I’ve always had a love hate relationship with strength training. Sometimes I’m completely jazzed about the idea of it and every moment of exertion feels awesome. Other times the feeling of purposely working my muscles to exhaustion feels like torture.

Last Sunday I had one of those days where I was all jazzed about it and decided that it was definitely the thing to do. As per my agreement with myself of no pressure and remembering that all I had to do was show up, I got my things together and headed out for the gym.

Going today was the biggest step I’d made in really taking back my space because the chance of me running into Dread on any other day of the week was nominal. I knew, though, that he didn’t work on Sundays and that I very well could run into him that day. Hoping that I was strong enough now that it wouldn’t bother me to see him, I didn’t back down from going.

As I arrived, I once again scanned the place for him. I didn’t see him. As I settled into the space I chose for exercising and figured out how to keep my iPod in place since I was lacking pockets (sports bras have more than one use…), I got down to business.

The workout I chose was one sent to me by Suzanne at Workout Nirvana months ago. I had tried it once (half assed) a few months ago, but at the time I wasn’t really in the mode to commit to a workout or, you know, effort of any kind. So, I grabbed this one again and tried it out.

Funny thing; just because you can’t hear yourself doesn’t mean that others can’t hear you. Apparently I went into full vocal filter failure because a woman across the room started laughing at me after I thought… ish “Fuck, this one looks hard” as I approached one of the exercises in the workout.

This woman apparently thought I needed some encouragement so she gave me a pep talk.

Thankfully, my vocal filter did work correctly this time because I just smiled, turned up my music, and continued with my exercises without further thought leaking out of my mouth. It was really hard and by the end I was shaking but I felt amazing. Despite the fact that it was difficult, I felt so strong while doing it.

One of the things that’s gotten to me since that night was that I felt weak. I felt like I had to have been weak for someone to have been able to do that to me. Doing those exercises, though, I realized that I’m not weak. I never had been. It finally occurred to me that in a fair fight, that wouldn’t have happened.

It’s true, he was incredibly strong and muscular but I’m strong and feisty. In a fair fight, I would have won.

With that thought, he lost the rest of the power he’d had over me. Realizing that the only reason I didn’t fight was because he took away my ability to do so, I also realized how small a person had to be to take away someone else’s ability to fight so that they can have what they want.

I walked out of the gym feeling strong despite the weakness and fatigue in my limbs.

I’m not worried anymore about the possibility of running into him. I don’t really care now if it happens or not. Where once it felt like he was a ghost always lingering around just out of sight, haunting me; now, he’s just kind of dead to me. Of course I’ll feel a jolt if I do run into him but there’s no fear about it.

Seattle’s a little big city and eventually our paths will cross again. That’s what happens here. I accept it and I’m moving on. I’m shifting my focus back to me. I’m getting faster, stronger, thinner, healthier, and happier.

A few minutes after I got home; a friend stopped by. Still sweaty from my workout and tired as hell, I examined myself in the mirror, “I feel like I’m starting to look different. I really must be losing weight again.”

“Oh Kendra, you know you’re hot,” he said, rolling his eyes at me.

I wrinkled my nose at him.

“No, really though, you are starting to look a little bit different. You look happier. Plus, you’ve got that whole feisty thing going on again. That really is hot.”

I jokingly shook my fist at him as he grabbed my camera and snapped a photo.

“Hold that!” He said, “now you have proof.”

He was right. As I unceremoniously kicked him out so I could shower, I looked at myself again in the mirror. I did look happy.

And very very pink.

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