06 December 2006

The United States of Jesus-Land

Well, really. What did I expect? I am working out at the YMCA, after all. The Young Men's Christian Association, for those not in the know. And what does that get me? Well, for one, it means that I don't have to look at people working out in hotpants and or super-small muscle t's, which is a good thing, but it also means that when I sign up for one-on-one time with a personal trainer the person is likely to be an evangelical, seeing as they work at the YMCA. And when I say "people" working out in hotpants, I mean you super-skinny 17 year olds who whine about being fat when you weigh less than 100 pounds.

Yes, ladies and gents, I had my session with my new trainer yesterday, and she's a lovely woman (who has 5 kids ranging in age from kindergarten to 21, yikes, that's gotta be with the crazy-making) and she told me that God loves me and that I am worth it. "I am an agnostic", I told her, with a perfectly straight face. She actually visibly twitched. Which is really funny in a very mean-spirited way, and reminds me all over again that I am indeed living in the midst of the USJ, the United States of Jeeeeeesus Land.

Friend J reminds me all the time that the freedom of religion that the US Constitution grants us is not freedom FROM religion. True, true. But I dislike having YOUR religion shoved down MY throat at every opportunity. If this woman twitched when I told her about my agnostic leanings, d'ya think her head would explode if I told her about my activism for abortion rights? I suppose all that begs the question that if I feel this way, why am I using the YMCA's facilities to tone up my fat ass? Honestly, because it is the nicest, newest, cleanest and best-run facility in my suburban hell. The locker rooms don't stink, there is a very nice sauna (which is VERY important to me), the cardio and weightlifting equipment is new, well-maintained, and the group exercise classes offered run the gamut from simple aerobics to Tai-Chi and Pilates. My other options are small facilities without nice saunas, Curves (shudder), or meat-markets where you can't spend 5 minutes on a treadmill without leisure-suit Larry coming on to you. One local gym actually has a bar in the gym. Not a juice bar, a real booze and do-you-come-here-often kind of bar. Nice. So yes, I continue to use the YMCA and then complain about the Christian contingent in the YMCA. I know, I know.

The trainer and I spent some time talking about my frustration about the fact that I've lost six fucking pounds since I started working out 6 days a week. She suggested some changes that I am going to implement, and she and I used all the resistance machines and figured out proper weight settings for me for each of them. What I wanted from the session was to have a program designed for me to follow that is going to get me some results, and hopefully that's what I got. She suggested upping my daily cardio from 30 to 45 minutes, gradually, and upping the resistance on the elliptical machine that I've been using. She also told me that the other cardio machines in the cardio studio don't bite, and that I should change up my regimen all the time to continue to get results. So I have to stop avoiding the steppers and try the rowing machines. I didn't this morning, but I will. I did up the time I did cardio to 35 minutes, so that's a start. She suggested a schedule for working each muscle group that I plan to follow, and showed me the right way to fill out the forms for tracking your progress. All that is good. She also claims that the weight will begin to fall, that I need to stick with it and I will see results. At the moment, I'm feeling like that is utter bullshit, but I am not going to walk away from it now. I'm at a crossroads when it comes to my health. I can give up, and be an overweight American for the rest of my life and in all likelihood be an insulin-dependent diabetic within the next 3 years, or I can get off my ass and get moving, be the sexy skinny thing I used to be. I was so inspired by watching my Swedish friends run the NYC marathon, and I want to be THAT girl again, the one that people whisper, "she's sooo pretty" when I come into a room, and that does not happen at my current weight. So I'm up off my ass and moving.

The religion thing really bugs me because I want to have freedom FROM religion, and living where I do, that's just not possible. I think about trying to explain the religion/politics connection to someone from another planet, and come up empty every time. The separation of church and state is a fantastic idea, but in reality, religion and politics are so tied together that there is no separating them here in the US. I want to make some broad sweeping statement here that all conservatives are religious nuts, but that simply isn't true. And some liberals have deep faith. The fact that organized religion permeates nearly every facet of our Judeo-Christian society is something that is simply inescapable. Annoying, but inescapable.

On to something else. I saw the most beautiful sunrise this morning. I tried so hard to look at that and let my spirit soar, but I've had tears in my eyes most of the day. The sister that's moving to St. Louis leaves tomorrow, and I'm both angry and sad about it. Angry because that is easier than being sad. Stupid, I know, but there it is. I'm having trouble breathing again, and this time it has nothing to do with my asthma. I'd rather feel nothing at all than feel this unruly sea of emotions that run the gamut from really pissed off to hysterical sobbing. Not that I think that's really a solution, but it is a thought.

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