My Irrational Love of Running

I love to run. I wasn’t built for it – short, muscly, a little knock-kneed and uncoordinated. I started to run in high school track. I was slow, but I could finish the race. I got put on the 3000 meter run, because regardless of placing, you’d get points for the team at a meet if you finished. During the track award dinner my senior year, the coach said “Michelle gets an A+ for effort”. At the time I thought it was damning and faint praise. Now I think it sounds like… Read More

Leaning into the Fraudian Complex

I’m a writer. I speak several languages. I am fit and active. I love my family. I believe love is the right choice. But, but, but… What about the fact that I’m none of these things consistently or expertly? What about the fact that I don’t spend each and every day honing my writer’s craft? And that despite working on a novel, 80% of my reading is nonfiction? What about the fact that if you ask me any question in the languages I know well on paper, I’ll have a blank look… Read More

My History of Compulsion

My life has been stripped down to bare essentials over the last year. It’s a luxury that is entirely uncomfortable. What are we without our distractions? It turns out that I am a melting pot of compulsive behaviors, twisted patterns of self-delusion and convenient rationalization. Smoking, drinking, gambling, casual sex, overeating, overexercising – I’ve run the gamut over the last 20 years and avoided looking seriously troubled, by switching compulsions so that everything just looks like a phase. I stopped gambling at 20. I gave up smoking at 30. I traded in… Read More

Brain Blurts on the Treadmill

One of my favorite workout songs is the Foo Fighters “Walk”. It’s a nice warmup piece, starting with motivational lines like Getting good at starting over… and I believe I’ve waited long enough… What I like most about this song is that it makes me laugh every single time I hear it. It’s the singer’s crescendo to a primal yell of “I never want to die!” that does it. When I’m running on a treadmill at the Y, sweating along with a young, old, multi-gendered, multiracial, differing needs crowd, it seems like… Read More

A Blogger for Self-Defense

This is the introduction to a series of essays on the importance of self-defense and physical power. I am not an expert on self-defense, nor a physical fitness guru. I do not condone violence, but advocate taking whatever action or inaction is needed to survive potentially dangerous situations. Not every situation is defensible through physical force. Last month, I stopped participating in Bloggers for Peace. It is a great concept, but I felt like a hypocrite. I’ve not been feeling peaceful for a long time. The unfortunate side affect of reading blog… Read More

Preparing for Your Own Worst Enemy

I left the YMCA in a huff last night after a mediocre workout. A group of women were having a yak-a-thon in the corner of the weight room. This is a pet peeve of mine – rabid, loud socializing when I’m working out. It’s not just the women, either. I’ve seethed as men stood around saying creepy things to each other like “you’re getting really big” or “which protein powder do you use?”. I’m on the road back to fitness after a tedious winter of flus and injuries and entropy. It means… Read More

The Body Eclectic

Over three years ago, I began to meet with a personal trainer on a weekly basis. My working class roots resisted what seemed like a posh luxury, but this was an indulgence I could justify. Like many people, I am juggling roles as an employee, parent, caretaker and writer. It is very easy to let the caretaking of my body slip down the list of priorities. Now, it seems reckless and unacceptable to ignore the longest relationship I will ever have. I am being taught how to strengthen, recover and challenge my… Read More