Is that you try on all different kind of shoes. One day, you wear the type of shoes that say "I am a runner!", for example. And then you ARE a runner. Or you wear the shoes that say, "I am a boxer!" and you earn your black belt and you ARE a boxer.
Well, not exactly, because the five years I took boxing class were all barefoot. But you get the idea.
Sometimes, those shoes fit well. And other times, they don't. And what fits well in the beginning might change as you change. For example - I loved boxing. HATE hitting people and being hit, but loved pad rounds and bag work. Ergo - boxing is not for me. I like the concept of running. My body does not, as is evidenced by the fact that whenever I run, I injure myself. So, I am not a runner.
As an adult, I've tried, especially in the past 6 years, many types of exercise - Jazzercize, Zumba, running, walking, boxing class, Crossfit. I've joined gyms, taken swimming and group exercise - tried all kinds of things. To me, much of being an adult is trying on different things.Things that you might have wanted to do when you were younger and not had the ability/money/opportunity. Or maybe they were things that you did have the opportunity to do when you were younger, but growing up took you away from those things. After all, when you are worried about paying the mortgage, did I defrost the chicken for dinner? and taking care of other people (be they older or younger) -
Well, sometimes you get lost in the shuffle.
I'm not saying that's good, I'm not saying that's bad, I'm just saying that it's often reality. I tend to think of myself as a pretty selfish person. I try to always remember that I have wants and needs and desires, and see to them in some way or another. Lately, that has not been happening. There are a couple of situations in my life pulling me in multiple directions. At the end of the day, if I am still breathing - well, then, that's all I can ask for.
When I got up today, I knew it was the day for ballet class. I got dressed, got in the car, and as I drove, my stomach tightened. Yes, I've been through this before, and I still think it's totally ridiculous that I was nervous. I mean, I was really pretty irritated with myself for being nervous. But the reality was – I was nervous.
So nervous I didn't talk to anyone while I was waiting for the class to begin. If you know me, you know, that's nervous. I talk *an awful lot*.
The class began, and I was so worried about myself that I was completely tensed up. My shoulders were up in my ears, my knees hyperextended into my thighs. More than once, I think I forgot to breathe. I tried to avoid looking in the mirror - a joke, when the entire room is wall to wall mirrors - and just feel what I was doing. Tried to remember what it felt like, and get back to that place - minus the competition that always occurs in high level ballet classes.
But I did it. I took the entire class, made a ton of mistakes, was dissatisfied with the way I looked in tights and a leotard (ugh, cellulite is super noticeable in flesh colored lycra!), but I did it. Any time the teacher offered an additional challenge - well, I didn't always take them the way I do in Crossfit class, but I took at least two, and that's about all I could ask for today. I was petrified that I would've forgotten stuff. Mostly, names of steps and how to execute them, but that was not the issue. I was concerned that I would forget body placement, but that was not the issue either.
The issue was just getting out of my own head.
Sure, I don't have the posture that I once had. After all, there's a lot more of me to put in that correct body position then there was when I danced 20 years ago. I wasn't the best in the class – not that I thought I would ever be. But I wasn't the worst in the class either, and in fact, I don't even remember looking at anyone else. But I don't know if anyone else was even looking at me. Jumping was not as easy as it used to be. I wasn't as quiet when I landed as I used to be, LOL.
For one hour and thirty minutes, I didn't think of people needing to gain weight. I didn't think of sick older people. I didn't think of people dying. I didn't think of the bills I still need to pay, the small amount in my checking account, the house work, work work, or emails to send or answer. I didn't think of people who refuse to take their medication or do what they are supposed to do. I didn't think of people who need therapy appointments, doctor appointments, weight checks, medication refills. I didn't think of "will I sell my Jeep?" I didn't think of this person's fight with this person, or what I needed to make for dinner, or how I was going to accomplish everything on my list. I didn't make a mental grocery list, a meal plan or count calorie possibilities in a side dish. I didn't think of how sad I am that my best local friend moved to another country. I didn't think of people who are traveling, people who aren't speaking to me, the speech I have to give next month, or the classes that I still need to cement for next school year.
I thought about body placement. I thought about weight distribution. I thought about opening my chest space, supporting my sternum, relaxing my neck, not hyper extending my knees, and for the love of God, plie-ing more.
Most people think of this when they think of ballet:
Pretty, slightly out of focus, graceful.
Fewer people still think of this when they think of ballet:
For me, I think of this:
Worn-out shoes, probably with a hole in the toe, dirty. But, oh so comfortable, and oh so familiar.
Now just to figure out how to get out of my own head, stop comparing the me of 20 years ago to the me of today, and just do it. And wearing the shoes that are most comfortable to me and being at peace in them.