Pick Me!

A weblog by Laura Moncur


Ringing in My Ears

Filed under: General — Laura Moncur @ 5:00 am

It was a vague thought in my mind before I went to the gym on Monday. What if my phone rings while I’m exercising? Should I put it on mute while my phone is in the locker just to be polite?

I had decided that it didn’t matter, but on Monday, I found myself in that strange position of being the person listening to someone else’s phone. Of course, it was one of those musical rings that sound like a sample of a song, so I was confused for a fraction of a second. There wasn’t enough of the song for me to recognize it, but I immediately realized that it was a phone in someone’s locker.

When I imagined this scenario, I worried that people would try to be helpful and want to answer my phone, locked on the other side of the locker. That wasn’t how I felt, though. Instead, I thought about the call being missed and imagined the girl who has just walked out getting her message and calling the person back. “I was working out at the gym,” she’d say casually twisting her sweaty hair into a knot.

The person on the other line wouldn’t be surprised. She went to the gym every day, so this would be no big deal. I worry that my callers would be surprised. “Going to the gym? Since when have you gone to a gym?” That’s my fear. I would have to say, “I’ve actually been a member at this gym since October. I like it. It feels like a luxury spa in Vegas to me.” I worry that my caller wouldn’t approve, “Well, la-dee-da. You’re probably paying every month and only go a couple of times.” Then I’d have to tell them, “Actually, I work out at least four times a week, sometimes six.” I imagine silence on the other end of the line: that strange silence that can come between friends.

The truth of the matter is that I’m changing. I’m different than the girl who lived in the suburbs and jogged on her treadmill every morning in silence and solitude. That treadmill is in storage because there is no room for it in our tiny house in Sugarhouse. That’s ok. I exercise at lunch now. I get a good break from work and see the beautiful and fit people every day. It’s better than the silence and the solitude because I can see a different person every day that I want to be like. It makes me run a little harder on the treadmill. It makes me better than I’ve ever been before.

The truth of the matter is that I’ve been hiding all these changes from all my callers. Old friends and even some family members aren’t aware of how deep these changes go. Sure, I’ve run a 5K before, but back then it was, “Isn’t she so brave to run a 5K at her weight? I could never do that.” Some of those people wouldn’t even recognize me now. Now it’s, “Yeah, that’s Laura. She’s going to be pissed if she doesn’t win for her age division.” None of those people have seen that Laura yet and I’m scared to unveil her.

How do you do it? How do you tell someone you’ve known since your school days that you’ve killed off half of your personality and replaced it with another? That fat girl who crinkled her nose at the jocks because they were stupid is running four times a week. That fat girl who refused to go to aerobics classes because they were too complicated is taking cycling and trekking classes at her gym now. I know it’s the same body, but I feel no connection to that fat girl anymore. It’s almost like she has to die before I can give birth to this new self. Does that mean all those old friends have to mourn the loss of the fat girl?

It’s like I don’t even want to admit that I was that out of control. I want to be that thin girl. I want to have always been that thin girl. I want to be the thin girl who is able to return her calls with a casual, “I was at the gym,” with no fear in her voice. How long until I get there?


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