I uttered those words to myself during a yoga class last night as instructed. I must spend a lot of time apologizing for the space I take up because I choked up every time I freed the sentence from my mouth. I must have been apologizing internally while shifting on the couch or the bed or scooting past someone on a trail or a sidewalk without even realizing it. Or every time I said or wrote or posted something that had the possibility of upsetting or making another feel discomfort. I like to think of myself as someone who wasn’t apologizing or shrinking but I am not that good of a liar.
And I shouldn’t be.
I don’t want to get good at lying or suppressing the truth to myself. It all begins with me. It all begins with how I choose to talk to myself.
How I choose to take up space.
In class last night, we spread our arms wide. I moved my outstretched arms and open palms left to right in my darkened guest room. I forgot about all the other people in virtual community with me on the screen and felt the wind from my back and forth motions.
I set my intention to be free for 45 minutes.
Even when my arms trembled from strain. Even when my breasts and belly blocked my view of the screen. Even when grace did not find me.
Someone asked me if I was working out, as a means of self-care.
I immediately started to talk about a work out regimen or whether or not I was making it to the gym.
After I finished, I was told I was asked about working out not as a means to lose weight but as a means of survival.
I have never thought of it that way before. I have never thought of anything I do as a way “to survive.”
Because there has been periods in my life (especially within the last year) where stress moved in to our guest bedroom and snuggled up in the sheets, maybe I will look at moving this vessel of mine and transferring these thoughts onto the page as a means of survival.
Maybe this is my way of using a machete to hack away at the brush in the wilderness. A way to be my own hero.
The last few weeks I have been absent from my workouts. It started off because of intense pain in my ankles and I slowed down because I knew continuing to push would only make things worse down the road. I was limping around the house and that’s never good.
But I have been feeling better and there has been no visits to the gym, dance class, videos or walks outside.
I am not sure why after being active for so many months that it has come to a stop. I feel static. I can almost hear myself make an excuse as to why I won’t workout tomorrow.
Tonight I was at writing group. We discussed if we fear what would happen if we make it in the literary world. I have to ask myself the same question in regards to my wellness journey.
Is there anything I fear about being on the other side of this struggle? Will writing about it now help me cross back over to where I was only 3 weeks ago?
I’m betting it will. If things are really going to be different this time, then I have to call myself out and pull myself out of the hole I sunk myself into that makes me feel stuck and scared.
I am hoping to look back on these past few weeks as a minor setback a year from now.
I can’t let it determine who I will be a year fron now.
I sat in my car after Afro-Caribbean dance class and recorded a quick video about how I felt. I was tired, flushed and revealing a bit too much nostril but that was alright. More than alright. It was real. I was grateful to be engaged in an activity that was just for me. It has nothing to do with furthering my career, no one was making me do it and I hadn’t enlisted any of my friends to come with me.
It’s not that I wouldn’t welcome company because I would. Sometimes, I think we all need to give ourselves permission to try new things without any expectations or opinions from others.
Go it alone.
And that’s what I’ve been doing. This is a need I’ve had for some time. I wrote a piece about it a few months ago. If you would like to read more about it, here is the link: Epiphany
When I had this epiphany a few months ago, I started crying. That’s how much I missed taking dance classes, moving this brown mass of a body rhythmically around a room, in a line, smiling, sweaty, even shy and nervous with others. Collapsing in the car this morning, I recognized I had made it happen. I made the choice to put away my silly fears about being too big, fretting about the psoriasis scars up and down my arms and moved from stillness into action.
Since I wrote about it and I promised I would do it and I talked about it out loud where other people outside of myself could hear it, I went. I don’t mean to sound reluctant. It was just fear..fear of not being in good enough shape, not catching on fast enough, not being able to keep up.
So like I said, I went. I attended my first Afro-Caribbean dance class just as I declared I would in my last post. And it was exhilarating! I probably looked like a scared toddler creeping up to the door but there was no reason to fear. The instructor was kind, immediately asked if it was my first time and welcomed me with open arms.
For an hour, we danced and I felt that good sweat! If you have ever been so engaged in an activity, you don’t even realize you are drenched until it’s time to take a break, then you know of what I speak. I missed letting my body speak the words that have been muted for so long. I loved seeing my joyful, vibrant, moving reflection in the studio mirrors. I didn’t even think about my psoriasis scars on my arms, not even once.
There was comfort being in a group of people of all sizes, shapes, colors, ages and skill level smiling and popping their bodies and bare feet to the beat. We danced in lines, mimicking our instructor’s movements and enjoyed the eclectic variety of music played. I was on a high doing African-inspired movements to the classic “Mama Said Knock You Out” by LL Cool J.
I guess there is no need to ask if I am coming back.
There will be no languishing in the dark, underneath the covers this Saturday.