I’ve written 3 other blogs trying to avoid this one. Because to be honest, it makes me feel silly. It also makes me feel sad. It makes me feel angry. It makes me feel ridiculous. It makes me feel ashamed. It makes me feel old and it makes me feel fat. All things I DON’T want to feel at this weird time in our world that already has it’s own list of feelings. But because this weird time in our world is also making me think and introspect even more than usual, and I’m already that guy, here I am this morning with this deep seated knowing that I need to get this out of me and into the world because there’s a lot of us feeling what I’m feeling.
Two weeks ago, I saw a Facebook event for The b.class. (Go check them out) The b.class is a dance based fitness class that brings so many delicious elements into it. The description from their Facebook page reads like this:
Heal, ignite and set free the heart, mind, and soul with music and movement. This empowering class will leave you feeling supercharged and on fire as well as grounded and clear. Experience movements that will balance the masculine and feminine energies with music that will allow a shift of the conscious and subconscious mind. Walk away feeling strong and empowered to live your most authentic life.The b.class
I’ve had my eye on trying b.class (formerly BOOTY) for sometime now. The beautiful daughters of my dear friend Cathy, who passed three years ago, are instructors and I can feel this energy through them when they’ve spoken about the class. And its dance and music both of which I love so much.
The first week I did the class I could only get through half of it. FACK!!! So much jumping. So much squatting. The old personal trainer voice inside of me was trying to keep up. “You got this! Don’t stop!” even though it’s clear from the beginning that you’re to modify and do what you can and most of all have a good time. All the jumping made me have to pee (you get me right?) in spite of all of the pelvic floor conditioning I’ve been doing. My quads were on fire and the old days of exercise induced hemorrhoids sent a fiery pierce through my butt and I stopped.
Aside from the physical challenge of the workout, I need to address the warm up. The song Thoughts On Fire by Ria Mae made tears well up behind my eyes and sting. And fall. The music that continued, at least through the half of the class that I managed to complete, had a similar effect. I was emotional.
I fully understand the connection between physically moving the body and how that also moves emotion through the body. It’s one of the reasons I decided to become a life coach in conjunction with my personal training background. I learned that when people moved their bodies they also started to move their mouths and those deep seeded thoughts, feelings and dreams made their way to the surface. In b.class, I was experiencing that very thing.
I signed up to get the notifications for the page, from the couch, as I watched the rest of the class. Not only was there was a little competition with myself to finish the next class but also to explore this deeper.
Last week, Thursday night at 6 pm Alberta time, I cleared away the furniture in the living room, swept up the pet hair (you do this in bare feet I didn’t want to feel that shit under me) and I switched the Facebook Live to Chromecast on the TV (does anyone else have trouble watching and following instruction from that itty, bitty screen?) Liam, my 16 year old came up and asked what I was doing.
“I’m just going to make a couple Tik Toks,” I said hiding my smirk.
“Oh hell no you’re not,” he exclaimed.
Tara Newbigging, creator/founder/CEO of b.class welcomed us and the class began. (this is quickly turning into an article and not a blog. Pour a cup of coffee and settle in)
Once again, my eyes got all wet and misty with the warm up. Not gonna lie, I kind of liked it. It seems that there’s a lot making my eyes leak these days but it feels good. It’s a release. It’s a softening. It’s ‘doing’ something when nothing else can be done. Then the music ramped up and the work began. The physical work was a challenge but even more difficult than that was the mental gymnastics that I began to perform as I moved my body.
“Holy fuck this is hard. Why can’t I stretch to that side. I don’t look like this younger woman. Oh my god she’s gorgeous and agile. God, I miss my younger body. Shit. I’ve gained weight. What is that roll there? I must look ridiculous! OMG I need to get serious about losing this weight. Oh my god, I’m going to pee myself. How is she doing that? I can’t get from here to there that fast. When did I become so uncoordinated? Was that a twinge in my knee? I can’t even do a single push up from my toes anymore? AHHHH! This never used to be a problem. I’m such a loser. I hope Ken and Liam aren’t watching me. I’m fat. I’m old. I’m worthless.”
Such an empowering diatribe. *eyeroll
Even those of us that are helping others in this arena aren’t immune to the asshole in our heads. Thankfully, I’ve done enough work and I’ve helped enough women through this kind of internal conversation that I could witness what was actually happening. Behind every one of those slams against Allison was also a much quieter voice behind them saying,
‘Witness this. Listen to what you’re saying to yourself. This is neither kind nor helpful. But it’s not you saying this’
The tears were really flowing by now but all mixed up with the sweat also flowing from my brow. And behind my ears. And behind my knees and also, what one of my spin students used to note, from my shins.
I could go on and tell you about the shit health I’ve had for the last couple of years and make it an excuse for whats going on in my body. But the truth is that I’ve been healing that and I’m probably the healthiest I’ve ever been. This is just one more layer of the proverbial onion that I have to heal. And I guarantee that I’m not alone.
Next week, I’m going to be 46 years old. I’ve never thought getting older would affect me. Always being quick to throw out the old, Having a birthday is a good thing. The alternative is not so sweet. And I do believe that. But our culture and society doesn’t look at aging and heavier bodies the same way.
I finished the class on the floor as per instruction. A Savasana pose with a guided reading. And I lay there longer, much longer in fact. I needed to have a little conference with the voice inside my head. I didn’t give it shit. I didn’t tell it not to think that way. I just kept saying thank you. Thank you to the practice that made those old belief systems rear their heads. Thank you to the music that moved them out of me. Thank you body for moving. Thank you to the tears that fell. Thank you to the release I felt. Thank you to Tara for creating the program. Thank you Allison for doing it and seeing it through even when you wanted to run away from what felt really, really fucking uncomfortable.
If you are grieving your younger, smaller body- I see you.
Reminder that it’s normal to feel these things in a culture that obsesses over young and thin.
But also, reminder that you, as you are now, are enough.Kristen Ackerman, RD AKA @theintuitive_rd
This showed up in my Instagram feed the next day. And I just scrolled through the comments now. Women in their 20’s feeling this. Women in their 60’s feeling this. Women who struggled with crippling anxiety and were really thin but now, on medication, have larger bodies and yet they’re somehow missing the smaller, albeit unwell, body and mind. Women all feeling the wisdom in these words and yet that voice that comes from our culture of thin=perfection speaking so loudly that the voice that says you are enough becomes nothing but a whisper.
The morning after the class, I got out my pen and my journal and I wrote a letter to those beliefs. Ladies, they aren’t going to go away. But learning to be a witness to them is what we need to do in order to at least quiet them down if not shut them the hell up.
The bright side of everyone feeling this is that if everyone talks about it we can at least shine the light on it. I’m having body image/body relationship/body love/body shaming/body acceptance/ body reconciliation conversations with clients and friends all the time so we’re witnessing it on a broad scale. We also need to start witnessing it on a smaller scale. An individual scale.
AH. That feels better. Having this conversation feels freeing. Even if it was a one way conversation. Let’s make it an open conversation. I’d love to hear your experiences. I’d love to hear what your voices say. I’d love to know if you’re a witness to them or if you’re still at the point that you believe them to be coming from your truth. If you find yourself there I’d be honored to help you to learn how to be witness instead if you’re ready.
In my opinion, we need to be even more aware of this right now. While we’re all home and are even more connected to media, we’re being bombarded with messages about working out and now you have time. And keep up your routines. And eat well for immunity. And move everyday. And while these are all accurate they also set the stage for louder internal messaging that can tear you down if you aren’t careful! If you’re not familiar with being a witness to your thoughts instead of believing you are your thoughts, then you may be conversing more than you should with the a-hole in your head.
Most of all remember this, even if it’s only for the next 24 hours, YOU ARE ENOUGH. And then remember again in 24 hours.