I Cannot Deny It: Bjorn Is Inside Me

From next week I’m taking a few weeks off from the gym. There are several reasons.

One reason is lingering ankle weakness due to a PRI.

I sustained the PRI (pizza-related injury) one night while carrying home two pizzas. Foolishly texting as I walked, I didn’t realize I was about to step off the edge of the sidewalk.

I reacted automatically, holding the pizzas securely aloft to protect them from falling or — nearly as bad, that curse of the mobile pizza — topping slippage. I absorbed the brunt of the sudden twisting motion to my person, shielding my precious cargo from harm — but in so doing I caused nasty damage to my foot, which hit the road with a hard, painful jolt.

Noble? Sure. Heroic? Your word, not mine.

(Another night I was squiring home two pizzas when I came upon some sketchy-looking youths loitering in the park. Steeling myself for trouble, my immediate first thought was, They shall not take my pizzas. I tell you this not to boast of my valor; I tell you so you may know that my love for the cheesy ones is like a mother’s care for her infant: it involves a lot of dairy and sometimes there is indigestion.)

Anyway, the injury continues to trouble me more than a year later, and needs an extended period of rest (according to medicos), as well as a good deal of pizza (according to basic logic), in order to heal.

Another reason for my planned gym break is that I’ve finally come to terms with the fact that my spirit animal, which I’d always hoped was an elegant gazelle, or perhaps a cunning fox, or maybe even a charming yet misunderstood echidna, is in fact a lumbering bear.

Here, I think you’ll agree, is some fairly incontrovertible evidence for my essential ursine-ness (factoid source: Wikipedia).

  • Bears are typically solitary animals Check.
  • Bears are generally diurnal, but may be active during the night Check. Check.
  • Bears are adept runners, climbers, and swimmers OK I can’t run, climb, or swim. But I can sometimes be quite adept.
  • Some bear species forage large amounts of fermented fruits, which affects their behavior Red wine is fermented fruit, right? Definitely large amounts. Definitely affects behavior. Check, check, check.
  • Most species occupy their dens during the winter for up to 100 days of sleep similar to hibernation.

And that last one is where I need to face reality and embrace my ursine identity.

This winter I need to stay home — from where I can work, sleep, read, message my friends, watch Netflix, and order in.

This winter I need to forget the silliness of leaving the heater for the cold walk to the gym, the impossibility of trying to work out when my fingers and toes and joints feel like frosty shards of glass, ready to break at any moment in the air-conditioned studio, the shock of the freezing walk home again in sweat-wet clothes.

This winter I need to hibernate.

For in winter, I am never, ever, never warm.

  • My feet and hands are pretty much always icicles. [Knock knock Who’s there? Martini Martini who? Martini hands are frozen — let me in!]
  • Every day I need an hour to shower: 10 minutes for showering, 50 minutes for thinking how cold it is outside the shower and realizing I’m just not ready for that.
  • I cannot get to sleep unless my electric blanket has been on for hours and practically burns my skin. [Craig: Your side of the bed is painfully hot! Me: Mmmm… thank you.]
  • When I go outside my teeth chatter so loudly that people look up in search of the helicopter.
  • Last winter I had almost three solid months of colds, flus, and various sundry viruses. I now believe it was the bear inside me, keeping me unwell so I could stay indoors in the warmth.

This winter it just seems wise to embrace my inner Björn (Scandinavian for bear — who knew?). To remain in my den where it’s warm, and perhaps practice my climbing (the wine is on a high shelf).

Of course, as someone who works out hard, five or six days a week, the lack of exercise is sure to take its toll. So I asked one of my IT friends to do a computer-generated image of how I’d look when winter is over.

Not sure why my hair falls out though. Source: WB Television Network

See you in the spring!

Image: Grizzly just wants to sleep by Bryan Garnett-Law under CC by 2.0

Originally published at micheleconnolly.com on July 6, 2015.

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