Saturday, January 09, 2016

Fat Girl On a Bar: First Class

Conveniently, I saw my therapist on Wednesday. After talking about the obvious things: my grandmother's death, my anxiety, my depression being better with meds, my worries about maybe having to move, I told her about the trapeze class.

Therapist: Ginger, that's wonderful. I'm so proud you signed up.
Me: Well, I'm kind of dreading it. Part of me is like "Oh cool trapeze! but the other part of me is like "Oh shit what have you DONE!? You fool!? You are so fat and incapable of doing the thing."
Therapist: You realize the second voice is saying things that are not true right?
Me: I don't know about that. I am fat. Really fat. And I'm going to be the fattest person in class. Wonder if everyone laughs at me? Wonder if I get stuck? OMG what if I get stuck? Wonder if I'm too BIG to be helped?"
Therapist gives me the look before saying "Why don't you try to go into this thinking it will be fun and good?"

I tried for the rest of the day. Okay I didn't really think positively. I just ignored that the class happened the next day. Not a hard thing to do with H gone to Austin for the next five days. I cleaned in anticipation of having the internet guy come and fix my internet. Moped around because I didn't have internet. Finished the most amazing fantasy book ever (N.K. Jemisin folks is the real deal check her out), and started another book (Fan Girl which I like but not as much as I liked Jemisin...funny I must be a fan girl). 

Thursday came though and right after awesome man brought me internet back, I had to go to the trapeze place. C and J had their private lessons. At some point, it got around to me coming for the class. I confessed to Ann that I was really scared and I wanted to back out but I couldn't because I had talked my friend into doing the class with me. She said "You're going to be great. You're going to love it. We had our teacher meeting yesterday and I told them "Ginger knows what she needs and she'll tell you."

Sure, I thought. What I need was to not have signed up for a trapeze class when  I weigh over 200 effing pounds. 

Shortly after the girls rocked through their private sessions, another instructor came in. Debbie. She's great. Loves pink and sparkles. She is one of teachers in R's class. She hugs me and hands me a thick envelope.

"Read it." She says sternly as I leave. "I know you'r scared. It's okay. I was scared too. You're going to nail some things and you're going to fail some things. Then you're going to get better."

When I read it, I found a collection of her favorite mantras done up on index cards with a lovely ribbon connecting them. I teared up. Hell these people believed in me. Why couldn't I believe in me?

On the way home, I told Camille about my fear. She launched into a story about a game she likes to play. At first, I thought she was trying to change the subject. Camille does have a habit of wandering off topic. And clearly the topic was her whiny ass mother. I wanted to change the topic. But she surprised me.  She loved the game but she sucked at it. 

"I just don't give a shit if I'm good or not. It's fun and I like it. I just keep trying."

Me: "Are you telling me to not give a shit if I mess up in trapeze?"

C: "Yeah pretty much. Just have fun."

Nothing like your twelve year old putting you into place. She's good like that. I spent the day running around. Piper had trapeze class. Piper and Camille had conditioning class. Lots of adulting things like dropping over due books off at library, dropping Redbox movies off, getting dinner for sundry beasties. And then I had to spin my tires for two hours. I chatted with absent H, and with my mom who persisted in the "This will be fun" mantra. 

I got ready with a bit of a lump in my stomach. What did I wear? I didn't want my shirt riding up over my head. But would we even hang upside down? Gah the thought terrified me. I was pretty sure I'd never get back on the bar if I hung upside down. I settled for leggings and a Tunabunny Tee I stole from H. 

"Any advice?" I asked the girls as I put on my sneakers.

R: It hurts when you fall on your butt.
P: Remember to work hard but to have fun too.
C: Don't give a shit.

Okay. I drive to Canopy my stomach in knots. When I walk through the doors, I am immediately enveloped in warmth and encouragement. The instructors who teach the intermediate class happening during our class are excited. Everyone believes I can do this. Everyone is excited that I'm doing this. No one thinks I can't because I'm fat. 

On the mat, it hits me that things will be okay. Yes I am the fattest person there but no one cares. We are all beginners. We are all a range of sizes. Some of us come with dance and gymnastics backgrounds but most of us do not. Right away there is a comfortable feel to the group. We all laugh fast and easily. We're all nervous but excited. We're all here to try something new. 

I'm hilarious out there. You'll just have to believe me because there is no photographic evidence. Thankfully. First we just sit on the bars which are super uncomfortable (my friend wins the prize for best water spitting comment "Who knew sitting on a wooden stick would so bad."). We spin and sway. I don't get dizzy. In fact, I like the feeling a lot. When I was a kid, I used to love spinning. I'd twist the chains on my swing and just let it go over and over. I'd twirl as a sense of clam swept over me. I realized as I swung lazily over the mat that things were going to be just fine. Perfect even. 

Next we practiced getting up on the bar. This involved very low bars and us lying on the mat. We hugged the bar with our knees and then had to pull up onto them using the ropes. Hilarity ensued. I could not do it. It was my worst fear. The thing that gave me nightmares for a week. But in the moment, it was funny. I could just imagine how I looked trying to haul all two hundred pounds of me onto that bar. But I did. I refused to give up and hauled my fat ass onto that bar. It hurt like hell, and it still hurts today but the sense of satisfaction I felt? Worth it. We tried a couple of "simple" tricks. Sitting lay back and sitting star. I liked the lay back and even moved my hands lower down the robe so I went further back. Sitting star was...well hard. I remembered watching R struggle with this move last year and from the sidelines it looked easy. Not so much in action. But I did it. Not well or gracefully but completed. 

We ended class with "big swings" which means we sit on the bar and get pushed. I knew I had the biggest goofiest grin on my face as I flew. Really flew. If I could do just that every day I would. Imagine being on a swing and magnify that feeling a hundred times. That's what it felt like to soar through the air. I even tried a sitting lay back as I swept up the room. That's when I knew. I was in love. I don't think I'd ever fallen in love with a bit of exercise. But oh my heart was stolen right then. I didn't care if I was what many would deem too big to do this thing. Hell if I had to work twice as hard as the thin girls? I'd do it. 

A wonderful combination of things came to play Thursday night. First, Canopy is serious about being body positive. They've talked to me about it. Read about it. And more importantly put it into play at their studio. I've seen it before in the way they work with kids. It was nice to see it in action with me.
Second, amazing instructors. Jo and Ashley didn't make me self conscious about my weight. They didn't act disgusted or bothered that they  might have to untangle my fat ass. At one point, Ashley helped me by holding my feet. No problem. I appreciated being treated like the other classmates. Third, a great group of fellow students. This is the one that is such a variable. But I really felt so comfy with the six other women. 

So this fat girl is in love. With flying. I doubt if anyone who knows is surprised. 


Molly said...

YAY! I am so jealous. it sounds like a ton of fun and this entire facility sounds wonderful.

Ginger Stickney said...

I wish you could take the class too :P And Canopy is amazing.