Tag: fitness

Preparing to Take Off (Which Is and Is Not a Metaphor)


As the overarching theme for this year, I choose this as my goal: To Create a Body of Work and a Body That Works.

I want to feel good about my body
to feel like we are on the same team
to feel beautiful
and confident
and strong.
I want there to be more of me
and less of me,
at the same time.

There are several streams feeding this river (like the new face care products and regiment my daughter Alison prepared for me that I started last week), and I took care of one of them during the second week in January when I signed up for 20 sessions with a personal trainer. With the buy-10-get-1-free offer, I claimed 22 sessions with a personal trainer.

Then we left town to move Mother.

This morning I remember the fitness sessions and tell The Engineer that I am going to call and make the first two appointments. Then I set about fiddling with this and that* and become so engrossed in my fiddling that I jump when the phone rings. It is the fitness trainer from the gym, introducing herself and apologizing for not calling me before now.

She gives me her resume, then informs me that the first thing she’ll do is take a personal assessment so she can devise a plan that covers what I need. Then she’ll take my measurements. Then she’ll measure my body fat. I don’t have to weigh because she puts no stock in weight. Okay?

I take a deep breath and tell her that I only signed up for the personal fitness trainer sessions after thoroughly reading the literature and finding that the personal assessment is optional. I tell her that I simply don’t want to take the personal assessment. That I took one before many years ago, and found it demeaning and embarrassing and insulting and depressing. “I know I have things to work on,” I tell her, “that’s why I forked out for 22 sessions with you. And though you haven’t asked me what my goals are, I will tell you that I want to feel good about my body. I want to show it the appreciate it deserves for causing me so little trouble through the years. I want to feel confident again, to gain that confidence by building strength in my body, toning my body, and paring it down. Shoot, I want to feel confident enough to go to the classes at the gym – maybe even take a place in the front row . . . eventually. Plus, honestly, the personal assessment feels more like a tool for you, and I’d rather you craft a plan for me based on MY goals and desires, about what I want to get from our time together.”

I wish I had simply said “I don’t want to do the personal assessment. You can devise a plan that fits my goals after hearing them” or something similar, but the main thing is: I said it. Though it may seem decidedly inconsequential to you, dear reader, it is actually huge because, you see, the culture I grew up in dictated that all decisions about what I say, wear, and do be made based on how much it pleases Other People. And trust me when I tell you that it must please them a lot. This time I didn’t give two hoots about how much it pleased the personal trainer. I spoke up for me and what I want, and I’ve gotta’ tell you: it feels pretty darn good.

Even if I did spend too many words in the explaining.

// ::: //

*This is what I fiddled with this morning:


Knowing that embodiment being what it is and all, things tend to align themselves with each other with one thing feeding and encouraging something else, I’ve decided that I will build a body OF work by using what I already have on hand. (for the most part, anyway)
Starting with the scrap bowl.
More about that soon.

these shoes were sure ‘nough made for walking, and that’s just what i’m doin’


I recognize all too well that post-rape/abuse/bullying response, the acceptance of what the “Well, what were you wearing at the time?” or “Well, you’re just so pretty, what did you expect?” responses because you desperately need to make sense of the whole thing, to understand why this happened, and they always ask those questions with such authority. It takes a long time – and I mean a l-o-n-g time – to figure out that without a doubt, you were not to blame, so now, decades later, I begin to appreciate and applaud and adorn this body that for far too long I’ve treated as a head rack.

But no more. My clock is ticking, you see, and each tick can put me closer to death OR each tick can put me closer to living the life I want to live. I get to choose, and I choose what’s behind door #2.

My son gave me a fitbit last Christmas, and last week I finally started feeding the thing (and feeding it well), walking 74,636 steps (which translates into 32.11 miles) and climbed 40 flights of stairs – all in these cute shoes that my friend Jeanie introduced me to. One day I walked 23,299 steps, and though I slept real good that night, nothing ached – not my feet, not my ankles, not my legs – not once. These shoes are much more incredible than they look.

I’ve set a goal of 10k steps a day, and (so far) I get my steps in come hell or high water. I’m staying with my daughter this week, and I get the last 3-4k steps in every night by walking up and down the driveway while tucking my husband in. Last Friday night I went to the grocery store at 11 p.m. and walked the aisles till I met my quota mites before turing into a pumpkin. I walk ruts in the floor at my son’s house last week and at my daughter’s house this week, going up and down and down and up the halls.

I’m feeling better, eating less, and looking forward to going shopping for new clothes without hearing other shoppers whisper things like “Who do you think you are looking at that color or that youthful cut?” or my personal favorite “Do you really think that will fit you? Bahahahahahahaha” . . . and so on. They don’t say these things out loud, of course, but I have special hearing, you see, so I know what they’re saying and thinking.

Yes, all this walking to nowhere takes time out of my already full-to-the-busting-point life, but the funny thing is, when I make the effort to live a balanced life that includes things like walking and writing and stitching, time bends to make room for all the parts to fit in the space of a day. Magic. My friend Angela has a treadmill desk, and I see one in my future, too. Thanks to my special hearing, I hear them say “Obsessed. You’re downright obsessed.” But me? I say Nah, I’m dedicated and committed, and there’s a difference.

Delights from today’s 10,000 steps include . . .



and blooms-on-the-way:


a rusty thing that’s going home with me:


and a pink caddy wall shelf (that’s also going home with me because it begged and I was weak):]


a leisure suit with a ruffled, big-collared shirt (that are NOT going home with me because I was stronger by then):



and this peaceful eye full that I’ll just have to lust after because orange just isn’t my color:


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Hey, Sugar! I'm Jeanne Hewell-Chambers: writer ~ stitcher ~ storyteller ~ one-woman performer ~ creator & founder of The 70273 Project, and I'm mighty glad you're here. Make yourself at home, and if you have any questions, just holler.

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