Becoming an Atheist and other big decisions, part II

Then, the other day, i had to make another big decision. It was - don’t laugh - to get a gym membership. Alright, you can say “that’s not even a big one, it’s the most obvious of all, you fell for the NY-Resolution trap as all the other, blah blah blah”, but no. Once again, it’s a consequence of another of those extreme episodes. The other day I hurt my back. Which is not such big news, because I’ve got scoliosis for ages now, and since my years as a ballet and jazz dancer (that’s almost ten years ago), I’ve lived with constant back pain. I used to happily jump around wearing those thin, no-impact-protection ballet slippers, and completely ignore the shuddering pang on the small of my back. Well, it turns out that years later I can’t count all the things that I stopped enjoying because of what became a stupid condition: shopping, dancing, going to clubs and raves, travelling - it all became a little more difficult than it probably is for the average person with a healthy back.

Not that I’m not able to do those things, it’s not that serious. It’s just that I can’t do them for more than a few hours or I get the prestigious arrival of THE PAIN. It sucks. So the past week I started feeling THE PAIN once again during work hours. You know, high heels, standing up, making abrupt movements, all of this doesn’t help. But even with THE PAIN growing steadily every day, I kept on working, telling myself she would eventually disappear, as she always does. By the end of the week I couldn’t move or sleep anymore without painkillers. The muscles around my spine got strained to the point that I had to take a week off.

So I was lying in bed the other day, cursing my bad luck, and thought about how this is going to get worse in the future. How I would need to lay in bed for months whenever I get pregnant because of the pain, and how, afterwards I wouldn’t be able to carry my kids around like a normal mother. Or how I wouldn’t be able to get any proper job, with normal work hours, because I’d need to throw a sickie every week. The way things were going, in a near future, I’d be claiming disability benefits.

But hey, I’m no Frida Kahlo. I decided that I simply don’t need to be disabled, this is not a condition imposed on me, it's my own fault. So I decided to slap myself in the face and drag my sedentary ass to the small gym on the reception of my condominium. Exactly: I've got a gym 1 minute away from my front door and I never made the effort to step inside before. Two small but well-equipped rooms set up for the residents, with a flat screen and sound system available. What else could I ask for? No more resting or painkillers. All I’ve needed is exercise.

I've been there twice since the big decision, and it might sound like a cliche', but I feel great already. But no, I won't become one of those Brazilian gym addicts "bombados", who make their lives revolve around their fat-free muscle-toned slender bodies, which they show every morning at the beach. I don't even have a beach to show anything. It's snowing outside. This is a purely health-based decision. It’s definitely more carefully considered than the red meat one, but it’s a consequence of an unplanned episode.

(to be continued....)


Becoming an Atheist and other big decisions

I’ve made some big decisions this year. This year, of all the years, has started like this: my first decision would be not to make any New Year Resolutions. I would not fall for this trap over and over again. Even hamsters, the symbols of repetitive routines, are less prone to make the same mistakes, in the manner that human beings are used to. When something goes wrong, their instinct tells them not to go there again. “Don’t delude yourself, if you try the same strategy, it won’t work.” And it’s always the same resolutions: lose weight, get a gym membership, stop smoking, and so on. So, for me, I just decided not to give a single thought to it. I would simply not make plans.

Ironically, though, since the year began, three weeks ago, my life has taken directions that I would not specifically choose to initiate, you know, in the beginning of a new year. Or for that matter, decisions that I would not haven taken prior to serious and careful consideration over a number of months, or maybe years. For instance, take the first one: giving up red meat.

I’ve always loved red meat in its numerous forms. Be it barbecue, hamburguer, sausage, salami, or beef – if it’s bleeding I’m eating. Or was. Until one night I got really drunk on JD and Coke and after getting home, my boyfriend cooked half a kilo of steak. Sounds surreal, but we were very hungry, the kind of hunger that comes when you’ve drunk like a pig for 5 hours, and all you want to slide down your throat is the greasiest and heaviest food available. So he took this big chunky piece of ‘contra-filĂ©’ out of the friezer, and sliced it, and fried so we could eat it with ‘bacon farofa’. Half a kilo. That’s 500 grams of cholesterol, fat, and blood down your throat. I don’t know if it was the alcohol or the meat or the two of them combined in my stomach, but I felt REALLY sick right after I chewed the last piece of animal flesh. It was a classic scene: me running to the bathroom and regurgitating everything back down the toilet.

Well, it turns out that after that I can’t even think about looking at a steak. I was actually hoping that the alcohol would blurry my memory and I would forget the episode the day after, but in the end all I got was a robust hangover and an irreversible repulsion to bloody red meat.

I didn’t think my aversion would extend itself towards other kinds of red meat such as ham and chourizo – and in fact, it hasn’t so much as become an uneasiness when faced with them. I get sick so easily this days since that episode that I just decided not to risk throwing up on the station’s platform or onto a customer in the bar. I even took a pregnancy test to check if that was the reason behind my sickness, but no, I’m not expecting. I guess I’ll have to live with it for a while until I find out why – meanwhile, no more red meat pour moi.

(to be continued…)