Friday, February 05, 2016

Fat Girl On A Bar: Defining Success and Trusting the Body (or Not)

Last week, I hated Thursday. Carrying around fear and anxiety all day sucks. But yesterday I felt at peace. I knew what I couldn't do and I made peace with it. I prepared my body as much as I could during the week including playing around on monkey bars, shoulder weight work, stretching, and the evil elliptical (it's a different kind then the one I'm used to and it works my body aerobically like nothing else). I've been eating better, less binging and more veggies without totally depriving myself. I spent a lot of time thinking about emotional baggage that came up from last class as well.

I walked again and this time without that dread hanging out over my shoulders. Although I shouldn't have listened to Serial on my way because dark with murder story equals super creepy.

We launched right into moves this time, and I admit to feeling a lot of relief that we wouldn't be spending a big chunk of class trying to get up on the bar. I tried to get up a couple of times but my hands kept slipping and finally I just did the hop on the bar. I did make an advance in that I could do the hop without holding onto the bar just the rope. My next goal is to hop on with both legs instead of one at a time. While others practiced getting up, I practiced sitting star. I figured since I was already on I was not getting down.
Piper doing sitting star back when she first started almost three years ago!

Once up Jo announced we'd learn tree frog, and I felt that pit open inside me. I was finally on the damn bar, and I wasn't convinced I could hold on for the pose or that I could pull myself up if I even managed to hang on. But I quickly pushed those thoughts away and latched onto my new mantra "Fail once fail again better."

Okay so the tree frog involves handing from the bar by your knees while holding onto the bar with your hands on either side of your knees. You let one leg go and curl it out with your neck extend. It's a pretty move. Simple looking. Not so simple in execution.
Camille in the far back. Her class is doing tree frog here. They look much better than I did I suspect.

Slowly I lowered myself down, nervous because I had lost my grip already in trying to mount. Hanging on by my knees felt surprisingly wonderful. I liked spinning slowly upside down. This made me feel good enough to pull my leg out and bam I was doing the move. I was holding the robes this times not the bar, and when I was ready to pull back up I could do it. This shocked me. I've had a hard time pulling myself up on the robes even when I've been boosted. But this time I pulled right back up to sitting. Feeling confident, I went back to hanging from my knees, and then held onto the bar. I could do tree frog but I didn't feel confident to try to pull myself up so I just came to the floor. But I did tree frog. Twice! That little bit of success pushed me onward.

Once we had all done tree frog a few times, we moved onto learning Alpha and Omega. Alpha involves a one knee hang with your knee toward one end of the bar. You hold with the same side arm as leg. This one proved harder and I fell a couple of times. Grip spray proved my salvation with this one, and I nailed it once I could grip comfortably. It was a much harder move than tree frog and I could only hold on for a few seconds. Endurance is for sure my next step in mastering these moves.

Camille doing alpha during her first performance
Omega was like tree frog but we let go of a hand: the opposite side from the knee that hung on the bar. This was proved a bit easier than Alpha for me but I still only could hold it for a few seconds. Once we practiced this, Jo and Ashley showed us how to do seashell in both moves. This is simply put a gorgeous move. In both Alpha and Omega you grab your hanging foot with your free hand and curved around arching your back. I did it. Seriously. It was hard and it took all my strength but I did it.

What I learned from last night:

One, defining success by one thing is going to make you feel like failure. I have spent the last three classes defining my failure based on upon my inability to get on the bar. Seriously. That is the only thing I can't do in class. I have done all the "tricks," Some better than others and no doubt not with a whole lot of grace but I can do them. But I couldn't see that as success because I got into my head that getting on the bar was the thing. And even then I can get up. Yes it's only one way but hell I get up right?

Don't beat yourself up for the one thing you can't do. Look at what you're doing.

I realized last night that I am very strong in terms of my arms and legs. My abs are mush and this is what is killing me. As I get stronger in that area with all the prep working I'm doing, I know that at some point I will be able to get up there in other ways. I know this because I can do other things really well.

Two, I do not trust my body and this is a problem. We learned a move that everyone swore was the easiest way to get up. Basically you hold the bar with your arms behind you, lower your head and back until you feet lift off the ground and go over the bar. I can not do this because I don't dare to let myself fall. I am not confident that my legs will go up that my arms can hold my weight. It's a major mental block and I'm sure it's what's keeping me from getting on the bar (along with mushy abs). I don't know how to overcome this fear. And it makes me sad.

When I did lose faith in my own body? I suspect it happened a long time ago when I was young. I used to swing by my knees from tree branches and metal bars on the playground. I knew no fear and totally just knew I could swing up and pull myself to sitting. I don't have that anymore, and I feel serious terror at the idea of just letting go. I need to work on this obviously but I have no idea where to begin. But it's a move forward I think in just recognizing the block. When I talked to Ann last Saturday she asked me "What's the problem?" I couldn't answer her then. I had no idea. Now I do. I don't trust that my body is going to get me over that bar and I am scared of what will happen it fails. 

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