One of the things that I’ve come to value the most about this journey that I’m on, is the discipline I’ve developed around pulling out learning from situations that happen around me. I’ve never been very good at seeing what’s happening right under my own nose – people I hang around with have been known to go on holiday, then come back and fill me in on what’s been going on whilst they were away. I get very absorbed in my own carry-on, maybe a little too much sometimes, you know? I’m fascinated by people, but only when I remember to look.
It’s two weeks now since I first stepped foot into the Kingdom of Pain, and apart from all the hurting, some good things have happened. I’ve got to admit, I rocked up with huge trepidation last night, for two reasons. Firstly I’d booked myself into a session at 6.30am, but written it down in my calendar as 6.30pm. At 6.30am I was still tucked up in bed snoring my head off…whoops.
God of Pain texted me enquiring as to my whereabouts…oh shit. Hello bad-books, here I am… rumour has it that bad things happen to folk who don’t show up. I apologised of course, and immediately re-booked myself onto the actual evening session, but when I realised it was the same class I’d done on my very first visit, my heart sank even further. Yes, it was that one…the one that nearly killed me. I hadn’t repeated it since that first time, so I had two reasons to be scared as I pulled my lycra pants on last night.
Closely followed, it has to be said, by two reasons to be relieved. First of all, I wasn’t flogged, or bawled out, I didn’t even get the stare. Perhaps he’s more forgiving, when it’s the first time..? There won’t be a second, I’ll make sure of that. And you know what else I worried about for nothing? Last night, I kept up.
Two weeks ago, all the getting down and getting up again left me wrung out ’till I couldn’t get my breath. My knees barely survived the experience and some of the exercises were beyond me. Now don’t get me wrong, by the time we’d finished last night I was wringing wet through and tired, but I did it. I did it all. It wasn’t fast and it wasn’t elegant and I still have a hall pass on assorted body parts being allowed to touch the floor where other folk have to keep theirs suspended in mid-air, but in my own little corner, I kept up.
I am genuinely astonished at how far I’ve come in the last two weeks. I could never have imagined that my body would respond in the way that it has. But do you know what I’ve learned, in the course of pushing myself? I don’t need to be scared of things hurting a little bit, in the moment. People who are really really fit hurt too. Who knew? My muscles don’t scream when I push them because I’m fat…my muscles scream because that’s what muscles do when you make them work hard.
This particular lightbulb switched on for me a few days ago when I found myself doing my own wonky version of a plank next to one of the uber-fit skinny string beans. Towards the end of the minute, long after my arse had migrated north in a desperate attempt to end the agony, she remained firmly in her plank, even though her whole body was trembling like she had her own personal earthquake going directly underneath the yoga mat. She was hurting, just like I was, even though my plank was a bit on the pathetic and short-lived side in comparison to hers.
Somehow, I’d always imagined that demanding these things of my body hurt me far more than people who were fit. And that pissed me off. I felt aggrieved, like it wasn’t fair. I imagined that once you were skinny and fit, it was easy to stay that way because sore muscles would be a thing of the past…working out would be a doddle if you only had one arse inside your yoga pants, right?
That’s bollocks. I totally get it now…you work out, you hurt for a bit and then you reap the benefits afterwards when you feel more flexible, or stronger, or fitter. It doesn’t matter how fit you are, working out hurts, in the moment. It’s supposed to. It sort of means you’re doing it right.
It’s probably one of the biggest light-bulb moments of my journey so far. The second I realised that actually everybody hurts, I stopped feeling like nobody understood how hard it was for me because I’m fat. For the very first time ever I totally embraced the fact that I’m just one of them. Hurting right alongside them in pursuit of the life I want to live. Just like they are.
It’s a fucking revelation 🙂