I seldom miss bootcamp even though it means sacrificing dinner with the family two nights a week and getting up at an ungodly hour on Saturday morning. Since bootcamp started in September, I have challenged my body more than I ever have in my life and also discovered a level of human connection that has always been elusive to me. Perhaps I’ve hesitated to write about it because I am embarrassed about how deeply important it is to me. I guess that bootcamp is an anecdote for an ancient loneliness in me, perhaps nurtured by a mother who was always mistrustful of other women and a father who would feed his own ego by inciting women to get all riled up and nasty to each other.
I was taught to regard other women with suspicion. How full it’s made my heart to learn to regard other women with trust and love. I have always had girlfriends, close ones with whom I share intimacies. I have been drawn though to most of the women and men I have bonded with over the years by the commonality of social awkwardness and peripheralness. Being affiliated with a group of women, particularly these fine buggers (as coach Rocky calls us) undoes a lot of that always being on the periphery stuff from elementary school, and junior high, and of course high school and, yeah, college. Not to mention that I am kick ass strong.
I met Kaz for a quick drink at the Whole Foods in Pasadena. The wine bar offered no organic wine which I tolerate better due to the lack of sulfides, by the glass so I stomped off to get a latte. Whole Foods sells alcoholic beverages, foods laden with butter and many of their products do not facilitate staying within the recommended daily range of sodium or fat consumption. But, there is no form of artificial sweetener (not even fuckin’ agave for chrissakes) available to put in a $4.00 cup of coffee thus rendering certain people who like their fuckin’ coffee sweet and are unable to tolerate sugar, shit out of luck if they notice this after they order the coffee and are stuck with it. Whole Foods is jive ass and the Taj Mahal flagship store in Pasadena is particularly puke inducing to me, but I splurged on some lamb chops for the sprats and a piece of sole for Himself and some incense that smelled good for me. It was a night that the kids weren’t scheduled to rehearse and I was looking forward to a quiet family dinner, followed by an hour of yoga.
I arrived home at about 6:15 and we discovered a schedule change and that Leo did indeed have rehearsal and was required to be in Hollywood at 7:00. I managed to get dinner on the table, my family fed and I drove Leo to rehearsal through rush hour, and was only four minutes late. I may not be doing any real writing but I live (usually) with finesse. This exquisite and very grown up sort of efficiency bonds me with the bootcamp girls. I am, at 51 about the median age. We all work full time and have kids and "advanced maternal age" was stamped on most of our obstetric records. We all do the dance with aplomb and dignity and we have fun. Plus lots of the time we are fucking terrified out of our wits. There at Griffith Park, in the dark and cold and damp, being stared down by glowering coyotes, we fight the terror. We traipse through the mud carrying those fucking balls (recently replaced by steel dumbbells) over our heads to help make our bodies strong and stave off as much inevitable decay as we can. I am encouraged to do just one more leg lift. I am encouraged not to let my children make me go insane. I get business advice. I am assured that there are other husbands who are even more high maintenance than mine. (Private note to JLM–don’t be surprised however if you meet one of my bootcamp sisters and she, in solidarity with me, shoves a cell phone up your ass.) I push my body more than I ever have in my life and more than once have surreptitiously wiped away tears. I am making myself strong and I am loved.
Bootcamp, like so many of my sweet blessings, exists because of friendships forged at the Silverlake Jewish Community Center. I have indicated before that the J.C.C,. and what’s from there sprung, has provided the most meaningful spiritual community (and we belong to two synagogues) I have ever been affiliated with. Bootcamp is not a church or a mosque or a shul but agonizingly strengthening my soul’s vessel amid these excellent women who nurture my soul and spirit reminds me not only not to run downwind of Madge, due to her legume heavy diet, but also that God is glorious and palpable and that my life is rich.
Himself becomes impatient about me blathering on about the fineness of my exercise companions. Nevertheless, any one of us could probably beat the shit out of him and we are all fucking beautiful.
To all who read here, real and unreal, I send my love, thanks and prayers.