I look at the reflection in the mirror in front of me. It’s satisfactory but there is still work to be done. I see pockets of excess that must be addressed. I see parts that need to be removed with a simple real-life crop tool if possible. Just a little here and there, just a little snippet of the remaining pockets of fat. If I could take a scissor and trim away I would but reality is different. I sigh.
I put on my gym clothes next. The leggings are fitting looser than last week. Progress, at last, I tell myself. I put on my running shoes and head out the door for a run. I am joined by my neighbors venturing out on their morning bike rides and walks. They look at me and smile which I reciprocate. The difference between myself and each of them is the fact that this isn’t my first outing of the morning. I’ve already done two runs before any of them woke up and now I’m on my third. Why three? Well, three is a complete number figuratively speaking, no? Or that’s what I learned in school I think. Everything is done in rituals of three – three of whatever exercise, three times a day every day.
I don’t run either, I sprint. The faster I move, the more calories I will burn and the more pockets of excess I will eliminate. I need to rid myself of the last meal I ate. I think it was lunch from yesterday but I’ve forgotten at this point. I probably burnt that lunch during my 3 runs last night but I can never be certain. So I run again and again as an insurance measure. I need to be certain, I need to have some element of control in knowing the contents of that meal no longer exist within me.
Control is a funny topic. It’s the hallmark of this vice. There are external factors I can’t control and this must explain my behavior. Nothing traumatic happened though. There’s no single event or single person to blame. One might suggest society and some ambiguous standards of beauty and fitness but I am not too sure. All I know is that I’m here in this current state.
One might say that I’ve done enough, lost enough, gone far enough in this chase but I don’t want to be enough, I want to be perfect. Enough sounds unsettling and incomplete to my ears but perfect sounds like the burden of insufficiency being uplifted with relief. The irony of it all is that is what I thought 10, 20 even 30 pounds ago but with each milestone, I pushed the definition of perfect to further extremes. I am well aware that I may never achieve perfection but rationality ceased a long time ago. This is the era of irrational pursuit. This is the age of just one less meal, one more set of exercise and one step closer to a constantly changing definition of perfection always outside of my control.