reverse the path I seem to be sliding down. Hence, my pleasure at the pain I'm feeling now. Although it is inescapably more intense than my usual aches and pains, it has a purpose, and it marks my achievements over the last two days. I'm proud of this pain, and myself, and that has been a too rare emotion for far too long.

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