On my journey to become fitter and healthier that I started at the end of January this year, I have experimented with a few methods. My diet has been up and down – portion size is better, sugary drinks have gone, trying to eat more fruit and veg, but when I’m at a low point I tend to binge on takeaways and sweet things, as well as pretty much living in bed and on the sofa. When not totally sedentary, I would walk and go to the gym – I tried running, but I didn’t find it fun or rewarding. Just hard and painful.
I spent two months working at the gym, and there was a small amount of progress but I felt I was doing the same thing over and over for not much back. I finally bit the bullet and cancelled my membership and booked myself into a local pole fitness class thanks to the previous experience of my friend Natalee (check out her blog by the way, it’s fantastic!) and the rise in popularity of the sport. I just wanted to find something I could enjoy and get some benefit from.
So, yesterday was my first ever session courtesy of Danse Vivante – I walked into a room full of spinning, twirling, upside-down women. “This was a bad idea,” I said under my breath. The teacher Emma was so chilled out, she told me to get changed and go to the end pole with my fellow beginners when I was ready. I’ll admit, I didn’t introduce myself or ask for anyone else’s names because I was so bloody anxious – so, thanks to that, I was just referred to as ‘newbie’ for the whole session. Emma showed me my first move, simply jumping onto the pole and gripping with my legs. My first jump involved sliding off the pole, to which a lovely woman beside me told me without blinking to roll my shorts up so I can grip better. I once again looked around me to the slim, toned women around me, but thought ‘Fuck it.’ Rolled up my shorts and tried again. And again. And again. Let the other women do their thing – and their thing they did, I was in awe – before Emma taught me a few more moves. Swinging round the pole forwards and backwards, climbing the pole, then ending with a different version of my first jump.
At first, no-one really talked to me. But as the session went on, I started getting more and more tips from the women around me. “Grip as tight as you can with your leg!” “Don’t focus on the leg off the floor, just lean backwards.” “If you focus on gripping with your hands, the rest will fall into place.” One of them told me she’d been going to the classes for 13 weeks and she still couldn’t climb the pole, while two others said that there were moves that one could do that other couldn’t, and vice versa. The lady that told me to roll up my shorts made everything look so effortless and easy, she was so graceful. A couple of women on the other poles took some nasty falls, but they just got back up and carried on.
Towards the end of the class, I managed to jump and grip the pole, I got off the floor! Granted, I was only off the ground by about a foot, but I was off the ground! And I was half swinging round too. At the end of the session, I felt utterly defeated – logically, everyone starts a new skill at the same level. No-one just picks something up and is immediately amazing at it, I know that in my brain, but my BPD is a vile, bullying voice in the back of my head.
“Look at you, you fat, lumpy mess. Can’t even jump on a pole. All the woman around you are graceful, beautiful and feminine and you are an ugly, scarred mess. It’s just like PE in school all over again, poor sad fat Claire who couldn’t climb a rope, run a mile or play football. What’s the point? You’ll fail this like you fail at everything else in your life.”
That is my life. That one constant line of thought in my head. It’s exhausting. Last night I felt like I never wanted to go back. Today? I feel sore, I can’t lift my arms and I’ve got some wicked bruising and chafing going on inbetween my thighs – but I feel accomplished somehow. I tried something new, and not everyone is amazing when they start. I just need to come out of my shell and working at it. Working on my flexibility and strength between classes so I can try harder next time.
If Markiplier and the Game Grumps can give it a go, surely I can too! …even if they are better than me from their first go…
Maybe I’ll actually be brave enough to tell them my name next time.
In other news, today is an exciting day for me and the Other Half. Our wedding invites came in the post this morning! Finally, we can start sending them out – something I’ve been waiting to do for a while. It feels like our wedding is becoming more of a real thing with each day that passes – five months and counting.
Also, we recently claimed on Lady’s pet insurance for the scare she had the other month. We’re lucky to be with an amazing company who have no problem with our dog’s old age, which gives us such peace of mind. It all went through fine – even if the initial email I got from them mistook my medium-sized dog for a horse…