Rachel
Bradley

CURSOR

This was it. I was finally going to write my dad a letter and tell him exactly how I felt. My paltry carb intake and slavery-inspired workout schedule had spawned two things: a lack of patience with stupidity, followed by a desire to make love to a cracker. It’s amazing how setting my life with goals and taking action changed my perspective on everything. The “everything” at hand currently was precipitated by yet another phone call from my father, complaining about my evil stepmother being, well, evil. I had offered my usual platitudes, trying to smooth out the wrinkles in his life like she had smoothed out hers by having them surgically nailed behind her ears last summer. Nothing worked. It never did.
This was it. I was finally going to write my dad a letter and tell him exactly how I felt. My paltry carb intake and slavery-inspired workout schedule had spawned two things: a lack of patience with stupidity, followed by a desire to make love to a cracker. It’s amazing how setting my life with goals and taking action changed my perspective on everything. The “everything” at hand currently was precipitated by yet another phone call from my father, complaining about my evil stepmother being, well, evil. I had offered my usual platitudes, trying to smooth out the wrinkles in his life like she had smoothed out hers by having them surgically nailed behind her ears last summer. Nothing worked. It never did.

The aforementioned “face tacking” came not long after the last time I had seen my stepmother. It was at my grandmother’s funeral. I saw her, she pretended I was invisible. I’m unavoidably 6’2” in high heels, so it might have been more believable if she had hung her coat and umbrella on me. My sister and I comforted ourselves with the fact that her face was claiming independence from her skull, so she had attempted to hoist her neck with a “neck girdle,” or choker, which was straining so hard it gave her neck a muffin top. I feared that the neck Spanx might give way, slingshotting across the room and taking out the communion table on top of the coffin. Grandma would not approve.

When my dad called, I was two meals from my cooler, spaced 2.5-3 hours apart, into the drive home from doing shows in Sacramento, straining to see the road through my sugar-free glazed eyes. I realized that this was what he wanted. He didn’t want solutions. He wanted to complain. The tough things are easier to take when you’re not in doughnut deprivation. The thing was, I never ate doughnuts before I started training. Now, I was dreaming about them in pornographic, glazed detail.

So, here I was, staring at the computer screen, ready to rip out my heart and plaster it all over the pages of a letter. I stared at the empty computer screen, cursor blinking its heartbeat at me, “he loves me, he loves me not.” “He loves me, he loves me not.” “He”-- he doesn’t visit me, he doesn’t say he’s proud of me, he’s not involved in my life. He doesn’t love me?

At least a few people a day struggle to understand why I’m training for this fitness show. They don’t know the powerful background and structure it gives my life. They don’t know the strength I realize every day. I square off against myself, which enables me to better know my opponent, to better know me. The show itself is the destination, and it’s great, but the real magic happens in the journey.

The cursor blinked one last time, “He loves me!” I slammed the computer shut with purpose. I choose this life, with all its beautiful imperfections, and I choose the meaning I make of it. He loves me!!! I had chicken and broccoli to eat.