So I do this thing sometimes when I haven’t been working out. I punish myself and what that means essentially is that I tell myself that I won’t eat a goddamn thing until my stomach flips inside out and suddenly it’s looking and feeling like a ceramic from Pier 1 Imports.
I tell myself that I’ll hold myself off and won’t eat until I’ve learned my lesson and figure that I’ll find the motivation to work out. I was under the pavlovian assumption that I’d be able to condition myself to never stop working out. Then I realized it was simply a masochistic-pavlovian tendency that really wasn’t going to go anywhere in terms of fixing me.
I get pissy when I don’t work out because I’ve never had a six-pack, and despite what people may personally believe, I’ve always believed that me as the young gay man in New York’s gotta have one of those if I’m gonna be trotting around with a big cuban ass. At least give me that.
Thing is, because I deprive myself, I’ve never had the stamina to get a six pack. Because I never give myself what I need, I’ve never had what I’ve truly wanted.
Yoga worked for a while. My ass got lean and simple and my arms along with my cantaloupe of a head could support the rest of my body as it stood strong in the air as I transitioned from headstand to handstand on a consistant basis; always trying to impress and improve on my fluidity, to impress my yoga instructor and to catch a glipse of the guy’s ass in front of me and wonder ‘why the hell hasn’t that happened to me yet?’
Of course, this is all coming from when I was a little boy, when I was Chuck City growing up. It took me a while to pick up on the reason why people were calling me a fat fuck and an ugly little shit and often looking at me as if they were equally appalled and curious as to why I was eating lunch and sneaking fifty cents out of my ma’s change box to buy a cup of cotton candy flavored italian ice- I understood what they were saying, but I wasn’t even aware as to how it was applicable to me.
I remember the moment I realized though. I yelled at my Mom for never calling me out on it, and then, when she finally admitted it, I yelled at her again for calling me chubby. ‘Well, we always shopped in the husky section,’ she’d say. I liked dogs when I was a little kid I really didn’t think anything about it. Now, the mere thought of being called ‘husky’ is traumatizing enough to send me on another one of my Pavlovian conditioning experiments when I would place a big ol’ bowl of spaghetti with meatballs and look at it and time myself to see how long I would last before I dug into it or decided to put it back in the fridge until 11 AM the next day, when I would suddenly binge and have that plus a tortilla smothered in peanut butter and honey. Similarly, at restaurants, when the table gets a dessert, I like to back off and put my fork down and wait for somebody to call me out and ask if I’m gonna have a bite of the flan or the cookie or the cheesecake. I always pray they ask me so in all my stubbornness I can just blurt out ‘no’ and feel the need to hold onto my declaration.
Yesterday when I was down and what have you, I was also severely pissed off that I didn’t go for a run. Maybe then I could’ve been able to tolerate at least some part of myself for the day.
Today I’m changing that.
I got some protein shake and I shook it up into this thick gooey sticky mess of a vanilla shake that tastes just how it sounds. It’s an addicting flavor only because it doesn’t actually taste like anything and you’re thinking that by drinking more and more you’ll recognize the true taste of it all, like whiskey or pickles.
I’m taking a little rest from this heatwave before I take a run on the Williamsburg Bridge. I run across it twice, starting in Manhattan and rushing off to Bedford Avenue in Brooklyn, then back to Manhattan, and then back to Brooklyn, turning back once more for a nonstop sprint to my apartment just above Houston, a few blocks up from Delancey (where the walkway for the bridge starts). It’s about 5 miles in total, and with doing that once a day 4-5 days a week, I’m kinda set so long as I do my calisthenics and planks when I’m about to rest at the apartment.
I can’t do running on a flat surface. The bridge is great because it reminds me of a roller coaster or that Test Track attraction at EPCOT where you test drive cars.
There’s 5 minutes of uphill climb followed by the actual bridge above the water that’s got some nice curvature to it, concluding with a nice downhill sprint which makes me believe I’m conquering 3000 feet of path in two minutes.
It’s epic as hell.
I time my soundtrack so that I have exactly one song for my uphill climb and one song on repeat for the cross sprint from Manhattan to Brooklyn. Generally, I’m blasting ‘Midnight City’ by M83 for all uphill sprints and ‘Couleurs’ (by M83 too… by the way) for the sprints across the actual bridge. I dunno. It’s probably a little absurd listening to the same two songs about 4 times every single day, but you know, fuck it. It becomes an experience for me. With ‘Couleurs’ especially, its got some intense industrial beat, I’m always equating it to driving a ferrari with a hard hat on. it matches with the graffiti and the piss stains patched across the steel of the bridge. The best though’s gotta be the giant suspension towers. The closer you run towards them, the higher and more stoic they become. I keep imaging that they’re going to fall on me and the idea of that is so terrifyingly exciting… I can’t do anything but run faster.
It’s the only time I really have to myself living in the City this summer. I think that’s why I love it so much, and I think deep down that’s why I hate it whenever I fail to spend an hour a day having that time for me.