She Was Programmed To Exercise
She was programmed to find someone to complete her. Once the cracks were open the bitterness and disappointment began to ooze in. She worked at a financial institution; for her it was a job that simply existed. He on the other hand promised to marry her even though his ambition would have been dashed by dominating the industry he was in. Every time the wedding date crept closer he wouldn’t fail to postpone and extend the date. He would often advertise his loyalty to her friends and colleagues that enabled him to belong to the social convention she belonged to.
The opportunity came when her boss told her to write a newsletter about the various activities boosting morale in the job environment. When she told her boyfriend about the offer, he reinforced her to take the task while he pledged to help her with the newsletter. He felt it was an opportunity that allowed her to compare herself with others and for him to communicate his knowledge and wisdom to help her climb the corporate hierarchy.
“Look,” he said. “You go to work, you come home, and you exercise. You gain a pound, you exercise. Every time you eat, you exercise. Even when you hardly eat, you exercise. Whatever invaded your mind must be replaced with something that lifts your spirits up and occupies your time.” She avoided looking at him, “I can’t do it.” He shot back, “You will do it. You can still exercise, but keep it at a minimum. I can’t force you to do something, you have to follow your dreams. Emotionally, you are capable of reaching your highest potential instead of being a victim of the treadmill.”
She lifted her head and smiled, “Will you really help me?” He replied, “Sure I will, you just need to think strategically. Forget about the activities, just use the tape recorder and I will feed you the questions so we can both write the story. Most of these directors and supervisors are idiots, they want to hear themselves talk. Who knows honey, you’ll reach the top, and you may even run the joint one day. We can both change the situation because I love you and whatever pain you’re going through will be triumphed by a change in variation.”
It took a month for her disposition to change. She started eating regularly and stopped making judgments about herself. Now she only looks for the good in everyone she meets and respects their journey. He was proud of her success and promotions even though he kept writing well into the night as he listened to the tapes. Sometimes the tape was an audible and he would question whether she remembered what she said. She was happy that they were working as a winning team. She was comfortable with her perfect imperfections and was unapologetic to herself.
He kept harping at her, “Always aim at success and establish a target. Remember, the real trap is self-rejection and a lack of confidence that may contradict your own voice.” Sometimes he sensed something in her world that he could not control. She mentioned that some of her colleagues are jealous and have begun to splash rumors at the office that it wasn’t her that was writing these newsletters. One of her colleagues accused her of trying to get ahead of everyone else patiently waiting in line.
Her boyfriend kept reiterating the same mantra. “If you learn to ask questions you will always get the right answer in moving ahead of the pack. If the wolves are against you stand firm and let the arrows fly. If it gets into your head, we will fail. You know very well what that means. Focus on the goal and march forward. All I ask is that you learn from the techniques that I have taught you to strategically move forward. There’s always another animal waiting in the wings to put you down and I have no doubt most of them are your friends.”
She needed to get her point across, “I hate them all. I can see how they’re operating, I don’t know if I can do this much longer.” He replied, “But honey, you’re making four times the amount of money that I will ever make. I just started this damn business and I have debt up to my ears. Let’s just conquer the banking industry by working together to get you that CEO position.”
Her face showed a hint of despair, “Don’t you understand? I don’t have what it takes, I can’t boss people around, that’s not my nature.” He now began to question himself, “How can someone reach the top if they can’t boss people around and manage others? Is she for real?” He began to feel his efforts slip down the drain. He could accept failure, but not a lack of effort.
He knew that she fought and struggled for every achievement. She had to believe in the dream, otherwise it all becomes artificial. She became indifferent towards him and began to feel content in not writing the newsletters. Sometimes she arrived home at six in the morning and quietly crept into bed. He had an inkling of what she was doing; his senses were confirmed as he began to hear the treadmill.
For him, it was incomprehensible of what she was doing to her body and mental state. He was agitated; however he did not want to rock the boat since he could only afford $100 per month on rent. When he studied he sensed that she was getting angry at someone, she would murmur something and throw a tantrum. He tried to subdue her by telling her she’s beautiful. This would infuriate her even more.
He came home from work and all his belongings were neatly stacked outside the apartment. He was surprised and leaned his ear closer to the door where he heard the sound of the treadmill.
Eight months later he received a phone call from a coworker. The voice on the phone stated that his ex-girlfriend had just passed away. She wasn’t eating at all and her body gave out on the treadmill. He fetched the bus; it took him an hour to get to the funeral home. The casket was closed so he proceeded to pay his respects to her parents. He even hugged her new boyfriend who gave him a dirty look.
He sat down next to his coworker, “How are you holding up?” “Terrible”, he replied. She looked at him, “It’s a curious thing, one never gets used to it, the idea of someone being gone, I mean death and love.” He turned his head toward her, “Want to do something after the funeral.” Her smile displayed her excitement, “I’m thinking of doing some exercise.” He was confused, “The treadmill?” “No”, she replied. “I have some leftover pizza at home and I love to eat.”
That was over thirty years ago, they ended up happily married living peaceful lives. She told him she wanted to go back into the corporate world, “Do you think anybody will hire an old woman?” He responded, “We are a team and you are the strongest.” It took her two years to get where she is now. It was a pleasure seeing her name under the title of CEO as she entered the building.