I've recently begun to develop a great deal of sympathy for Steve Rogers. Fresh out of the government's magic-y science pod thing, he goes running through the city streets and accidentally kicks himself right into a shop window when he forgets how inertia works. It took him maybe ten minutes to get surprising new muscles, rather than the ten months I've been at it, but I haven't gone through a sheet of plate glass yet, and he didn't do it by accident, so I feel like this evens out.

It is disconcerting to catch your own reflection in the side of a subway car and wonder where the rest of your thighs went. My tailored winter coat buttons without buckling over two shirts and a sweater. It is suspiciously easy to see my rib cage in the mirror. No one's complained at me, I just find it mystifying that I could change so much and not notice until now. I've made a mental note to keep more cake mix around in the future, lest I change enough to worry people.

The stranger thing by far is the ability to ignore the weight of things I used to bitch about. The messenger bag full of electronic doodads is more awkward than heavy. Bringing 15# boxes of meticulously packed pornography up from the basement stockroom at work isn't a big deal. I'm not exactly a power lifter; I just find it odd that my arms and legs do what I tell them without complaining anymore, even when large solid objects are involved.

I find it difficult to talk about things like this without feeling like I'm being judged. This writer over on tumblr catches the feeling fairly well, although she(? I am guessing from the 'we' language combined with feminist rhetoric) seems to have been swallowed up by the side of the argument that says you're supposed to be perpetually inadequate. She feels that she is; I just feel that I'm under pressure to never admit that I think I'm not.

Well, not in the areas in which women are normally supposed to be inadequate. I'm bad at lots of stuff, but not at braining or looking good. And now I think I'm probably not bad at athletics either, although half a lifetime of being told I was and another half-life of not having a lot of direct feedback one way or another make me less sure about that one. I'm good at bluffing social and emotional things, but I am decidedly weird, if not technically broken.

It is such a loaded topic that I feel unable to have the conversation I want to have, which is that I am probably a dumbass for this, but for some reason I didn't expect a lot of regular physical activity to put me into a state that most people describe as "in-shape". I got a lot of exercise before, because I carry a lot of heavy things and am sometimes too broke for T fare, but I didn't anticipate how much more the hooping and dancing would add up to. I find it disconcerting to be in a body that can do things I didn't expect, based on past experience.

I also find it disconcerting that I've spent the past year or so finding out that a lot of stuff I am used to doing is equally abnormal. Hanging out with the BCG has been educational. Let me tell you, when you're in bed with a circus acrobat, and he remarks upon your flexibility, you fucking listen. That right there is a professional opinion.

I need to remember that when I say things like 'you can balance on the toe box of tap shoes', what I actually mean is 'I can balance on the toe box of tap shoes'. I assume I'm not the only person on Earth who can do that, but I might have to start assuming that I am the only person, in any given non-circus crowd, who has even taken a stab at it, much less succeeded on more or less the first try.


  1. It is pretty impressive the sort of stuff that moving heavy things (which sometimes includes one's own body parts) for a long time will do, or even somewhat light things. When I met TQ, he had utterly failed to pay attention to what several years of long-distance cycling had done to his lower body, and was not expecting my out-and-out gawp the first time I saw him without trousers.

    Historically I have had a fair bit of experience with moving heavy things a long way, having been both in the army, fatter, and more muscular than I am currently. Presently I cannot, for instance, pick up a crate of bottled beer in each hand and carry them in from a car, which TQ does with ease and I feel like any physically functional adult in this country should be able to do. This is irksome, but mainly in the sense that it's a "you must be this competent to grownup" that I don't measure up to.

    But, hey, the body composition you work with is the body composition you have (generic "you"), so I figure while I am skinny and soft is a good time to work on flexibility and core strength. Having motivating examples close to hand is really useful for this and I honestly don't know why people don't talk about it for what it is more. Bodies are machines whose functionality you can improve and extend by doing stuff with them. This is not rocket surgery. It does not have to be a minefield either.

    1. I started to write a reply, but realized it was probably better suited as a proper essay, so I'll type it out later. In the meantime, the phrase 'rocket surgery' reminds me of one of the genuinely amusing family stories.

      Back when my parents had friends and left the house, my father would tell people he thought were inordinately impressed with his job that "It's not rocket science". My mother got fed up with this one day and pointed out that he is an engineer working in aerospace, and that he had just spent two weeks tossing the house for his Selective Service card so the security guy scould re-up his clearance for work on a DoD drone project, and did he really think most people thought that rocket science was only literally building big metal tubes that shot up into the sky with fire coming out the back?

      Henceforth, he remembered to tell the gawpers that his job "isn't brain surgery".

  2. "Let me tell you, when you're in bed with a circus acrobat"---

    Regardless of whether you wrote that for the sake of receiving this....

    *high-fives* ;)

    1. Ha. :) I rather considered getting him there was its own reward. The funniest part about that was that we were already done being salacious -- he didn't make the comment until he saw me stretch one of my hands, and noted that I hyperextend my fingers when I do that. He suggested, semi-seriously, that I look into Thai dance, where that is one of the signature gestures.


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