The inner light…
It took me a long time to have this picture taken. That is, it took a long time during the photo shoot. You see, I had to stop and cry a lot. Taking my shirt of, and revealing the body shown below made me feel worthless – based on where that body had previously been.
I had to come face to face with it though – with what I had allowed to happen to my body.
This photo was taken on 9/11/2012. Ironic, as it appears I was in the process of committing an act of terrorism – against myself.
In truth, I just let my guard down for a while. “For a while” could easily have turned into forever, but I didn’t let that happen.
No, I’m not going to insert of photo later on in this post of how I look today. Trust me, I look fucking great. That’s not my point.
I’m sharing this for two reasons:
1) To let those who struggle with issues of personal fitness, eating, and body image know that we are all human, and we can all become vulnerable to life’s challenges – even experienced fitness trainers.
As a fitness trainer, former marathon runner, lifter, cyclist, bodybuilder, and life-time practitioner of daily action, I became vulnerable to all things which anyone else might find blocking their path; depression, relationship issues, self-loathing, junk-food-medication, alcohol, and more.
Once I when I realized I was down though, I chose to get back up, and here I stand.
2) To remind those prejudiced, zealot fitness assholes who think they know everything about life, about exercise and eating, about how to change the body, the mind, and the attitude, but who actually prize physical appearance above all other virtues, that at the time this picture was taken, I was still very active.
Shell shocked, but still functioning…
At the time the picture above was taken, I was running with my running pack each week, and fairing quite well. I was lifting daily, and ahead of the game with my poundages. I was still a good business man. I could still crack a nice joke. I could still turn a phrase like ringing a bell. I was still a good father, a good friend, and a good citizen in my community. And what I looked like didn’t have a fucking thing to do with who I was on the inside.
Yes, I want to look good – but looking good is only a shell. Though my shell may ebb and flow through the rocky course of my life, so long as I live my intentions, who I am on the inside should never waiver.
I no longer look like the picture above. If I did though, the only thing that would be changed about me, would be how I’m perceived by (some) people around me.
But that wouldn’t really be about me, would it…? It would be about them, and their prejudiced tendencies with regard to physical appearance and beauty, which can be separate from functional fitness.
In truth, I do prefer the way I look today over the way I looked in that picture. And trees are made out of wood. I went to a party several weeks ago wearing a pair of jeans I could have worn in high school. There was a confidence in doing that which escapes description.
The confidence that comes with looking better and possessing a higher level of personal fitness does, I believe, enable me to contribute better to all facets of my existence. Perhaps that is the single greatest rationalization of my life. I don’t know…
Looking good, feeling good…
This I do know: There is a difference between aesthetic fitness, and functional fitness. Aesthetic fitness is simply the act of looking good – looking good is optional. I believe all of us though, have a responsibility to be functionally fit – the progression of our society depends on it.
I won’t attempt to deny the superficiality that is behind my pursuit of being aesthetically fit. I would rather go through life with aesthetic fitness than without it. I try very hard though, not to judge any person for any reasons, least of all for what they look like or how they function.
In my day-to-day psyche I work very hard to remember that in the end, none of us will be judged by the shape our abs or whether we do sinister justice to that little black dress.
In the end, we will only be judged by the deeds of our minds, of our hearts, by our actions toward others, and that whatever we do, be done out of love.
Taking me back…
As far as getting back to my current level of conditioning an appearance goes, to change the landscape of the human body; both in terms of ability and in terms of appearance, there are not two more important words than:
I became aware of that which I wanted to change. I applied the discipline required to affect those changes.
With a healthy respect for those two words, an entire attitude can be formed, and a body can be changed… Be well. rc
Please check back in two weeks to see what happens when I hit the “stop” button on the blender in my head.
Oh, and there is this from Poi Dog Pondering. Enjoy….