My trainer makes me a narcissist

Around my third week of training at the gym, Eric made me do push-ups, which went very well until he asked me to look in the mirror.

“Look in the mirror,” he said. “Check out your toned arms.”

I don’t have a photo of me doing push-ups so here’s a photo of me doing lunges, instead.

Sheylara at the gym

I said, “I can’t. I’m channelling all my efforts into not fainting from exhaustion.”

“Hahaha,” he said, “You’re doing good. Just look straight in the mirror and admire your rippling muscles.”

I tried to say something clever but I was at the same time struggling with the push-ups, so I could only manage a weak hiss like a deflating balloon.

Sheylara at the gym

While that was going on, Eric continued to make approving sounds at my muscles, which were, at that point, screaming for mercy.

“Don’t have lah,” I huffed weakly, “My arms look the same as always.”

“Okay, you’re done,” he said, “Stand up and flex in the mirror.”

I did what he said.

“See??!” he exclaimed triumphantly as I flexed into the mirror.

Sheylara at the gym

“Okay, fine,” I conceded. “It’s a little bigger than usual. Stop making me a narcissist.”

But Eric is apparently very pleased with the way my arms are shaping up.

The next time we had a photoshoot, he had our photographer snap lots of photos of my arms.

Sheylara at the gym

Sheylara at the gym

I don’t really see any cause for celebration because I have never been in the habit of scrutinising my arms, so I can’t tell the difference.

But Eric works me very hard every session so I suppose there must be some kind of improvement.

There’s always a lot of laughter during our sessions (mostly from me). I know it’s very bad to laugh when training but I can’t help it. I will laugh involuntarily when my muscles start burning. I think it’s an automatic stress-relieving response.

Sheylara at the gym

Also, Eric is always trying to trick me into doing more reps, which I find very funny, so that makes me laugh doubly hard.

We were doing lunges and he was doing them with me to give me some extra motivation.

I hate lunges with a vengeance.

Sheylara at the gym

For the first set, I can do maybe 20 and then I’m ready to order a wheelchair.

Seeing Eric do them with such inconceivable ease, I asked him, “How many can you do?”

He said, “Ooooh, is that a challenge?”

I rolled my eyes and tried not to collapse.

He continued, “Let’s compete. See who stops first.”

That was when I burst out laughing uncontrollably because it was such a ridiculous competition.

Sheylara at the gym

I demanded that he give me a 500 handicap but he didn’t bite.

In the end, because we’re always bantering, we end up not counting, so I always end up doing more, I’m sure.

Sometimes he will purposely miscount and I will protest and then he will say, “Oh, did I count wrong? I’m sorry, let’s start again.”

And then he would start from one.

Sheylara at the gym

Sometimes I don’t know whether to laugh or cry.

When that happens, I guess the only safe thing to do is to be a narcissist.

Sheylara at the gym

Twitter is stupid and we’re all narcissists

Okay, so I just signed up for a Twitter account. What that did was further my belief that we are now smack in the middle of the Me Age.

Two hundred years later, history students will read in their textbooks: “The year 2000 marked the start of the Me Age with the proliferation of Internet activity. The possibilities for self-publishing created a social phenomenon that took the world by storm as increasing individuals bought a piece of Internet real estate to advertise one predominant product — themselves.”

I mean, this is totally what is happening and I do not exempt myself from this mounting horror.

In 1996, I made my very first website for my IRC community. I had photos and funny blurbs of all my channel regulars. I wrote a witty article extolling the virtues of IRC. The website’s purpose was to show off my web designing skills (which was then a big deal), my writing skills and my sense of humour.

In 1997, I made my first personal website. Its purpose was to glorify myself and shout to the whole world that an individual such as I existed.

And, you know, that tradition of narcissism continues till today. But I think it’s all good because, really, it’s not only about me.

People who have their own websites and blogs aren’t only saying “look at ME”. They’re also expressing their individuality, creativity and talents through the design of their site, through their written words, through the photographs that they themselves have taken. Creativity must be shared with the world.

But twitter is another matter altogether.

What the hell is twitter?

When I first started seeing it on all my friends’ blogs, my reaction was something like, “Har? Can eat or not one?”

I didn’t get an account because it seemed stupid to me. Like, does anyone care what you were doing at exactly 4.26 pm last Friday? Honestly, no.

And if you must tell the whole world that you are, right this very moment, enjoying your char kuay teow, why must you put an extra box in your blog to say that? Why can’t you just post a one-line blog entry instead?

So, I finally signed up today to see for myself what all the fuss is.

I have posted my first update, clicked all over the site and read a few strangers’ rants.

And I still don’t really get it.

Twitter is totally the spokesperson for the “Me Culture”. In the little pink and blue boxes that are fast invading more and more corners of the Internet, we see nothing more than shouts for attention.

“Look at me! I just did my laundry and wiped the kitchen counter clean!! Can you beat that???”

What the hell? What the hell?

Where is the creativity? The entertainment value? The thing that will make people go, “Ahhh… that was worth my two seconds reading it.”?

And you thought the narcissism of personal web pages and cam whoring couldn’t get any worse.

To all my friends who have twitter, don’t fret. Even though I think twitter is stupid, I still love you and I will read your twitters because you’re my friend.

But allow me to ask you this:

Do you think I should just STFU and get with twitter already?

Thank you for reading.