The Worst Houseguest Ever (and how to get rid of her)

We’ve had the worst houseguest all winter. In fact, I’ve never despised anyone more. It’s bad enough she showed up unannounced – but now she hangs out in the WORST possible places, and REFUSES to leave! I’ve been downright rude to her and I’m always telling everyone how much I hate her, even when she can hear me. She doesn’t care. She won’t leave and her annoying presence aggravates me more and more every day. So I started serving her all the nastiest foods: kale, green smoothies, turmeric tea, brussel sprouts. In fact, all the sprouts. She, however, laughed in my face and propped her feet up on my coffee table as if to say, “I ain’t goin’ anywhere, girlfriend. Get used to it.”

I told her in no uncertain terms that I will never get used to it! I refuse to give in to her obstinate and demoralizing ways. She will never get the best of me and I’ll kill her if I have to – but she is NOT stayin’!

So in yet another attempt to get her to leave, I signed up for a membership at Planet Fitness. This will surely piss her off, I thought. She lugged along with me to my workouts and again, very condescendingly laughed at me when I was sweating after just 15 minutes and struggling to get through a full workout.

This is the MOST unwelcome guest I’ve ever entertained. And I never even meant to host her – she just kind of appeared. Slowly… I noticed her more and more and more. She just latched on – attached to me like a barnacle, a leech, a life-sucking demon.

So now, in an effort to destroy the guest I never wanted, I go to Planet Fitness as much as possible. But the problem is, I hate Planet Fitness, too. It’s so depressing because I feel like everyone’s grandmother. It doesn’t help that I live in a college town and all the perky little college girls wear painted on leggings over their perfect tight butts and strut around with all their trendy tattoos and bras for shirts. And even though this college is my alma mater, I think they now disregard literacy as a criteria for admission. Although I am clearly perched DIRECTLY beneath the words “Judgment Free Zone” – I can still feel their glaring weasel-y eyes on me as they think “I’m never gonna let myself go like that mom. When I’m old, like her, I’ll still wear these tight-ass leggings and turn heads at the gym.”

College girls at my Planet Fitness look like this. Seriously??? No wonder I feel like poking my eyeballs out whenever I leave.

My mom says paranoia runs in our family – but I think she just tells me that to get in my head and watch me self-destruct so she can tell the rest of the family and all her condominium friends what a nut-job I am when they admit me to the psychiatric hospital where I work…

And on this one particular day, with my stupid guest latched heavily to me, my soul was especially downcast. I was feeling so burdened with my health issues, a body that felt like it was failing me, and just overall feeling “less than”. What I really wanted to do was stay in bed til Memorial Day, but somehow I’d found a modicum of strength to drag my sorry ass to Planet Fitness.

I found my favorite treadmill right underneath the sign “Judgment Free Zone” just in case any college Barbie dolls forgot the rules. I walked/ran for as long as my compromised lungs would let me.

I wanted to cry. My lungs said, “Stop! We’re hurting!” My unwanted guest said, “I told you I’d never leave! You are stuck with me forever strapped to you!” My feet said, “Will you ever break down and buy some orthopedic tennis shoes???” My head said, “Face it, Cindy, you are old, fat, and irrelevant.”

My heart said, “I’m broken. Let’s get out of here.”

So I bolted for the door.

And then….


A beautiful college-aged brunette who was working the Planet Fitness desk – her Chemistry book open on her lap – looked up at me, smiled, and said, “I like your hair.”

I looked over my shoulder convinced she must be addressing someone else. There was no one else there.

I pointed to myself as if to say, “Who me??? This old lady here with enough extra weight I’ve even personified it as an unwanted guest??? This embarrassment to the Planet Fitness establishment who couldn’t even exercise a full hour? You mean me???”

She said, “Yeah. It’s cool. I like the color and the cut.”

Flabbergasted. I’m pretty sure I forgot to say, “Thank-you.” or even a meager, “And I like your tight leggings”.

As soon as I was in my car I sheepishly checked my hair, “You know, your hair really ain’t too bad. It’s not grey yet. And with just a little highlighting help in the winter, the color’s not disgusting. Maybe you’re not a total loser…”

And I literally felt my head lift a little. I felt the unwanted guest shrivel up a bit as I decided to face her head on, admit she was all my fault, and commit to eliminating her entirely. I felt the sun peak through the clouds. I felt like God himself was saying to me, “I love you. I don’t care about a few extra pounds. I don’t care about what others say or think about you. You are special to me and I’m especially fond of you.”

And that, my friends, is the power of ONE COMPLIMENT. My whole view of the world shifted in that moment with one simple remark. And I stepped out of Planet Fitness that day having learned some priceless things:

  • We absolutely CAN change the world one smile, one kind word at a time.
  • WE get to choose the narrative of our lives. There’s much we can’t edit (disease, death, loss, trauma, broken relationships, etc.) but we CAN choose the direction of the story based on our response to those things.
  • Don’t underestimate the power of our words – both for the good and the bad. Use them wisely!
  • Listen to God. His words are always best.
  • Go to the gym. It doesn’t totally suck.
  • Don’t eat the tootsie rolls on the way out of Planet Fitness! Can you say, “Saboteur”???

Go get ‘em friends! Show those unwanted guests the door! Anything in your life that you didn’t want and didn’t ask to take up residence – maybe it’s jealousy or anger or fear or drinking or extra weight or working too much – whatever it is, tell it to take a hike and  get back the life you know is yours!

(And if you’ve ever worked at Planet Fitness and you tell me that employees are instructed to compliment patrons who look like they’re on the verge of tears, I DO NOT WANT TO HEAR IT AND I WILL UNFRIEND YOU FASTER THAN YOU CAN SAY “LEGGINGS”!)




11 thoughts on “The Worst Houseguest Ever (and how to get rid of her)

    1. I know, right??? What the heck kind of place puts the EXACT opposite thing of what you’re trying to achieve at the door as you leave??? It’s like a restaurant handing out Ipecac Syrup. Or a dentist handing out Jolly Ranchers. Or a doctor handing out bacon…

  1. This is the best post EVER. I totally cracked up and love this . . . . can totally resonate but I no longer care what some little 20 something thinks and I highly doubt they noticed you (no offense) they are too busy checking their own tight butts out !! 🙂

    1. Hahaha! I’m sure you’re right! Those Barbie dolls sure do spend a lot of time looking in the mirror, don’t they? Or worse yet, into their phones as they take all those selfies!!! Gross.

  2. I needed to read this today! Thank you for sharing this! That girl isn’t wrong, you do have cool hair. What I think is even better about you is the way you make people feel just by being next to you and talking with you. You make people feel good!

    1. Thanks Shannon! I’m so glad it blessed you – that’s all I hope and pray to be the result of my writing! Just wanna bring smiles – Lord knows the world needs more of them! Love you!

  3. Cindy- soooo glad i get your blogs in my email- you are such a talented writer. Hilarious. 🙂 the tootsie roll remark was the best. And yes your hair IS darling. As well as the rest of you. Being ten years or so beyond you- here’s a tip- trade the planet fitness membership for an at home exercise bike. I used to go to the Y – same struggles! Plus more time consuming! Got an exercise bike – plugged in my praise & worship music- pedaled away in my “early morning no make-up and ugly sweatpants look” by the view out my own window. Haha! So much happier!!

    1. Hey Patty! Thanks so much for your wise words! Maybe when our kids all move out we’ll have room for a home exercise room. Right now, the only place is the basement and my head hits the ceiling if I stand on our treadmill! Walking on a treadmill half bent over didn’t bode very well for my back health!!! Your idea also makes more sense because I would never put TOOTSIE ROOLS by the door of my workout room!!! hahaha!

  4. Thankyou again, Cindy for your wise, funny and spot on words! Handing out a compliment works both ways—the giver and the receiver 😊! I need to remember to do more of it!!

    1. So true! Sometimes I set goals for myself to give out at least 3 compliments in a day. But I can’t tell you how many times I’ve gone to bed and realized I didn’t give out ANY – and then beat myself up! So now, instead of setting goals, I just ask God each morning to help me be more aware, and more in tune to what people around me are going through. I find compliments are easier to give when I’m more focused on others than myself (which is so hard to do!)

  5. I love you Cindy… so funny… I went to try on Tankini tops today for spring break…. not pretty…… but I know my husband loves me anyway. Thanks for you humor and keeping thinking things in perspective for all of us.

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