When I look outside what is going on in my own little life, I don’t see much to feel joy about. This makes writing this post even more useful than usual this week.
If I didn’t make an effort to find the joy, I doubt I’d be doing well right now.
The week started with so many of us reeling from not one, but two more mass shootings, and dealing with the frustration, yet again, of having to watch a Narcissist-in-Chief who twists every circumstance to be one focused on him do the same about the murders of innocents. It doesn’t matter what has happened or who has died. Somehow, he finds a way to see himself as the victim.
It’s not only frustrating as a conscientious human being who understands this is not how our country ought to be — nay, the world, since his ilk seems to be increasing in popularity around the globe — but it’s also triggering as fuck.
As a reminder, the 2016 US presidential campaign was in large part responsible for waking me up to the realities of my relationship with the exN (aka the Narcissist).
The scapegoating, gaslighting, projection, deflection, and outright lies the world saw from Trump during his presidential campaign and continue to see today are textbook symptoms of Narcissistic Personality Disorder.
But you already know Trump is a Narcissist and harmful to our country and our planet. Or, rather, you either agree with these statements or you don’t. Nothing I say will change your mind if you don’t. And if you do, I’m preaching to the choir.
As the election season continued and I was exposed to Trump’s behavior more and more, I came to realize I was in a relationship with someone just like him.
Everything about our Narcissist-in-Chief is horribly triggering for many of us who are healing from Narcissistic Abuse.
(If you feel this way too, know you are not alone and there is a ton of support available. Please contact me if you need information about how to find it.)
I don’t think it’s surprising that I fell into a dark memory hole this week.
On top of the shootings, though, there is also that two different people I love have lost dear ones in auto accidents recently. One was earlier this week and one was a couple of weeks ago. My words escape me when I try to explain the emotion I and my group of friends are feeling right now about this. Both deaths were senseless tragedies and friends and families are mourning terribly.
But, of course, this is why trying to think of some joy that might be in my life right now is so important to do. It’s a challenge, but that’s exactly why it’s needed.
I challenge you to do the same.
This Week’s Joy
Alongside the massive accomplishment of getting air put in my tires (go, me!), eating relatively healthy meals all week and not having any alcohol at all, staying hydrated (quick plug for the Android Hydro Coach app because I’ve been using it for 3+ years and holy crap I love it so much), and doing a halfway decent job adhering to my desired sleep schedule…
(“None of those are a big deal. Most people do that stuff all the time. You’re just lazy. Wait, why are you getting upset? Lazy isn’t necessarily a bad thing. You’re just deciding to interpret it that way. This one’s on you.” -The Narcissist)
Work went unusually well this week and was even a bit of fun.
I appreciated having different responsibilities than usual, as there were tasks that needed to be done on a project and they wound up falling to me. It’s not common for me to have the opportunity to be visually creative at work and I enjoyed it.
The week had a bumpy start with workouts, I confess. I went on a bit of a wine tasting adventure on Saturday, so Sunday was a lazy day, and then Monday and Tuesday I just didn’t feel like it.
I came back strong on Wednesday, though, with a workout DVD I pulled from a neglected pile buried deep within one of my entertainment center’s cabinets. (Prevention Fitness 2-Week Turnaround Cardio)
It’s an older video, and not one I’ve used in many years. Muscle memory is such an amazing thing, though. As soon as the video loaded up I knew all the moves and their sequence and wound up having a lot of fun with the workout.
I also experienced huge satisfaction in realizing I was able to complete the entire workout without fading out and flailing at the end as I did in the past. It was nice to see a little evidence of my strength and endurance improvements, even after only a few weeks of consistent (3x/week) exercise.
(“It’s a pretty easy workout, though. I mean, it’s only what, 30 minutes? A real workout should last longer than that.” -The Narcissist)
While writing yesterday morning’s post (Relieved Pressure and Exercise Quandaries) I mentioned I’ve been enjoying working out with a Zumba series available for free with Amazon Prime (Zumba Awesome Legs & Booty System).
(“I can’t believe you’re doing Zumba. That’s such an old lady thing to do.” -The Narcissist)
Before publishing that post, I removed a paragraph in which I mentioned I’m enjoying the third episode of the series the best. I couldn’t remember the name of the instructor. The paragraph seemed unnecessary without that information.
As it turns out, the instructor is the one and only Beto Pérez, the creator of Zumba. When I initially did a google search for that information, though, I got distracted and wound up down an internet rabbit hole.
This was because my search results included Zumba classes near me. There are a ton of places around that teach classes.
And, amazingly, one of them is the gym to which I have a membership.
(“You’re still wasting money on a gym membership? When was the last time you went? How much does it cost? I hope I’m not paying for that.” -The Narcissist. He didn’t pay any of my expenses but enjoyed speaking to me as though he controlled my finances. (Stay at home girlfriend))
I have never been to a class at the gym, though. When I used to go, it was only to use the ellipticals and weight machines.
I stopped going a while ago. Allowing people to see me in workout clothes and attempting to work out in front of others is terrifying, and I wasn’t able to continue finding the courage required to do so multiple times a week.
(“What’s the big deal? You only need to lose, like, thirty pounds, and then you’d look fine.” -The Narcissist)
As for taking classes, in a general sense, it’s not something I’ve ever done much of. I’ve tried yoga classes a few times but it didn’t work out. I couldn’t handle feeling looked at and judged. It is because of this that I haven’t gone on any walks in my neighborhood lately, either.
Unlike yoga, though, Zumba is something I’ve succeeded in doing at home and don’t feel overwhelmingly uncomfortable about. It’s fun and even a little silly, in a good way. That was never the case with yoga.
Plus, the gym conducts both beginner and intermediate/advanced Zumba classes. I could start with a beginner class, just to try it out. I could stand at the back of the room and focus on following others, and maybe avoid being seen all that much until I build up a little confidence.
Also, going to classes wouldn’t have to make up the entirety of my fitness regimen. I could go just once or twice a month, or even less frequently, and continue using videos at home more than doing anything else.
Or I could try it a few times and decide I don’t like it, and really, what would I have lost by giving it a go?
Maybe, just maybe, it would be okay?
The Week’s Biggest Joy: Ambition
My biggest source of joy this week is that I’m considering going to a Zumba class at the gym tonight.
I’m contemplating opening myself up to the possibility of ridicule, whispers behind my back, and more of the petty, but horrible and hurtful, things mean people do.
I’m also contemplating opening myself up to the potential joys I might find in a group workout and community atmosphere.
Maybe people won’t be mean. Maybe there will actually be some nice people there that I’ll enjoy meeting.
I know I’m capable of being patient and kind towards myself. I know I can do that. I can allow myself to stumble a bit, to be a step behind the rest of the group because I don’t know the moves yet or don’t have the physical stamina to keep up.
I am capable of resisting the urge to pressure myself to do everything right the first time I do it.
I’ll save that for the second time. Kidding!
If I can get myself to put on workout clothes, get in the car, drive to the gym, park the car, and find the room where the class is held (which will inevitably require talking to someone and asking), then I know I’ll be okay and able to do the workout. I just need to get myself that far.
And of course, I’ll need to get the Narcissist’s voice out of my head, because all goddamn week, various things he used to say have once again been flowing through my brain. It has, thankfully, been a while since I heard him so clearly, but fucking hell now that he’s back I wish he’d go the fuck away.
(“I don’t know why you’re getting so upset. It’s just a conversation. I’m just trying to understand you.” -The Narcissist)