We're delighted to welcome my good friend and critique partner, Sarah Andre, as our guest blogger today. Sarah began writing contemporary romantic suspense novels in 2005 and joined RWA in 2006. She has been a finalist in multiple contests including Lone Star, Fab Five, Sheila, Finally a Bride and 2011 Golden Heart. In 2009 Sarah signed with a NY Literary Agent who is currently shopping her manuscript" "Locked, Loaded and Lying."
1/1/12: This year I swear I will exercise EVERY day! Off to walk my neighborhood…
1/2/12: Yippee, went to the gym and did 20 min treadmill, 20 min elliptical and 20 min stationary bike. Whew! I’m exhausted but I am a goddess!!
1/3/12: Unbelievably tired today and too busy at work…and I still have a bunch of errands to do on the way home. I swear I’ll do twice as much tomorrow to make up for skipping today…
Sound familiar? That New Year’s Resolution scenario could have come right out of my January, Any-Year journal (if I kept one!) I’ve had exercise-buddies, hired countless personal trainers, tried Jane Fonda videos, step-aerobic classes, Tae Bo dvds, you name it—I paid the money, gleefully convinced that this would be thing to finally motivate me forever.
Well honey, I’ve been a January Flame Out most of my adult life. I could write a book on my failures, my excuses and my newest Fad Diet (but that’s another rambling blog entirely!) My Point: I was born to curl up on the sofa with a novel. The End.
And then ten years ago the oddest thing happened. A personal trainer uttered four little words that ended up shattering my couch potato mentality.
(Dreamy music and blurry lines here to signify a flashback)
I happened to be over 200 pounds and was lamely following her kickboxing instructions: jab, cross, hook, uppercut. (I had boxing gloves on and she held padded mitts.) I threw a right jab, thwap! Connected solidly with those mitts, yes!
She yelled “Harder!”
What?? That was as hard as I hit. Well, I mentally shrugged, Okay. I reared back and swung a slamming left cross. Thwap!!
She screamed, “Hit me harder!”
Is she insane? I’d punched her mitts with everything I had that time. Another thwap, another goading: “You can hit harder than that!” I was done.
“No,” I gasped, “I really can’t.”
And then came the four words: “Tap into your anger.”
I danced back on the balls of my feet in confusion (and secretly to catch my breath.)
“I’m not angry,” I said, in my most polite tone.
“Oh yes, you are,” she spat. “Reach deep and let it out.”
Really folks, I wasn’t angry! But now I was so frustrated with the whole session, embarrassed by my jiggling fat, sick of being yelled at when I was punching as hard as I could and who was she to tell me I’m angry? …I grit my teeth, swung my arm and slammed that mitt with all those emotions. THWAP!!!!
It was such a mammoth, fury-driven hit that I actually grunted on impact. She staggered back and dropped her hands. “Yes,” she said quietly. “There’s your anger.”
And I stood there quivering and alive…and I don’t mean with adrenalin but pure rage. Pouring out of me like
Niagara Falls. I felt invincible and powerful and…happy.
“Let’s go again,” I said. (And then looked around to see who said that.)
I’d like to tell you that watershed moment immediately changed my life, but it still took years to keep me motivated. (And she left for
months later, picture an enormous backslide in my weight loss.) Paris
But those four words stayed with me and once in awhile I found ways to “tap” into anger during workouts, and guess what? Those sessions would be hugely exhilarating and productive. And I felt light-hearted and free afterwards, which I don’t think was all adrenalin-related. It was shedding that ugly emotion that we were taught as youngsters to stuff down and ignore because to express it is inappropriate and unfeminine.
Beyoncé named her brazenly sexy alter-ego Sasha Fierce, whom she ‘turns into’ the second she puts on her glittering dress. She becomes that person; it’s all-consuming, it’s not an act. Well, I’m here to tell you that alter-ego’s work, and mine is also called Fierce and she exercises like a demented fool. In fact Fierce is so real that I have to be very, very careful to keep my worlds separate!
You, dear reader, know me as Sarah: a pleasant, friendly romance writer. Ask anyone at my gym or passing me at Memorial Park…Fierce is a snarling, focused terror-to-behold. I found a trainer who instinctively knew this was my motivation and each day, within two sentences of greeting me he can set me off. We spar verbally, escalating to just this side of a UFC Smackdown. Hour’s up, we high-five and part great friends.
Sensory depravation helps me stay in my world of wrath. I don’t make eye contact (and if I do it’s a lethal stare), my music is so loud it covers my asthmatic breathing and I don’t speak to anyone. Unlike Beyoncé’s gowns, I wear rude T-Shirts (“Yet, despite the look on my face you’re still talking” or “I’m not mean, you’re just a sissy.”) My iPod is divided into two categories: soothing music I garden and daydream to, and a loooong playlist labeled ‘Exercise.’ (Wish there was a lightning bolt icon!) In this playlist I listen to some of the most god awful lyrics ever put to music. And to get a spot on that playlist each song must be sung/screamed with intense rage. The angrier the singer, the faster, longer and more determined I run. I would be ashamed to even throw in one iTune link here…THAT’S how much I don’t want you to catch a glimpse of Fierce.
It’s twisted, I get it. And yet, here I am— six years later and 70+ pounds lighter to tell you: Anger works. Any anger. Could be an immediate, one-time event: the driver that cut you off on the way to the gym. Run the treadmill and think of all the ugly remarks you secretly wanted to shout in his face. Could be chronic: your @#$% boss or in-law-from-hell. Could even be petty, envy-related: the fact that you have to exercise until you wheeze while cutie-pie, 20-something strolling on the treadmill next to you, chatting on her cell has the metabolism of a gazelle. Grrr.
The point is, once you admit Anger really is there, unbelievably deep within you and must get out, and once you learn to let it out in controlled, short intervals I guarantee you will look forward to your exercise time. It’s now a recognized toxicity I need to relieve daily or the sludge just builds. I still don’t LIKE to exercise. I still secretly revel in missing a day or two, but guess what happens? I begin to feel like a big, fat Ick. I get snarky at my loved ones. I reach for sweets and junk food. Any of this sound familiar?
If you’ve tried everything under the sun to stay motivated and exercise more often but nothing’s worked, well then…you have nothing to lose…try my bizarre, twisted approach.
Tap into your anger.
Posted by Sarah Andre
Tap into your anger.
Posted by Sarah Andre