Freelance by Jen

Consider me the No More Tangles of your writing needs.

Those of you who know me probably clicked on this expecting to read an ode to all things jelly.

Because I love it. Specifically, preserves. Jam is too, just, weird in my mouth, and jelly is a bit unpredictable, but give me a nice preserve, a spoon, and maybe a warm, soft bread, and in return I will give you a winning smile and sunny “thank you!” Then, 30 minutes later, I will start talking about how disgusting I am as a person and, wow, Jen, it’s called willpower, and why even is my life, and some more things that will quickly devolve into sounds instead of discernible language before I drop the empty preserves jar and wonder what I have become.

But I digress.

Because it’s a totally different jam I want to talk about today. The kind where you’re like, bumpin’ in the club.

My relationship with working out has all the potential to be healthy. I love to work out, I love the way I feel afterward, and I love how much better I feel when I’m firmly in the routine.

The parts I don’t like, unfortunately, are the parts where I make myself get started and then the parts where I actually work out. Still, though, I’ve had some good runs. I lifted weights and played tennis for a bunch of years in my youth. I was super into yoga off and on for about seven years. And then I found my salvation, the Nevada Fitness Club, from January 2014 until August 2015.

But those were all the works of past Jen, and, sadly, I’m not her anymore. I was excited, though, in January of this year, when I found what I thought was the solution: Title Boxing Club. That excitement lasted all of two weeks, until they abruptly closed and sold everything.

Then we went on vacation, and then we got back, and my motivation was decidedly lacking because it was months until swim season and vacation was over, and bing bang boom, here we are.

But here’s a thing I noticed about my 2016 self: my skin is starting to sag. And also my entire butt. And then I inadvertently discovered a horrifying new game called “What happens to my skin when I bend at the waist to dry my hair in the morning,” and bam: motivation anew.

And THEN, to seal the deal, my old workout coach posted this on the Facebook group page:

IMG_0082

So yeah. It was goin’ down for real.

Side note, semi-related, something fun I like to use since moving here is Groupon. I found Title Boxing through Groupon, and I found this new place called The Studio on the same app. So, I bought a two-week membership. In February. And then I sat on it, probably while eating something.

But this past weekend, I talked to a couple of women who had gone there, and they told me it was great. That, added to the reality of the impending float season, caused me to decide it was actually time. And then, before I could change my mind, I signed up for four separate 5 a.m. classes.

Class One: Monday, April 11, 5 a.m. Weather: pouring. I mean, the kind that feels like buckets of water targeting your head specifically. Throw in thunder and lightning for added effect. But I got in my car and, after only passing the place once and realizing it much further down the street, I turned around and got inside with minimal soakage. The maximal soakage would come later. When class started.

This class was called Beats. Don’t get too deep with this one. I didn’t know what to really expect, which was an issue that could have easily been avoided by reading ANYTHING under “Class Descriptions” on their site, but that’s in the past. Nowhere to go but forward.

Anyway so I made it in there, and felt okay, because it was only 30 minutes and anybody could get through a 30-minute class probably. I found out relatively quickly that this one was made up of HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) and Tabata, which is a series of exercises that are 20 hardcore seconds, followed by a 10-second rest. Due to the rain, there were a bunch of cancellations, so only five other brave souls were in attendance. All obvious regulars. I felt simultaneously smug and jealous, thinking of my fallen potential comrades. Then the instructor started, and there was no time for feeling. Or anything else but trying to remember to breathe. And failing. But plenty of time to remember other stuff, like how much I hate the taste of failure, and doing jumping jacks.. Especially the starfish kind. And all of the other kinds. Also I hate high knees.

But I made it. And that was so exciting, and I felt great for most of the day, and dinner was good, so I figured why not celebrate by staying awake way too late and catching up on Survivor and Billions?

Five hours later…

Class Two: Tuesday, April 12, 5 a.m. I had only awakened about three times during the night, sure my alarm was about to go off, so let’s call that a semi-solid four hours of sleep. The good news was, it wasn’t raining. The bad news was, it felt like twelve degrees outside. But I turned in at the right parking lot this time…and, to my dismay, there were a LOT more cars than the previous morning. Like, so many more. I couldn’t remember the name of this class, but it was clearly popular.

I walked in, and everyone knew one another. It was too early for me to make the effort, so I sat back and listened to exclamations about some child’s birthday party, and generally started feeling like I was sitting at the lunch table with the popular girls, and it was my first day, and they totally all got each other, and I didn’t fit in, so bye Felicia. But then I remembered that I very well COULD have sat by myself at the lunch table all through school, and wouldn’t have noticed, because I celebrate lunch like it’s my damn job. So then I felt better.

I’m a self-soother.

I noticed everyone getting weights from a shelving unit off to the side, so I figured I might as well do the same. For blending purposes. I use ten-pounders at home, and these were all fives and threes and what looked to possibly be ones, but who knows. It was early. So I grabbed the fives, squelched down the fresh smug that rose up within me, and took my place in the back of the room because I’m a loner in workout situations and a morning person exactly never.

Then the class started, and with it, my feelings. Fortunately, I had just watched the end of Trainwreck on Sunday, so I could precisely identify the first feeling I got. I was Amy Schumer in the dance scene at the end, and every other woman in there was a professional Knicks cheerleader. It was dancing. The whole class was dancing. But not like, middle school slow-dancing like I’m really good at. This was like, “me and my girls went to the club and got down for six hours to shake the rage out” dancing. This was Jennifer Beal “She’s a Maniac” dancing.

First I tried to make up my own lyrics to the music.

My name is No, my number is No, this song is No, my skills are No.

It was briefly entertaining, but then I thought I tasted blood in the back of my throat and had to stop self-soothing to briefly panic.

But wait! Then it was time to add weights.

Have you ever rage-club-danced with your arms all up in the air and out to the sides and straight in front and bent at the elbows while holding weights? Even only five pounds in each hand? The best part of it was that I didn’t lose control and nail somebody in the head.

But yeah. So much dancing. And then it got so bad that the unimaginable happened.

I started to think I was pretty good. Like, basically competition-ready. The combination of being sleep-drunk, the stupid early hour of the day, the black/neon lighting, my steadfast refusal to admit defeat, and the weirdly motivational club music mixed together in my head, and my next thoughts were how excited I was to show Josh my sweet-ass moves when we went to the Beale Street Music Festival later this month. Like, I legitimately thought that.

Fortunately, that was the last clubbin’ song. We wound down to an Ed Sheeran hit that made me want to middle school slow-dance into my bed, and it was time to wring my hair out and bid Mega Jams (see what I did there? I tied it in.) adieu.

And until then, try not to remember that Meghan Trainor will be at Beale Street, performing the “No” song, and that the possibility is very real that my body will instinctively move, killer-dance-style, in response.

 

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