from age 6 to 18 i was an athlete. swimming, softball, volleyball...anything that didn’t involve too much running. (mad respect to all ya’ll runners out there!)
then, i became an artist and activist, and in my strong-willed angry-at-the-world early 20’s mind, there was no way to be ALL those things at once. so i stopped working out. granted, i did yoga and even taught my hips -- that were far more accustomed to squatting as a catcher than to swaying and turning -- to do a few dance moves (mad love to my very first, very patient salsa partner), but there was no weight lifting or sports, and I wasn’t enough of a yogi to benefit from that as a strength training practice.
when my spiritual soulmate and partner in a powerful intuitive movement practice passed away after an epic and beautiful journey with cancer two years ago, I stopped moving all together. the few movement practices I did have died with her.
at the beginning of this year i REALLY was feeling the impact of my stillness and decided to do what millions do in January -- I joined a gym. And then I didn’t go for three months.
Now, however, as I’ve decided that I MUST regain strength and pride in my body, I AM GOING.
And i CRY almost every time.
WHY? Well, I’m learning...
Today, it was partially brought on by being likely the youngest in the “Boot Camp” class AND the one who was -- and from my humble perspective -- the slowest and struggling the most with each set of 10 of WHATEVER the set of 10 was. It was deeply DEEPLY humbling for the part of me that still identifies as an athlete (now that I’ve realized I CAN indeed be all three -- an artist, activist, AND an athlete.)
But the tears didn’t just come from my wounded ego.
My body has held so much inside -- stored it in my sore hips and tight jaw and compressed lower back. It’s held grief and anger from the loss two years ago, AND it’s the held grief and anger I feel in response to the state of the world...AND WHO KNOWS WHAT’S UP IN THERE from unattended childhood emotions and ancestral-intergenerational-DNA trauma!!! (There’s more and more evidence that we DO inherit the wounds from the past, ya know. It’s deep.)
SO I’m reminding myself that IT’S OK TO CRY and giving myself permission to break down when i get in my car to go home. I’ve even shed a tear or two IN the class, and I’ve trusted myself to not care what the others might think about it. I’m reminding myself to FLIP MY CRITICISMS to AFFIRMATIONS when I’m in class and barely making it through push up number two or one minute of planking. Instead of “i’m so weak” i’m celebrating “wow, Sen, it’s amazing you came to this hard class today!” Instead of “my hip hurts so much” it’s “dang, i’m so grateful my hip is telling me to slow down and pay attention to my body more.”
It’s a journey to a stronger body, and, like Steph Curry says on that brilliant commercial that plays 10 times during each playoff game, I’m learning that most of what I’m battling at the gym IS MY MIND. And i’ve made up my mind to love myself up through this journey instead of beating myself down
So today I’m turning the label of “CRY BABY” into the invitation, “CRY, BABY”...cuz keepin’ whatever’s up in there IN ain’t servin’ this body any more!