This may come as something of a surprise to you, but, here it is: I don’t drink during the week (only on days that end with ‘y’, hahahahahahahahah). No, seriously: I save my drinking for the weekends, and then make up for lost fucking time, which I admit kind of defeats the object, but y’know, whatever, hashtagbingedrinker.
Sometimes it’s tough not drinking during the week. Mondays are tough, as are Tuesdays, and of course Wednesdays, and so on and so forth. Wednesday is kindy gym day. I particularly need a drink on kindy gym days, but I don’t, cos, y’know, willpower. I’m pretty amazing like that.
HOW DOES SHE DO IT, I hear you ask. HOW DOES SHE COPE WITH THREE WILD CHILDREN WITHOUT ALCOHOL TO SOFTEN THE BLOW? IS SHE SOME KIND OF SUPER-HUMAN? SHOULD WE CLONE HER? SHE’S CLEARLY SOME KIND OF ULTRA-EVOLVED WONDER-MOTHER! STEAL A STRAND OF HER HAIR!
Na mate, it’s simpler than that. I exercise.
Stop. Wait. Come back.
I know, I know, it’s not what you wanted to hear. But seriously friends, if it wasn’t for exercise I’d be a raging, inebriated bull-mumma, doing the school run with a Bacardi-Breezer-blue tongue and a slur. For real.
Take this week. This week has been a shit of a week. This week has thrown my world into a spin, and sent me a bit mental, and should’ve actually turned me to drink. Instead, I’ve put on my trainers and RUN, fucking run. I’ve also put on my boxing gloves and BOXED.
Exercise keeps me sane. It keeps me sober. Which is ironic, because I’m writing this half-cut, but it’s Saturday, so I’m allowed, OKAY? It wasn’t always like this. I spent the first half of my life largely avoiding raising my heart rate. Oh, I did the obligatory netball season, which ended with the coach taking my mum to one side and suggesting that perhaps I was asthmatic. I wasn’t. I was just really, really unfit.
When I was a bit older, about 11, at a guess, I went with mum to her aerobics class. I twisted my ankle in the first-ever class I went to, and was carried out by the instructor. NOT, it should be noted, by my mum, who actually – and this is the truth – pretended not to know me, and just carried on grape-vining.
And that was it, for me and exercise, for close to a decade, until a gym instructor called Suzie let me bring my own mix tapes to a circuit class when I was 19. Fat Lisa got thin, and also got hooked, and 20 years later I still need to exercise every day or I turn into Mrs Snippy Sad Bitch. That’s true. Don’t underestimate the power of endorphins.
You know those days when you wake up tireder than you go to bed, and you can’t see out of your eyes, and you want to punch everyone? Of course you fucking do, you’re a parent. These are the days I run. You know those days when the kids touch you constantly and relentlessly for eight consecutive hours, and steal every item of food you try and put in your mouth? Those are the days I go to the gym. Those are the days I box. And honestly, I tell you, it helps.
Remember when Ben was in hospital earlier this year? ‘Cos he nearly died? I never really dealt with that. I didn’t have time to deal with that. I don’t think I even got around to crying. Until one day – about a month afterwards – I went for a run along the coast. And there’s a particular point where the track twists and you’re suddenly presented with the Indian Ocean – the whole fucking lot of it, all the way to Africa, or India, or which over country’s next, I dunno. Anyway, I turned the corner, and saw the sea, and suddenly – without warning – I just fucking sobbed. It erupted. I stood at the lookout and I cried and I cried and I cried, and then I was good. That’s what running does. It clears your head to make room for more shit.
Sometimes I don’t want to exercise. Sometimes I’m so tired, and so sad, that I just want to sit in the car and cry. Sometimes I don’t know where I’m going to summon up the energy to even tie my shoelaces. Sometimes I’ve got so much to do that sacrificing 30 minutes to go for a run seems like an impossible indulgence. But I do. I always do. And fucking hell, it fixes everything. Like, not AIDS, I don’t think it could fix AIDS, but for everything else? Yeah, exercise helps.