What I’ve learned from pushups

Manic Mumbling | What I've learned from the 22x22 pushup challenge
Manic Mumbling | What I've learned from the 22x22 pushup challenge
EXACTLY what I look like but with slightly more hair

When Mike said he was going to do the ice-bucket challenge a couple years ago, I told him if he tagged me, or if anyone he tagged, tagged me, or if anyone THEY tagged, tagged me, I was going to take it as a sign he wanted me to kick him out and change the password on our Netflix account.

It was kind of overkill and I probably wouldn’t have done something drastic like change our password, but I really don’t like wearing ice water or getting my hair wet, or being on video or anything, so I figured I had to make a pretty strong statement right off the bat.

Flash-forward a couple years and apparently I didn’t get the word out about my general grumpiness on this type of thing before my friend Amanda roped me into something I like just about as much as being doused on my back porch.

Pushups. I hate ‘em. I know they’re good for you, but I do.

I take a Body Pump class as often as I can, or at least whenever I notice my triceps waving like sheets on a clothesline. It’s weight lifting set to music and manages to not be as gouge-your-eyeballs-out boring as normal weight lifting with no sound track.

There are always pushups in Body Pump. Just like there is usually some very important thing to which I must attend when we get to the pushups. Sure I’d rather be propping myself with my face two feet from the floor, making my neck veins pop out and my face get red, but, hey, I have … this … call to make … or whatever.

It’s probably to the benefit of my instructor and fellow students that I make myself scarce during pushups. If I passed out, they’d have to roll me over and evaluate whether I need the paddles, or whether any of them have any strength in their overtaxed arms to do CPR, or if it’s even worth it to assist this woman who regularly elbows her way to the space in the front of the room and then skips the part with the pushups.

When Amanda tagged me in her pushup challenge, she didn’t know I have an aversion to challenges, or pushups, but she also said something about my being a badass. Which, even though that’s really code for: “don’t come after me. I bruise easily, and I’m a fan of frivolous lawsuits,” it wasn’t like I could back down.

But I also wasn’t sure I could do that many pushups in a year, much less at one time.

Turns out I could and I can and tonight is night ten or something and I’ve learned a few abidingly DEEP and INSIGHTFUL things during this challenge that I wanted to share:

  1. My carpet is distressingly dirty.
  2. Daylight is not my friend. And by daylight, I mean any light. I don’t remember looking this old in the bathroom mirror. Maybe it’s my camera.
  3. Taking my glasses off during pushups helps with #1. You taking your glasses off would help with #2.
  4. A broken pinkie toe does not impede pushups, but gets a fair amount of sympathy when you point it out just prior to doing them.
  5. Judging by the comments, I have a few friends who are either very kind or don’t know that I’m doing pushups less pushup-y than, say someone who doesn’t regularly skip whole sections of her Body Pump class.
  6. I have at least one friend who apparently doesn’t worry about how stabby I get when someone publicly critiques my pushup form.
  7. I have a remarkable ability to refrain from sarcasm when someone publicly critiques my pushup form.
  8. … even though there are a number of funny things I could say in response to judgy comments. Things like: “Oh yeah? Well wait until you see me do this sober.”
  9. I spend an inordinate amount of time thinking up responses to judgy comments instead of doing anything productive.
  10. People have a really distorted idea about how much I drink, and it might be because of my sense of humor.

Okay, in all seriousness …

There’s a cause behind this 22×22 pushup challenge, It’s about shedding light on needs of the men and women who’ve served to ensure the freedom and safety of others, and the astonishingly high rate of suicide among them after they return. Although there are those who call that exact figure of 22 daily suicides by veterans into question, there is no question we owe these people. We owe their families. Even one suicide a day is one too many.

September also happens to be National Suicide Prevention month, and, although I’m rather late to the party, it doesn’t hurt anyone, least of all me with my whiny, inadequate pushups, to remember there are people who hurt, and those who love them who wish there were more resources to help.

I’m going to change my posts, slightly, going forward, with resources for veterans as well as others. But I’m going to stick with the pushups.

I may even vacuum my carpet.

Information and support for veterans and their families.


Information and resources on suicide and National Suicide Awareness Month


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