February 10, 2013, will be the third anniversary of my first time at Warrior Fitness Bootcamp. Third anniversary? How could I remember a date so seemingly insignificant? It’s the date, I realized only in retrospect that I began in earnest to reclaim my life.
An appreciable number of members that sign up at WFBC are looking to lose weight, and I was no different; but the weight I was trying to lose was in my head. Emotional distress, brought on by the reality of a sudden, humiliating divorce, had brought with it sleeplessness, anxiety, and a loss of nineteen pounds in ten weeks. One morning I saw a piece on the morning news about this bootcamp thing. The correspondent related that after class she felt numb, sore, and halfway dead. I felt that way already. What did I have to lose? I decided to give it a shot.
That first class ended and Ruben remarked that I did “basically okay” for my first time, and did I want to sign up for more classes? I strained to emit a casual “Uh, let me think about it.” Something important happened afterwards, however: I went home and fell asleep for three hours in the middle of the afternoon. It was a deep and dreamless sleep, a restful slumber I hadn’t experienced for months; and although I wasn’t yet sold on the idea of going back to that bootcamp, I did feel that if I could sleep like that again, it might perhaps be worth it.
Class after class came and went and I continued making my way home and straight into bed thoroughly exhausted, and I liked the feeling. I wasn’t able to turn over the circumstances of my divorce and its attendant bitter realities–I was just too tired. For a few nights a week I could sleep. There was no insomnia, no need for a six-ounce high octane night cap, and no more need for the amber vial of pills that whispered “loser” to me every time I opened the sock drawer.
And then one day while I was shaving, I noticed a change in the mirror. “Wow,” I thought, “I’m not a scrawny little punk anymore.” I was gaining some weight back. I was adding some muscle. “I must be all the way up to average punk. Maybe even exceptional punk if I gel my hair up and get a tattoo of some indecipherable symbol on the back of my neck.” I realized that mine wasn’t a short-lived physical fitness phase; rather, I was becoming dependent upon the rush of that good bootcamp sweat. I signed up for my first 30-pack.
Twenty-two months after my first class at WFBC, my divorce became final. I’d gained back the weight I’d lost, and it was distributed in much more favorable ways. I felt better about myself and my circumstances. I realized that I wasn’t going to die–the end of my marriage wouldn’t kill me, and it should be noted, neither were Alex and Ruben. I continued to improve physically and more importantly, emotionally; I was steadily losing the weight I came in with. I began to receive regular visits from my old friend, Optimism.
Hmm, maybe this new life is what I was meant for all along.