“I can’t do it,” I heard myself pleading with the young man who’d been lucky enough to gain me as a client for the three free personal training sessions I won at the gym’s grand opening.
I stood in front of an eighteen-inch stool. The very same stool that only a week before I’d watched a teenaged boy jump on and off easily, as I gave thanks that my trainer had the common sense to do age-appropriate workouts with me. Not only was I now facing that stool, I held at shoulder level a bar weighing at least fifty pounds (or at least it felt that way to me), which I was supposed to raise over my head if and when I could lug my body up onto the stool, lather-rinse-repeat six times.
“I can’t. There’s no way. Just no way.”
It’s weird. I’m not afraid of heights in the least. I’ve climbed twenty-five foot telephone poles with twenty pounds of equipment strapped to my waist, in front of a room full of men. But I can’t deal with feelings of instability or the thought that I might fall . . . and somewhere between the ground and the top of that stool, that threat loomed large.
I have this special ability where my eyes flood with tears, and I collapse into uncontrollable fits of laughter when I feel embarrassed. It’s not a helpful strategy, especially when the sweet young trainer guy just stands there without saying a word. It’s not a good idea either, to collapse when one is holding a weighted bar in her hands.
“Oh, please,” I begged, casting my eyes beyond him. “Just let me do it on that short stool.”
That sounded like a completely reasonable compromise for a 52-year old out-of-shape woman to offer. I was prepared to grovel, if need be. Apparently he agreed . . . and raised me one.
“Sure, that works. But do 12 reps on that one.”
Whew, finally we’re getting somewhere, I thought. I made way over to the mini-stool and quickly realized that, while the stool height was more manageable, there was still the matter of that bar in my hands to contend with. Whoa. Just whoa. I backpedaled quickly. Suddenly, miraculously, I found the ability to conquer the eighteen inch stool. It was a no-brainer, really.
It’s amazing really, what we can do when we try, right?