I take the body sculpt class on Monday and Wednesday mornings and there are two different teachers. Nora, who on Monday played Dolly Parton songs in class, and Yvette who plays a lot of techno-fied Adele. C substituted for Nora last week. Well, this week Yvette was out and today C, once again was at the front of the class.

Before class started, everyone was whispering. Those who hadn’t been in her class before had heard the rumors and those of us who had survived it were simply sharing our experiences. (Me to another regular: “It was just as bad as you think it’s going to be. Awful. This will be an awful hour.” Regular: “I’m scared.” Me: “I am too.” C: “WHAT IS THIS, SOCIAL HOUR?! YOU’RE MARCHING.”)

I decided that I’d pace myself this time. That I wouldn’t do everything C did at exactly the same pace because that seemed like a good way to pass out in class. Something I’m terrified I’ll do but when I do become dizzy, my inner C says, “OUTLIVE IT!” So far this has worked and I’ve not passed out. Yay me!

But class started and the masochist in me thought, it’s on C. IT IS ON C. As soon as she asked what number we were on, I used my normal speaking voice and said the number. But that wasn’t loud enough so again we started back at 20, despite Mr. 12, again shouting 12. We’d counted from from 20 to 7. And we had to start back. Screw you Mr. 12.

When she asked if we were hurting, I said Yes, slightly louder than before because, if I’m being honest, C’s general disappointment in everyone (“ARE YOU TIGHT? YOU’RE NOT TIGHT!”) brings out the A student in me. “Yes,” I said, my arms about to drop off my body after 40 shoulder presses and another 20 to go. “Yes.” But no matter. C barely looked in my direction. “MIND OVER MATTER,” C shouted.

I did all the squats. I did every single one of the squats where we had to drop the weights at the bottom, stand up, then squat down and pick them back up and stand again. I did all the push ups, chest flies, reverse chest flies, squatting chest flies. I did every single stupid exercise.

I’ve been having pretty severe and regular headaches lately. About three times a week, in the evenings, it’s all I can do to get dinner on the table and go through the night’s activities. I had the remains of last night’s headache still with me this morning, but after I put my mind over matter and tightened up my glutes and abs and pecs and biceps and whatever other muscles we’re supposed to tighten and sweated like a stuck pig for an hour, I felt better. My headache had pushed back and I felt okay. I had more energy and felt more positive and my headache was almost totally gone.

At the end of class, I marched up to C and said thank you. She barely glanced at me, said, “you’re welcome” and walked out of class. She was on to her next class of punishing perfect strangers to make them feel better.

I salute you C! I mean, I would salute you, if I could raise my arms.