Every once in a while, though not very often, I feel proud of myself. Like when I wake up early on a Saturday to go to the gym and work out for two straight hours while a storm is raging outside. Which was exactly what I did today. And which is why today, I’m proud of myself.
Let me tell you about my affair with the gym (as if I haven’t told you enough about it. Haha). It started as a reaction to this unfortunate event last May when this job offer that was almost in the bag slipped away just like that when they found out how unhealthy I was. I wasn’t even sick; I was just, well, extremely overweight. The president of the company wasn’t happy with the results of my medical exam, so on the day that I was supposed to see their offer, they told me that they changed their mind about hiring me. Never mind that I had to go through a series of interviews, nosebleed and all; never mind that I bested all the other applicants who also graduated from the best law school; never mind that I had to take this unbelievably difficult exam that forced me to recall these algebraic expressions that I haven’t seen the last 20 years of my life. Never mind all that. In their eyes, I was overweight, and thus, unhireable.
I was disheartened, to say the least. It didn’t even occur to me how discriminatory their policy was. What stuck with me was the fact that I was overweight and losing opportunities because of that. I realized that until that time, my weight was never an issue in all my pursuits (well, except in my love life maybe. But that’s a separate and distinct sob story altogether). As far as I can recall, I think I cried a little. And then I told myself, I can do something about it. So on that day, I went to the nearest gym and enrolled. And since then, I never looked back.
I’ve lost more than 15 lbs the past three months. I still have a long way to go as far as hitting my ideal weight is concerned. I’m not alarmed though, because what’s the hurry, anyway? I know I’m getting there, one stubborn pound at a time. Besides, more than losing weight, more than the numbers on the scale, what really got me hooked was how I began to feel better about myself. And it’s not even because I get to wear all these nice clothes now. It’s not even the compliment I get from friends who couldn’t believe my transformation. Rather, it’s knowing that I’m going beyond myself and doing things I never even thought I could do, like lifting weights and boxing, and running, and ACTUALLY enjoying them. And since physical activity has always been my waterloo, being able to do these things has given me the confidence I need to believe that I can do anything if I choose to set my heart on it. Today, for example, I surprised myself when I found out that while it used to take me forever to finish ten crunches, I can now do 100 straight without collapsing. And, while I used to quit after fifteen minutes on the treadmill, I can now run/walk for one hour without getting tired. Sometimes, I don’t even recognize myself when I’m in the gym anymore. Seriously.
So if I will do a Steve Jobs and start connecting the dots of my life, I’d say that my aborted job offer was the dot that connected me to my gym obsession which connected me to my healthy self which connected me to my confident self which connected me to my wonderful job right now. Of course I still indulge in chocolates and in caramel frap from time to time. I’m incorrigible when it comes to that. But at least now, the girl who couldn’t resist a bar of Royce chocolate is the same girl who wakes up early on a Saturday morning to hit the gym, rain or shine.
I know that if I look back and think real hard, I’d be able to recall doing several things in my life which I could probably be proud of. But this one— this act of taking care of my body as an expression of my love for myself— this one tops them all.