Jillian Michaels may be a sadist, but at least there is poetry.
Ok, I should back up. I love my colleagues. Regardless of how often I get frustrated with my students, I love the teachers and staff that I work with. My job would probably fit more neatly into the 9 daily working hours if I didn’t spend so much time chatting with the people I work with during my planning periods. But I can’t help it. Our students are too fascinating/ amusing/ infuriating that we have to catch up between teaching.
I don’t really remember how it started, but my teacher-friend Amanda and I started working out together and for the last 25 days we have devotedly been slogging our way through the Jillian Michaels 30 Day Shred. Now, I wish to offer a disclaimer: I HATE workout movies. I love running, love exercising, love burning off excess energy and having that delightfully exhausted feeling. But I detest being in a sweaty room while some perky person on TV lambasts my inability to complete complex moves. However, I got sucked in. Level one left us tired, but encouraged, Level two left us annoyed as we physically could not maintain plank balance while doing jumping jacks. Level three is leaving us exhausted and sore, which I guess is a good sign. For a while Amanda and I were using an odd assortment of canned beans and jam jars in place of weights, but we finally graduated on to the real thing. Occasionally we just hurl ourselves to the carpet in a moment of prostrate submission.
The thing that makes our daily 20 minutes of torture bearable is that we usually mute Jillian and discuss whatever comes to mind. Amanda teaches English and I have a forever unfinished affair with literature so we often end up talking about books. As Jillian commands us to do Suma squats, rock-star jumps, and shadowboxing we exchange poetic musings, discuss the motif of silence in post-modernism, and quit doing sit-ups to yell “I fall upon the thorns of life/ I bleed!”
Lately we have been on a Robert Frost kick, so I leave you with a painting I did in college and the poem that inspired it. Read it while you do some static lunges with arm curls and I promise both will be enriched.
“Stopping By Woods on a Snowy Evening”
Whose woods these are I think I know.
His house is in the village though;
He will not see me stopping here
To watch his woods fill up with snow.
My little horse must think it queer
To stop without a farmhouse near
Between the woods and frozen lake
The darkest evening of the year.
He gives his harness bells a shake
To ask if there is some mistake.
The only other sound’s the sweep
Of easy wind and downy flake.
The woods are lovely, dark and deep.
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.