“Cycling brand Peloton is facing backlash over a holiday commercial showing a woman’s punishing, yearlong fitness journey after her husband gives her one of its costly stationary bikes.” – The Today Show, 12/3/19.
My husband has always been amazing at Christmas gifts. Whether it’s a single scented candle or a PANDORA charm shaped like a wineglass, I can always rely on him to find the perfect thing that says, “Babe — I see your soul.” But last year, he decided to transform both of our lives forever.
That’s right. My husband bought me the machine from Franz Kafka’s “In the Penal Colony.”
I never saw it coming! I mean, I had barely finished my early morning makeup and hair-straightening routine when he put his hands over my eyes and led me downstairs. When he dropped his hands, I was staring at an enormous contraption in what used to be our living room. “Merry Christmas, honey,” he whispered. “Oh my God,” I cried, completely overcome. “YOU GOT ME THE MACHINE FROM ‘IN THE PENAL COLONY’!!!” He smiled and stroked my hair. “I know that you’ve been looking for ways to get your body back after eating that cupcake two months ago.” He was right!
I’ll admit: going from being a “weekend warrior” at the gym to using The Machine for twelve-hour intervals was an adjustment at first. I was pretty nervous for my first session! Fortunately, The Machine’s patented three-part design — 1. Bed 2. Inscriber 3. Harrow — makes it easy for even us beginners to engrave our fitness goals into our naked flesh. Now, I wear my #MondayMotivation on the outside!
I started seeing changes in my body almost immediately. To be fair, the rapid slimming during the first week is mostly blood-weight, but you’d better believe that, after a month with The Machine, I’d undergone quite a metamorphosis. Only, instead of turning into a cockroach, I became a gaunt waif in tattered Lululemons! Still, no part of the experience was quite as rewarding as seeing my custom Sentence carved into my exposed skin. Just a year ago, my back was a blank canvas. Now, it reads, “Live, Laugh, Love!”
But the best thing about The Machine from “In the Penal Colony” is the way it creates a community around my fitness ordeal. It used to be a struggle for me to get up at 6 AM to go squeeze in an hour on the stationary bike while my husband slept. Now, every day at 4 AM, a trained Officer rousts me from slumber and carries me to the thorny embrace of The Machine. All I needed was the accountability! The interactive vid-screen lets me hear the screams of my fellow Condemned as we sweat our ways to becoming our best selves. Rise with the sun, #WretchSquad!
The thing that really keeps me going, though, is the support of our family, friends, and loved ones. My husband thoughtfully installed The Machine in front of our picture window, so he and hundreds of observers can monitor my progress. It’s sweet how involved they are! And if I get tired, I need only look out into the implacable sea of faces to lock eyes with my mom, The Judge, or The Commandant’s Women to find the grit to push through. On Day 50, they even chanted my name! I had forgotten I had one!
This past year has been such an incredible journey: from stay-at-home mom to Disciplined Subject, from agony to enlightenment, from “New York thin” to “L.A. thin.” I hardly recognize myself! Sure, some days, I still wonder, how long can I keep this up? Will I sink back into old habits? Will I run out of skin? But then I look inward and remind myself: hey, beautiful. That’s quitter talk. And quitters go in The Wife Pit.
Thanks for a magical year, Commandant — I mean, honey! I can’t wait until Christmas when I can return the favor. (Hint: it rhymes with “Bit” and “Bendulum.”)