Saturday, March 19, 2016

Fat Girl On A Bar: Getting Strong

The Sisterhood met up again for the new session on Thursday. We were down one which was sad. But we did have a new member who I hope felt welcomed into our fold. The atmosphere felt happier, more relaxed than last week. I'm not sure why but everyone just seemed at ease. We laughed a lot during our warm up which I think always sets us up for a good class.

I also came armed with a better attitude. One of my many gurus, Debbie told me that morning "Girl you need to go easier on yourself." She's right of course. I do. I thought about it as I drove home. I'd never ever shame my girls for not being able to do a trick. Why did I feel like it was okay to do it to myself? And I also thought a lot about the anger at my body for not being strong enough even with all the work. Seemed like a pretty shitty thing to feel about this old body that has done some pretty amazing shit. You know like giving birth to five children.

For the last year or so, I've struggled with how to feel about my body. A lot has gone wrong. First, the gallbladder went wonky and oh the pain. So.bad. Then I had the miscarriage. I think that is the one that really screwed with my sense of self. I didn't want to be pregnant. We were good with five feeling like Jude was the perfect conclusion to our childbearing days. But then there was that test with the big positive result. Just as we came to terms and started to feel tentatively excited, we lost the pregnancy. I wasn't very far along, I know, but the pain was devastating. I really fell into a pit during that time even with the antidepressants. And of course my body didn't miscarriage naturally and I had to have the D & C. At this time, my knees gave out while I was  just getting back into running and the sciatica problems started. I felt like my body was just falling apart, and I was resentful about it. Combined with the emotional pain, I just really retreated from caring for my body in the way it deserved.

But trapeze made me remember that my body is very much a part of me. Hating it wasn't going to get me far. Trapeze thrusts you into having to deal with your body. There's no "When I get thinner" or "When I get stronger." Those things are happening but the reality is that they happen as I'm doing shit on the bar. I don't get to lift a lighter weight or only use a machine for thirty minutes instead of an hour. And the thing is that most of the time my body does this stuff. Oh it protests sometimes but it doesn't quit on me. Ever. And I'll be damned if I'm going to belittle a body that works so hard. It's shifted my entire focus of how I see myself from how I eat to the language I use.

I walked onto the mat feeling good. And then Ashley said "Lower your bars shoulder or chin height." And I thought 'Well damn we're going to be doing bar stuff. Again." I started to kind of moan a bit but I didn't let myself fall into thinking that I couldn't do whatever it was we were going to do.

Jo showed us the first new trick for the night. It was a variation of shoehorn called candlestick I felt my heart sink. Not only could I not do shoehorn; candlestick was a move that I'd watched my girls recently master. Girls who have been doing trapeze for two years.

I put my hands on the bar and tried the proper way. No dice. So I did the "easier" method of grabbing the ropes. I gto on the bar, and got my foot on the rope (Holy rope burn batman!) and there I was spinning in a lazy circle, upside down with my hands off the bar. Let me make this clear: I WAS ONLY HANGING ONTO THAT BAR WITH MY FOOT AND MY KNEE. It was uneffing real. I couldn't believe I was doing this, and I couldn't believe how easily I was doing this.

The whole night went like this. I struggled with a few moves but also really pushed passed some of the restrictions I placed on myself. We learned a move called angel which required me to thread my top leg between my stomach and the bar. I tried once, and felt like my leg got caught.  I took a deep breath and said "I think this is another one where my weight is going to hurt me." But Ashley showed me that I was starting in the wrong position (let's just say my body must really like candlestick). I took a deep breath, hopped on the bar, got down horizontally, and threaded my leg.

Perhaps even more amazing was that I hung on that bar for a good number of minutes while Ashley tried to figure out if I could get from there to there. Seriously I hung there, and TALKED to her. I wouldn't have been able to do this back in January. I am stronger but the problem has been that I've limited myself because of what I believed about my body. Even though I'd been learning to love it again, I forgot that even in love one has to examine one's stereotypes and preconceived notions. I believed I wasn't strong, and I am convinced that this belief held me back.

Tomorrow, I'm going to my first open studio (Two days of trapeze in one week! What a treat!). I am determined to do a hip pullover because I am certain I can do it. I know I'm strong enough, and I know what my body feels like in that space. And you know if I don't do it that's okay too. It's going to come.

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