Pump It Up!

Today was a beautiful, hot sunny day. I woke up to warm, bright sunshine, gulped a cup of coffee, got dressed in wrinkled workout clothes and spent one hour the gym. I worked every muscle in my body while reading Vanity Fair but pushed myself just a little too far on the free weights by attempting to tone the flaps of drooping skin I’ve accumilated under my arms over the years. The little muscles locked up after I tried to stretch them, and the pain was overwhelming. I wanted to conceal my suffering from the other women in the gym, so I calmly walked over to a quiet corner and picked up a water bottle which now seemed to weigh a hundred pounds. As I drank the water, the sweat was pouring from my brow, not from the excercise, but from the excruciating pain. My muscles screamed “Woah, baby, not so fast there. It’s gonna take some time to tone those wings you have, so don’t be so impatient!” I remembered the Lamaze training from my first born and quietly drew breath through my nose, then slowly exhaled through my mouth. It helped to keep me from screaming aloud but I was sure I was crippled for life. I slowly picked up my stuff, got into the car and sat there, terrified that I had caused permanent damage to my arms. “Oh my god” I thought, “Maybe I won’t be able to do art or crafts again. What if I can’t pick up my grandchildren, hold my cat or sweep my floor!”
My underarm muscles were so cramped I was afraid to drive home, but knew I had to.
Somehow, I made it home, put ice packs under both arms and propped them up with pillows. I sat there thinking, “What a dumbass. You’re so vain. You will risk life and limb just to be able to wear a sleeveless shirt with pride again. How sad.”
After a few minutes under the ice, the pain subsided and I felt pretty confident that I had thwarted a major disaster with prompt and appropriate medical treatment. I took my daughter out shopping later that afternoon and treated myself to a pair of silver sequined slippers and a bright white sleeveless tank top.

About Karen Elaine

Artist, author and teacher.
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