I Thought I Was Doing Pretty Well. Then Came the Pandemic
At the dawn of the pandemic, as businesses shuttered and frontline workers braved inadequate conditions and the death toll began to tick frighteningly upward, I was home alone, nursing one selfish obsession: that I would use this time to get in really good shape. I am not proud of this–I would much rather write that I was raising money for communities disproportionately affected by this crisis, or delivering meals to the immunocompromised–but it’s the truth. The more I thought about it, the more the idea sharpened in my mind’s eye: this persistent fantasy of how I would emerge anew once the lockdown lifted, athletic and radiant, the best I’d ever been. I envisioned myself on the book tour for my up-coming novel, reading a moving passage to a rapt audience, which would probably include several ex-boyfriends who would lament that they had ever let me get away. Afterward, I would take shirtless pictures by a swimming pool under a cloudless blue sky. It was the shallowest, most inconsequential thing that I could fixate on during such a profoundly upsetting time, and probably for that exact reason, it became my lifeline. It began innocuously–even virtuously. After all, exercise is recommended as a treatment for depression, which I’ve battled for years. In the morning, I would unroll my yoga mat and take a streaming workout. But soon, one workout didn’t feel like enough, so instead I took two. Then three. I ordered ankle weights, dum...
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