Mad as Hell

And in that title, I want you to imagine hell as a very, very angry place.

Holy crap people. Here we go. Like I really needed two blogs in my life. Because most of y’all probably know that my sarcasm and biting wit normally find their outlet over here.

But guess what happened in the meantime? I got wrapped up in weight training as a way to channel all that repressed anger I apparently built up over the fact that I’m a newly divorced mom of three children under age 5, two of whom are non-identical twin girls rounding the bend out of the “terrible twos” phase.

Clearly, if I hadn’t found a decent outlet for my stress, I just might have launched myself gracefully off of my balcony, in an alcohol-and-cigarette-smoke-induced haze.

And yet, I did not!

No, I did not at all. What I did do, people, is start getting really strong. I started this blog at the beginning, as a personal journal. I didn’t know if I would take it public or not, or what. So I just kept writing it, and no one knew about it. Then I shut it down because it was getting super emo and all gushy and personal and I was like, you know what? Fuck it.

(Oh sorry, I forgot to put the disclaimer on swears. I say different kinds of swear words, at unexpected moments. So, you know, if that’s a problem for you, you should go read LOLCats or something.)

So anyhoo, I shut it down. But I kept working out. And then something happened in the meantime. Something really important.

People started to effing notice results. Like, as in, people started saying stuff like “Damn, you look good!” which was embarrassing for me because I wasn’t sure how to take it. Like, with my shitty-ass post-divorce self-esteem (which I promise I will try to stop highlighting, ie, “fake it til you make it” and pretend I feel all good about myself, but frankly folks, I really don’t, which makes it kind of tough), my effed-up mindframe would immediately think “Bastards. Why are they making fun of me?” because this is what the human brain will tend to do to you in the following circumstances: (at least, my human brain anyhow)

1) When you leave a relationship that broke you down emotionally to such a profoundly low level (mind you I’m saying relationship, not blaming the person I was married to in any way, shape, or form—it takes two to tango and I accept my 50%), when in your mind you become conscious of the fact that you feel like you are worth pretty much less than 10-day old garbage (believe me, it feels even worse than it sounds), well, shit, you’re not really ready to gracefully accept comments about your physical appearance. Your mind tricks you into thinking it’s some kind of evil mind fuck that people are playing on you. I know, it’s messed up. But bear with me.

2) When you start working out as hard core as I did, as in 4 to 5 times a week, one hour of very, very intense work and a radically modified diet (I cut out ALL sugar, bread, pasta, and non-water drinks for six weeks…I honest to God not joking had recurring dreams about eating cookies and sweets and then realizing what I was doing and spitting it in the garbage before swallowing…yes I realize this is not normal but that’s what was happening), clearly your psyche needs more time than your body to adjust to the changes you are making in your life.

3) When you still carry around bullshit baggage that goes all the way back to high school because you were everyone’s friend but no guy would date you, so much so that you were the effing loser girl that had to TAKE TICKETS at the senior prom because not even your GAY MALE FRIENDS would go with you, well, let me tell you, the whole self-esteem thing takes some work. Honestly. You would think we’d grow out of this crapola, but for me, it didn’t magically vanish by sinking into a cozy 10-year relationship, a 4-year marriage, and three children. Nope. Didn’t. No Bandaid-brand-bandage for that shit. It’s raw. It sounds stupid, right? “First world problems.” But so be it.

Anyways, all that to say, that starting an intense physical training program has psychological and mental implications the likes of which no trained therapist can dig out. No, people. I honestly believe that Mr. Barbell and Mr. Dumbbell have pulled out more inner psychic garbage in just 3 short months than a therapist could have done over, well, a lot longer.

Because working out has forced me to come to terms with a lot of that. Lifting weights makes me feel strong and secure, and it makes me really question why I settle for men who clearly don’t respect me or want to dedicate any time, thought, or attention to me as a person, but are more interested in whatever kind of superficial physical contact they can finagle (like that? I just used the word FINAGLE. I am a goddess.) out of me and my “pick me! choose me!” needy-ass mentality.

Well folks, no more.

NO MORE I said!

After desperately trying to cling on (not in any kind of weird sci-fi Star Trek way because those people kind of creep me out, no offense) to any man who would give me any sort of even remotely superficial compliment, which is about as easy to get as simply breathing when you live here in Italian stallion-land, I was drinking that shit up like I was a lost soul in a desert without water, I realized something so basic, that it was probably akin to that feeling we all had when we first discovered Post-Its.

You know the feeling I’m talking about. It’s that “WHY THE HELL DIDN’T I THINK OF THIS FIRST?” feeling.

I realized what everyone had been telling me all along, but I was finally ready to face it. “You don’t need a man in your life to make you a whole person. You’re already whole as you are. You’re already good and perfect as you are.”

What a revolutionary concept, right? But until your HEART understands this, you just keep going out there looking for someone else to make it happen for you.

Well, thanks to Mr. Dumbbell and Mr. Barbell and crew, I got back in touch with me and my inner and outer strength.

Back to mad as hell. So now, whenever things piss me off, like, for example:

1) Yesterday the dip-shit doctor who’s subbing in August for my normal awesome doctor who’s on vacation, didn’t want to write my prescription refill because “the sign says you have to give us one business day to do so” and when I told him I didn’t see the sign until I got there and “could you please write my prescription” because seriously people, in all the time it took him to bitch about the stupid signs he posted, it could have already been done… and he says “If you don’t leave my office I’ll call the cops on you for interrupting a public service” and then he wouldn’t even give me his name? ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME? (Btw, I got my damn prescription. Because I know how to throw a first-class raving lunatic fit when the occasion calls for it. And raving lunatic I do very well when called for.)

2) The realization that I have a brilliant mind (IMHO) that very few men on this great Earth of ours are capable of stimulating in the constant manner that I require, which leads me to think that I might be single for quite some time, which almost makes me feel sad and lonely and then I remember that most men are only after sex (sorry if that sounds cynical but truly folks, at least here in Rome, that has been my experience) and that at my age most men are married and squared away and the ones “left over” are left over for a reason. Shit, people. I know none of what I’m writing here is even remotely politically correct. But once you’re a single mom raising three children under 5, you become almost like one of those cranky old senior citizens who insist on continuing to drive at 90 years old, even though everyone around them knows they shouldn’t be, and guess what?! THEY JUST DON’T GIVE A SHIT. And they do it/say it/live it anyway. Life’s too short, folks. Speak your truth.

Jesus Lord where was I going with all this?

Oh yeah. So my mixture of anger, sadness, self-pity, loneliness, jealousy, aggression, and just about any old other negative emotion you want to sprinkle in the pot, led me to think that maybe, just maybe, today was a good day to try to double my push-up regimen.

As in, “normally” when I decide to do a circuit of push-ups, I do it Coach G-style in a pyramid, so starting with 8, sprint, then 7, sprint, then 6, sprint, on down to 1. Then a one-minute break before starting the whole ridiculous torture routine again. TWICE.

So today, I had just that much anger that I was like (picture me all inner mad): “YOU KNOW WHAT?” to absolutely no one. “FUCK EVERYONE!” And that, my friends, was most probably the exact precise moment when I decided I was going to do that damn circuit. TWICE.

Which came to a grand total of TWO HUNDRED AND SIXTEEN PUSH-UPS.

And I did it.

OH YES, I most certainly did. I won’t lie to you. I wasn’t entirely sure it would be within my physical capability. But folks, can I let you in on an ancient training secret? Or, if not ancient, at least a secret discovered by yours truly just today? The mind is more powerful than you think, and it can push your body to do most incredible feats of strength. Which is why I was crazy enough to attempt and then successfully complete one circuit at the beginning of my workout. AND ONE AT THE END.

As in, one-hundred-and-eight pushups after I had worked out for nearly an hour. Full-out. No “on the knees” stuff. Which, by the way, is nothing to be ashamed of. I could barely do like five of those on my knees when I first started. Everyone starts from somewhere. No shame in the game, people! But that is another reason why this number is significant for me. Because I have come a long way, and I didn’t even need a damn Virginia Slims cigarette to confirm this fact.

So, all in all, I think that’s what I’d like to from now on refer to as “healthy anger management.” Otherwise known as HAM.


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