Wednesday, May 19, 2010

The Gym--the Final Frontier

There's a good chance aliens re-wired my brain. Or perhaps it's just that ideas seem so much better at 1 a.m., but along with two of my roommates, I've decided I'm going to start lifting weights. And that means going to the gym. The Gym. Going running is weird enough for me and I'm even more shocked that I enjoy it, but running isn't really that athletic. It's more of a health thing. And more importantly, you don't have to be good at it. This is not to undermine competitive runners, because they honestly intimidate me and that kind of running is definitely a sport. However, everyone and their dog can go for a run without being "sporty." Going to the gym is a whole different thing for me.

Today I remembered why I've avoided the gym for so long. I walked in and two guys just looked at me. Typically, I don't mind the whole guys-looking-at-me-when-I-walk-into-the-room thing ('cause it happens all the time...NOT)but I had absolutely no clue what I was doing and the last thing I wanted was an audience. I walked around a little, trying to find a machine to work on. I didn't know what half the machines did. Once I found one that looked familiar, I started doing a few reps. The equipment is incredibly close together so that while I'm doing arm pulls there's a guy two feet away from me on some other machine; while my butt is in the air doing some leg lift, someone's right behind me doing a leg press. All I could think is that these people know my technique is all wrong and are laughing at my ridiculously low weight. Could this be my own insecurities messing with my mind? Yes, but how does everyone else get over it?

The old Kelsy, would probably have left and waited another 4 years before returning and then only under duress, but I'm being brave this summer. So I decided to make a study out of it. I'll keep going to the gym (hopefully, with a better plan of action) and see what I can learn about gym culture and maybe get in better shape while I'm at it.

But if I start taking protein shakes and flexing on my downtime, you'll know it was the aliens.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Feminism, the West, and Me

A few weeks back, I was listening to my ipod on random and pondering the woes of dating when Johnny Cash's song "I Walk the Line" began to play. The man in black seemed the perfect voice to express my disenchantment with love, but while listening, I found strength and resolve instead of deeper melancholy. He sang,"Because you're mine, I walk the line." I decided that that line was probably the most romantic thing a guy could say. If a guy said that to me and really meant it, I'd probably melt. It would also be beneficial if that guy said it in a deep, Johnny-Cash-like voice, but let's face it, not every guy can be Johnny Cash. Anyway, I stored that line in the romantic dream compartment of my brain and continued on with my life.

I might have heard that song a few more times and each time I returned to the thought, I want a guy to say that to me
but it wasn't until after a discussion in my American Autobiography class that I even thought about why I found Johnny Cash and that song so romantic. You see, in my class we do talk about various American autobiographers, but we also discuss what makes an autobiography and how we perform autobiographical acts. That day, we had talked about how we write our own narratives and how those are informed by the world around us.

I often proclaim myself a feminist, but my feminism is different from another person's. My feminism is formed from the examples of strong women in my family and in the strong ranch women type that Western ideals have created. In other words, I think a feminist is a strong woman and a strong woman to me is someone who sticks to her beliefs and fights for her dreams. That does not mean she wants to be just like a man or that she necessarily wants to even compete with men. She can be a soccer mom or whatever else she wants to be, but that's the qualifier--a strong woman lives her life the way she wants to. I'm not physically very strong, but I am resolved to get my education and to raise a family according to my beliefs. So when I write in my journal or even on this blog, I write with the strong woman in mind. When I face trials, I think about being a strong woman. And to bring it back to Johnny Cash, when I decide what is romantic to me, the strong woman inside tells me that the man I want will work just as hard as I do for his dreams and beliefs.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Meet me in St. Louis

Last weekend, I was a bridesmaid for my friend Sarah. It was my first time being a bridesmaid and fortunately, Sarah chose a bridesmaid dress that I can honestly say I'll wear again(I'll post a picture of it sometime). Sarah looked beautiful, her husband looked happy, and seeing them walk out of the temple made me want to cry for joy. Despite all the chaos getting ready for the wedding, everything turned out beautiful. Congratulations Sarah!