I’m always on some kind of self-improvement kick, and this year I’ve tripled down. Mostly I’m focused inward – partly because I’m in that wildly introspective time known as midlife, but also because cultivating peace and compassion is my way of balancing out this year’s surreal sense of being cast as an unused extra in an extended director’s cut of Contagion. But it’s also healthy to get out of my head, so I’ve nudged up my historically feeble physical fitness game. One day we’ll reemerge from our bomb shelters, blinking at the blinding daylight, and when that time comes I don’t want to crawl out looking like a shabby lab rat set loose after a long captivity.
So after cooking endlessly, eating mindfully and, for the first time in my life, exercising regularly, I’m doing something moderately wacko: wearing a waist trainer. For the past three weeks, during most of my waking hours, I’ve been sucked into a stretchy kind of corset. I cook in it, I work out in it, I sit upright at my desk in it (no slouching for corset wearers). For all this effort, I should be swanning around in an intricately beaded Bridgerton ballgown. But no, I’m in my ratty shorts and loose loungy tops like nothing’s up.
This isn’t a Scarlett O’Hara situation that requires someone to tug on the laces while I brace myself against a bed post. The waist trainer is a latex wrap with steel boning and rows of hooks for self-fastening. I’m not trying to be Kim Kardashian – I have a naturally straight shape, so that’s out of the realm of reality. What I’m trying to do is return my poor abused rib cage, unceremoniously shoved open by a series of four human beings who treated my midsection like a personal swimming pool, to something like its original condition.
It’s a minor problem I didn’t really have time to dwell on before. But these days I have time. So I figured, why not? Worst case, I improve my posture. …