“You’re in denial.” My husband smiled that sickening grin only those closest to you can get away with alive.
I yanked my sweater back down over my openly-zippered jeans and harrumphed my way out of the room.
Seconds later, I was standing in front of our bathroom mirror, checking out my newer folds of flab. Middle age had crept up on me unawares.
It’s no fun looking like a tree trunk. I am used to being petite, a slim willowy thing that blows in the wind. No longer can I eat any food in sight—the word calories actually holds meaning these days. I’d swear it started the week I ate four packets of chocolate-covered pretzels . . . alone.
Honestly, I think a more appropriate description of my shape would be an abdominal aneurysm. Every time I sit down, the dreaded flab bulges out. With a tree trunk, each wide ring within means a sign of a good year. That’s what my ever-widening flab means: it means I’ve had some good years lately.
God, I’ve prayed, please give me willpower. Give me what I need to get thin again. Help me to start exercising (even though I never have); this is a NEED, not a greed!
“Hmmm,” I heard him say once, as he rubbed his white beard in thought.
I know exactly what that hmmm means. It means I have to get up off my blessed assurance and put faith into action. It’s one of God’s DIY answers (Do It Yourself).
So what do I do about it? I sit and watch shows where fatties go off to the fatty farm and rid themselves of hundreds of pounds of flab by dieting and exercise alone. If they can do it, I can do it too, I yell—inside my head; the last thing I want is to be accountable to anyone who can remind me of banal statements.
The other day, I threw my head upward at the stairs and set my face like flint against the daunting climb. Up-down-up-down, as my breath and heartbeat combined in a race against time. Tomorrow I’ll do that three times, I said to my teenager, in all seriousness. That day has long since passed, and it turns out . . . I lied. Now I truly know what that look on her face means.
All I really need is four willing friends to chop me off my computer chair, haul me on a stretcher to the nearest gym and drop me through the roof. Even then, I can’t believe that if Jesus told me to get up and walk he’d force me onto the dreaded Stairmaster. Jesus is sweet and kind: in Sunday school they always told me that. Then again, in paintings, he only ever has the little lambs on his shoulders, not the belly bulging ewes. I think he made them walk up the hills and down again. Up-down-up-down. Those words are starting to give me nightmares.
I guess I’ll be staying as thick as a tree trunk for now; and, yes, I’m sitting here in jeans two sizes too small. Living in denial isn’t such a terrible thing, as long as my sweater remains long enough to at least reach past my zipper . . . and I do go up and down the stairs regularly these days: once in the morning . . . and once again at night:).
I thought I heard something just then. Must be my imagination.