Work It Out

About 7 months ago, I enrolled in an online writing workshop. One of our last assignments was to write “something” involving a song that had meaning to us.  I like music but I don’t know that a particular song has more meaning for me than another until I remembered “Work It Out” by Mary J. Blige.

I relied on her song a lot at the beginning of my work outs…when I worked out that is.

I quit working out, eating well, and taking care of myself back in November. I work for a church and from November to December, the Christmas workload really ramps up and I let myself fall off my to do list because I was…say it with me…too busy.

Next thing I know it’s February and I have the sad realization that I’ve probably back slid and put what little weight I lost back on and won’t hit my goal in time for my niece’s wedding in May…unless I do something stupid like drink cayenne pepper and maple syrup.

Not gonna happen.

The calendar is now in worse shape than it was in November. My husband is going back to school for his Master’s degree. My junior high son now has high school responsibilities that I need to drive him to, my other two sons attend a mid-week event at church, the house still needs cleaned, I still need to volunteer at church, need to spend time with God on my own, and I spend a lot of time planning quick meals so we can still eat together as a family before DH (dear hubby) has to dash off to class.  I’m literally in worse shape now than what I was in November. I’m loathing myself now and then remembered Miss Blige and how I feel when I listen to her.

So as much as I hate to, the alarm clock’s set for 5:00 a.m. tomorrow morning so I can hit the gym before I have to go to work.

In light of all that whining, I thought I’d post my old essay about “working it out”.


From the moment I’m conscious but before my eyes open, I’m aware of what’s coming.

Work your thing out.

I push that knowledge away from me as quickly as I can, roll out of my and stagger to the bathroom.  With my fingers lathering the medicated acne soap, I avoid trying to look at myself in the mirror.

Just because the length of your hair ain’t long and they often criticize you for your skin tone

37 years old and the pimples are still wreaking havoc on my face.  I’m late to work more than I’m on time.  It’s a big effort to make sure every spot, bump, and scar is properly covered.

Wanna hold your head high because you’re a pretty woman

Get your runway stride home and keep going

Girl live your life

I’m grateful to be insanely busy at work. I’m stressed, behind, and attempting to handle more than one person reasonably should, but staying buried is a lot easier than thinking about what’s to come this afternoon.

I hear you been running from the beautiful queen that you could be becoming

Lunch is scarfed down at my desk. The bathroom is avoided. The mirror is there. “Stay busy, stay busy, stay busy”, my mind chants when thoughts drift from the task at hand.  But eventually, my defenses are exhausted and I have to deal with reality.  I just won’t do it.  It’s a waste of time and money.  I’ve been at it for three months and it’s not working.  Yep.  I’m done.

It’s okay to show yourself some love

Then the email comes.  “Hey honey, how’s the exercising going? Stay with it. I’m proud of you.”  Damn.  Trav.  How does she know?  I dash off a quick reply of, “It’s going. No results yet, but I’m sticking with it. Thanks for checking in with me.” Guess I have to go to the gym now.  I hate the gym. I hate being fat even more.

Working with what I got I gotta keep on

Taking care of myself I wanna live long

3 o’clock. I change into my gym clothes and stuff my street clothes into my bag.  As I pull my hair back, I wonder why I do this to myself every day.  I know I’m going to the gym after work.  I’m packed for it for crying out loud.

Wasn’t afraid to change cause it was good for me.

The drive to the gym is a mere 10 minutes (isn’t that convenient?) which isn’t long enough to wipe away the guilt I have for telling my boss I can’t work late.

Doesn’t matter if you’re going on with their plan

I have to do this. I’m tired of my weight.  Tired of being a person who does nothing to change her circumstances.

It’s gonna be fine

Work what you got

I head up the stairs to the treadmills, punch in my weight and age, and wedge the ear buds in place as the conveyor belt slowly comes to life.  I hit play on my iPod and a smile starts to creep across my face.  Miss Mary J. Blige.

Work your thing out

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