I have this morning ritual that I wasn’t even aware of until recently.
Actually it’s more of an unconscious reflex, hence this bloody ear worm.
Every morning (OK, sometimes afternoon) when I get out of bed, I go to the loo then afterwards swing past my full length mirror, lift my top and examine my midriff. Then depending on state of said abdomen I flinch, pull a face, remain impassive, then stumble off to put the kettle on.
Given that I have a history of eating disorders I’m guess that I’ve been doing this shit since my early mid teens, but of late I’ve doubled up to twice a day as, due to a lack of exercise, and, let’s face it, my extreme attachment to the sofa, my girth has expanded somewhat.
Back in the day, a.k.a. Duran Duran’s hay day, when I was a gym obsessive I would work out fervently, ever striving for that elusive six pack, then I’d lift my top and scrutinise my sweaty midsection, crunching my sunbed bronzed abdominals in an effort to justify that super strenuous 90 minutes of pumping iron.
Flex, flex, flex, flex, flex..
But despite what watching bystanders might have thought, it wasn’t out of vanity that I did this. There is no doubt in my mind that looking back 25 years ago to that time, I must have looked good, but all I saw were the imperfections. To be honest, I could have been a cross between Rachel McLish and Jamie Lee Curtis and I still would have pinpointed something that was pudgy, pathetic, or disproportionate that needed work, so the endless search for perfection became an obsession.
And whilst the net result brought me attention, it was only ever of the physical kind and no one ever saw or wanted to see who I really was.
Now I’m not even desired for my physical appearance, so I no longer use it, let alone bruise it. And whilst this in some ways is an enormous relief, in a way it is the death knell for all of my hopes and dreams to be loved, have a family etc. etc.
At least when you’re young you have hope.
But to this day, whenever I can make myself work out, I take myself into another world where my body sings with gratitude and all my mind has to worry about is counting the reps and committing to the burn, which if I’d realised it at the time, was the real benefit to pumping iron, and not to attract a life partner out of the bunch of muscle bound boys whom my protein shake brought to the yard, who only wanted to bump up their ever inflating ego by ‘conquering’ me.
Which, in fairness to them, unbeknownst to me, was all that I could offer at the time anyway.
Back to the present I’ve decided that if i’m going to do this damn fool thing every morning that I might as well go back to the weights room, and then at least I’ll have a fighting chance of not having to greet my reflection with a grimace of disgust every day.
And I’ll be giving something back to my ageing, neglected, much maligned carcass in the guise of self love, the only kind that counts when it all boils down. And whilst I know it won’t bring admiring gazes anymore, it will bring me physiological release, endomorphin hits and great bone density.
27 years ago I found myself in London fucked up and lonely with no friends which is coincidentally where I find myself today. But it was getting out and indulging my obsession that brought people into my life, so I’m hoping it works second time around.
So wouldn’t I use it?