Fridays in the park.
Cooper Park, Brooklyn.
A bunch of lumps getting together to try and beat our bodies into something more than what we’ve let them become. Pushing. Grinding. Sweating. Always the possibility of puking. Every last one of us creators of something —- Painters. Writers. Musicians. Filmmakers. Every last one of us there to work the demons away. Sugar. Alcohol. Dope. Fast food. Malaise. Depression. Self-loathing. Sloth.
Who the fuck knows what motivates anyone. I know what is motivating me. I know what I am trying to accomplish. I know that every grunt and every gasp for air is another day added to my life. After everything in the last year —- the diabetes diagnosis, the cholesterol off the scale, the sedentary lifestyle pushing me into obesity —- and all the hard work I have put in changing my habits and changing my body on my own? This is the next level. This is exactly what I needed at exactly the right time. Weight was starting to pop back on the frame. Laziness was starting to encroach from the horizon. This? This changes the game and forces me to get out of the house and away from my words and away from my distractions and just fuck myself up in the best possible way.
Cooper Park was overflowing with Tibetan nannies and moms today. Children running free and watching as old and lumpy men worked to harden themselves, to save themselves. One child —- a tiny ginger boy with cool Vans and a pacifier that looked like it had never left his maw from the moment it was handed to him —- took a shine right away as we jumped rope to warm ourselves up. Crept over and started mumbling through the pacifier. Wanted to try the rope. We told him “Just jump, little buddy! Jump with us!” His Tibetan nanny was aloof and lazy. She’d laugh from 35 feet away but did nothing to remove him from the danger of our lack of coordination and our cursing and thumping. The little ginger boy tried to hand off a clover from the grass. His eyes, beaming.
“No. You gotta step away, we don’t want you to get hurt.”
The Tibetan nanny finally came and picked him up, taking him to the jungle gym with the other kids. She forgot the other child that was in the stroller, covered by a blanket to hide from the sun. With every mountain climber and every push-up, all I could hear was my heart trying to burst through my chest and the child in the stroller screaming.
Part of me thought that child was me. It probably was.
Nobody died in Cooper Park today.
The moms were watching us the entire time. In between sets of dips and planks and star jumps —- I’d glance at the jungle gym area and see moms with hungry eyes. Moms probably wondering what we men do to be free enough to beat ourselves in such a public manner on a Friday morning. Moms probably wondering what kind of men we are, how we fuck and how we speak in the early morning with our coffee and granola.
Tomorrow I will rise with aches in my muscles and pain with each step. Tomorrow night my ass muscles will be so sore that sitting will hurt. Sunday morning I will rise and be unable to move for hours, just sitting in the bed, cursing myself for being such a fucking piece of shit for so long.
I’ll be there. In Cooper Park. Chasing away the demons and learning how to love myself more.