I can feel every muscle resist. Roused reluctantly from rest.
Desist; ridiculing reticence placed on every cell, thirty seven trillion of them rustling in the early morning silence. Darkness avowed, the movement; this movement: a strain. There is no push back it seems; telling arm to lift or even nose to sniff. I'm sending information to a beaten, broken lump of meat.
There in the peripheral nervous system, an injection of heat. To pump or to force against all defeat that clogs inside the brain. Nothing to give. And yet on any other day, every other morning, what would interfere? Nestled inside the cortex of fear, is something else, something strange otherwise, why rise? Why put one cell in front of the other to organise, to arrange for the new? Why, in that moment, move to be somewhere other than here, away from you?
A gloopy guilt? Orders received, the captain commands. Building blocks unite, telling, screaming at internal organs to just get going. On a molecular level, deeper than anything seen, anything felt; exists a tiredness in the integumentary system, the container. To count now: down or up. The fabric that covers every single cytoplasmic force field. Sub epidermal blisters pop and flourish adding to a great garnish; a colloidal indecision to greet movement.
I feel tired today and so does my skin. The cloth that drapes over me, wearier than all that will innervate and inculcate toward this day. Messages that, even though they are sent, are denied, banished back to whence they came. No brain! I will not move today! I will not do as you instruct, instead I will refrain and indulge in all that glut. All that is purpose-less. I shall not listen. I deny. Un-accept-ing the challenge laid forth.
However, there remains an appointment to be kept; my name will be called, a shame drawn forth; a disdainful error on my part to book yet another early morning class, the fifth in a row this week, I realise, I maybe, possibly, set my body up for its current demolition. And so to consider in contrition all that goes against every want, every desire, every loving thought toward the other. In what feels like a millisecond, a burst: gyrating into ALIVE in order to force through to the different side, energetically.
This sack of skin — now tingling with the decision— takes one leap and bound; relief and renewal an urgent task at hand, it will need more, longer maybe, to understand all that has come before.
Six hundred and forty muscles gather in that instant. An army dutifully proceeds into battle, again, within a single command: ignition, ready to fight great swathes of shame away; muscular pain that surges with every new day. Thoughts, memories, dialogue drenches each extension, flexion and contraction that will most likely today — much like any other— lead to a threshold of empty dissatisfaction.
Inchoate emotional reactions toward this time, this process. The daily routine insurmountable when alone, truly alone. The body legitimately senses no urgency, the fascia, pithily expressing danger. No reason to remain paralysed by distain, no other body to hold in this state of aporia, rising to greet its latest defeat.
Great binaries divide the need to be: both asleep and awake. Body and mind, passion and reason. What is left in the in between? What if, when I wake and leap, when I shake off the defeat of slumber, something vital gets left behind? Of course, it is important to turn, to shake and burn through the calories provided the day before this. And yet, I cannot help but feel that something greater is lost in the mist of the in between time. That moment so sweet, so cherished, so temporary. Is it here, that I can meditate? Is it here that I can achieve something other than a vegetated state? Grey-matter washing memory. What thoughts arise in these delicious moments? What power emits from that down time? Often, if I'm honest, I greet most days with sadness, knowing that I am searching yet again. And that within a no-one-else-ness there is no pride, only a surging tide of madness. I watch my life as a spectator, suspecting that in that time —ultimately— it is I that makes the decision to live or die.
Sweet panacea lighten this load! Vibrate and stimulate this once indefatigable toad. Luridly now, the mind no longer in control, swishes and swills around inside a casing of sensitive pride. How will the skin, discoloured from sun and alcohol soaked sin, house newness?
A division; both yin and yang, lingers on the surface. That to cure the immobile, an emotion will drive the body into action. Unless it surrenders to nothingness. Neutral, once again, dismissed. To lie in my own faecal mess would surely deride some sort of insanity. Loosening the bowels towards new levels of profanity. No, not that, I shall instead face the day as if answering to another other.
Do I then, sit for sitting's sake, lie for lying's sake, listen for listening's sake: to the body and all its desires. Notice a demand, a requirement for stillness. In that moment, how close does the neutral feel?
And yet, as difficult as it is to describe neutral, here is where I am. Sitting in front of a mirror to the self, to trap the ego's puckish frivolity in words. Using language to describe the mess of the in between. The mass of emotions, the exchange of gestures, captivating and stimulating all the ambiguity of the blurry non space. What traces are smeared onto a body ready for answers? How is the body articulated even before it speaks? What obligation is placed on society for the truth? As though there were one path that would lead to where exactly?
To mirror: to copy and watch, or the other way around. To watch and learn, to break down the old and to create new neural pathways, new connections. Will mean what? That the others will disappear? Neurogenesis can occur in key areas of the brain, meaning neural stem cells develop new neurons. New, always new, never old.
The skin, acting as a reminder of the story. Pocked and marked, bruised and charred; epidermal contours that define the outline of a being. A body that contains the glory. Even though the newness in this moment can't be seen; it retains an element of mystery. For really it could be anything, let us forgo the wrinkles, the buttock dimples; the forehead crinkles. The smooth, the rough, the unashamedly tough underside of the foot or the hairy nooks that cower in shame. The body is an unwritten page, evolving with every wave of cellular renewal. So that each day is exactly as it should be: an opportunity to be.
And so, I rise —against my body's will— and meditate. I drink coffee, I taste toothbrush, I read a book, words stream into consciousness to be stored in the database. Donning shorts, several tops and a t-shirt, trainers and headphones, pocketing key; out to the streets to manufacture a new me. Heaviness lingers in synovial pockets, the joints ache; it will take some time to shake, to truly wake into action.
I arrive early at the temple of fitness, to listen, to activate, to perspire, to witness, to report to my mentor; my author of goals. I arrive early to stop the thoughts of negativity that grip and retort. Why am I here? Warming through well-known-actions; I lunge, I squat, I tumble and trot.
Fifteen minutes of rhythm, of negative feedback, regulating attempts to maintain this attack on hormonal balance, there is no stepping out, no going home, no surrender, no escape, I will wait until it comes...sweet onanistic discharge: glue thoroughly warmed, stagnant emotion shunned, shame dissipates and there is a chucking, a shucking and a shaking: body and soul into uncontrollable grinding, a forward motion that will make some sort of change. Purpose free, only to worship, to groan, to spit and drool: fat obliteration, metabolic annihilation. Calories burn, muscles churn towards gain, gain, gaining control of this innocuous thing, this mysterious machine; I cycle, I row, I pull, I push. All thoughts, all worries, all childish misunderstandings, I become a negative. Sins absolved, doing time, masochistically punished for all the crimes forced into yesterday's down time. Forcing, forging, forgoing, the vital requirements of being. To travel energetically elsewhere, no chemical high compares, only accessible bliss to receive allostasis.
Counting methodically in this section: we are lifting weights. I count to overthrow each zone of physical pain, to escape the prison of expected movement. Round one; comes and goes. Round two; I cannot control what comes out of my nose, and then the next and the next until we reach midway, round five. A common nod, a shake of the head, shoulders hunched and a glance of dread towards terrified looking faces, grimaced and lost, breathing heavily. We will take our chances: because all we can do is hold on at this point; not drop these cumbersome bars, on our heads, not focus on limbs that now feel fucking dead. I count, we count, they count: ten reps, ten reps more and then however many I can squeeze in before I fall to the floor. I focus hard on the numbers, rounding them figuratively, salubriously in my mind; they hold me up, support my rhythm, there must always be rhythm. They keep me tight, help me not give up the fight. Here somewhere between one and ten I cling on to some sort of narrative, some sort of story filled with muscular glory.
The skin is flushed pink with fresh blood, enlivened capillaries, oxygenated, veins dilate. Pumping, moving, flowing, endorphin annihilation of reality, pain-free-riding-high on this life. The clock stops ticking. Arms descend to take up space after the momentum of hypnosis, running slows to walking, as I parade around this rubbery room, once filled with doom, now alive with whoops and howls of glory. With a swagger now savouring the sweet taste of post-exercise-ketosis. Internal orchestra conducting its glycogen search, immortalising demand. Shutting off receptors that attempt to maintain, constrain this self-created island of hope. Uncontrollable ecstatic smiles; hand taps, as we charge the room - slapping each other in order to exhume friendships that were disposed of in fear at the entrance. Before all the heavy lifting, before all the exertion, before all the chaotic immersion, before the counting and the shouting. We unite. Cleansed. Now. In this space.
Taking a bow towards our instructor. Complete renewal of faith in our conductor of misery, absolving the way toward cathartic delivery of dopamine. The body resolves in homeostasis. Returning once more to some semblance of neutrality.
And so to start the day properly. Goals achieved, the rest of the day a reprieve, an easy ebbing flow, now that I am super charged. Full to the brim, I book in, to repeat this entire process again tomorrow morning.