Each of us can point to moments in our lives when our senses are awakened, when the world comes into focus in a new way. The majesty of a sunset stirs our longings for the greater good. A passage in a book articulates something we've always known but couldn't put into words. When we experience these precious moments, something deep and meaningful inspires our very souls.
Mine happened at a strip joint.
I was driving by The Velvet Touch when I saw the sign: AMATEUR NIGHT TUESDAY. By gum, I said to myself: I could be a stripper. Of all the things I had thought to do with my life--writer? editor? director? urban planner?--I hadn't considered synchronizing my undressing with music, because God hadn't give me the right goods. There were other considerations, too, of course--I mean, I can't really walk well in heels--but now all that was tossed to the side like so many clothes, and the doors to my future flew wide open. We're told in this country that we can be anything we want to be, and now, by golly, I knew it to be true.
The stripping revelation--which remained simply that--was followed by a similar experience when I recently learned about the sport of Figure Competitions. Figure is like bodybuilding minus the steroids and cartwheels; you're aiming for low body fat and big, natural muscles. While checking it out online, I saw that I stood a chance against the women who compete, and ended up buying tickets to an event at the end of this month to see what the sport is all about.
Meanwhile, a few concerns:
Fear of being orange: Tans are essential under the hot stage lights. A tanning booth, creams and sprays are the only ways to truly get dark.
Fear of tripping: Wendy Page says that four inch heels just won't do--gotta be five. Does Dansko--my orthopedic brand of choice--make 5-inch heels?
Fear of bikinis: "Your suit should cover only what is necessary," says Page. One photo showed a woman applying glue to the edges of her bikini. 'Nuff said.
Fear of makeup: I was at The Body Shop the other day buying face cleanser and the saleswoman asked me "how I was doing with mascara."
"I don't wear mascara."
"My eyelashes are black already."
"We sell clear mascara."
I didn't know how to answer that one.
Fear of disappearing entirely: Somewhere along the road to ten percent body fat, a "cup size or two" falls by the wayside, says Page. I know that sports are demanding, but can they demand something that doesn't already exist?
Figure is indeed a sport and no bikini contest; if you've still got doubts, check out a previous post in which I talk about why the pursuit of muscle can be as noble a cause as many others out there.
Figure Coach Terry Stokes says of the training and dieting leading up to a figure competition, "The journey you are about to undertake is going to be one of the most difficult you will ever embark on, IF NOT THE MOST DIFFICULT. It is one of hard work, determination and a single-mindedness bordering on obsession……. and often lonely."
Greg said, "You couldn't eat chips for, like, six months."
All fears aside, that might very well be the most difficult thing I'll ever do.