I Smile, by Kirk Franklin

Kirk Franklin’s, ‘I Smile’,’ popped into my head this morning as I walked the park. I love that song. So with the spring breeze blowing and the ducks calling to one another across the green lake water, I charged through the trees. My feet crunched through the gravel, shoes digging in and out, making me work that much more harder as I made my way along the trail. Who would’ve thunkit, me, walking and jogging up a sweat?

Anyone who knew the old me would tell you that lady didn’t fool out in the sun. That old girl would circle the parking lot looking for the closest parking space to the building she could find. Exercise was a dirty word.

There are times, like today, I feel old girl trying to seep back in. What with reading essays four hours in the evening, a temporary gig, researching, and writing, and all else I can squeeze in during the day, old girl wrapped herself around me like a warm embrace. But like we use to say back in the day, I thought, ‘I’m hip to your jive.’

Just like when you recognize someone that really doesn’t have your best interest at heart and doesn’t really wish you well, or want to see you prosper, well I recognized that old feeling. So, shrugged it off and climbed on out of bed. Then I walked into the bathroom, looked at myself in the mirror and smiled.

Everyday after I’m dressed, my first order of business is popping pills. Right before breakfast I popped one for diabetes, another for high blood pressure, and a supplement to ward off the effects of neuropathy. My two biggest fans, Tigger and Zoey, hit me up for affection, so I rubbed them and hugged them. Tigger, full of energy, jumped his butt on the sofa, off the sofa then raced to the door like a gazelle. Once he’s out the way, I dragged the blinds up in the their room. Zoey sat there and basked in the sun while I prepared breakfast.

Breakfast was two scrambled egges, pineapple and cottage cheese, and something called apple chicken links I’d picked up at the Whole Foods Market that opened just the other day. I was not instructed on the box of chicken links to place them in the oven, but that’s what I did. While they cooked, I stood in front of the mirror propped against the wall and looked at myself. In sweatpants and a short-sleeve purple shirt, I turned to profile. Old girl whispered sneeringly, ‘you ain’t losing no weight, why do you persist?” I leaned in close, brown eye to brown eye, and said, “Why not?” then strutted away singing,

(I’ll be honest with you)
I almost gave up, but a power that I can’t explain,
fell from heaven like a shower now.

(When I think how much better I’m gonna be when this is over)
I smile, even though I hurt see I smile,
I know God is working so I smile,
Even though I’ve been here for a while (what you do?)
I smile, smile…

I’m glad I didn’t listen to myself and got on out there and did the darn thing. After about 30 minutes, the OJ I had with breakfast kicked in. The closest restroom, well the closest one opened in this particular park, was about 1/2 a mile away. My car was nearer and I thought of going back to it. Old girl did her utmost to urge me back there, knowing full well if I drove off, that would be the end of my walk. My goal was to walk/jog an hour. I’d missed two days, the hour would make up for it. I inhaled, sucked in my stomach, threw up a prayer, and kept on stepping.

I walked/jogged exactly an hour. When I finally reached the car, energized and recharged, I was looking forward to a new day. Sometime we can be our own worst enemy. Even when we try to do a body good, our self can come out and try to sabotage the effort.  I’m 52 I’m not ashamed to say. I don’t know what that’s suppose to feel like. What I don’t want it to feel like is tired and broken down. I won’t be doing any cartwheels and might even emit a grunt before sitting or standing, but even if my weight is being stubborn, I’m going to persist in walking.

Listen to Kirk Franklin’s, ‘Smile’. If that doesn’t help inspire you, I don’t know what will. I know, if that doesn’t work, get a cat. There’s nothing more therapeutic than a purring cat whose paw is pressed gently against your arm while you work. This is in real time folks. My laptop sits on a small table at the foot of my bed. It’s where I work. To be close to me, Zoey has now placed both front paws on my left arm. Her eyes are closed, humming less pronounced, and her belly is making those hunger sound noises. The humming ended. I’m looking at her and can’t help but smile.

Zoey, the fat cat

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