Even before I walked out on the unbearably dysfunctional atmosphere of the dance studio I basically grew up in, I’ve thumbed my nose up at exercise. I hate it. I’ve always hated it. Most everyone would disagree with me, but to me…dance isn’t exercise. Not in my effed up little head. To me, dance is fun. Exercise is something you do because you have to.
I am not an athlete. In spite of the emotional abuse I suffered from age 9 to age 19 at the hands of my dance teacher, I’m a dancer. I have always been a dancer. I’m not a runner or a bicyclist or even an aerobics queen. Some of you would argue that Zumba and its older cousins Jazzercise and whatever-the-fuck Jane Fonda used to do are dance, but they’re not. Not to me. They are all exercise.
Side note: I won’t debate the Zumba-is-dance argument here, as my thought process is admittedly based on artsy fartsy feelings and nothing to do with fact…so if you’re a Zumba fan, calm your asses down. I’m not trying to knock your beloved Zumba at all. If Zumba or aerobic dance makes you happy and you call it dance, then that’s all that matters. Get down and funky with my blessings!
Now back to that stupid exercise thing…
I don’t know if they still pull this shit on kids in elementary school, but back in my day we had the President’s Council on Physical Fitness. It probably sounds like a good idea, but it was basically a fancy way of legally harassing lazy kids into doing pull ups. And by lazy I don’t mean fat and lethargic…I mean lazy as in I’d rather ride my bike or rollerskate around the neighborhood with my girlfriends before I go take 3 hours of dance class. I wasn’t a fat kid, and I wasn’t out of shape. Put pull ups? I’d rather have listened to Englebert Humperdinck records with my Mom back in the day…and believe me, I hate Mr Humpy.
I was an active kid, I just wasn’t one for hanging by my own body weight from those big stupid metal hoops on the playground that always ended up smashing your fingers. Nor was I out on the playground saying shit to my friends like “Hey, let’s blow off hopskotch and do some crunches!” That kind of thing made no sense to me, but every damn year our teachers pulled us out onto the playground with clipboards in hand and made us do a series of ridiculous shit in front of each other…including pull ups and sit ups and other crap I just couldn’t do.
I hated those clipboards. I hated being judged up against girls who loved to climb trees and had muscles in their arms. If a teacher had lined everyone up and said “Okay, I want each of you to come through here doing a traveling time step, 4 sets of wings and end in the jump splits,” I would have kicked everyone’s asses. Everyone’s. I would have been the queen of the playground!!! But no, apparently the President wasn’t impressed with my Gene Kelly-esque technique.
To this day, I’ll never understand why they felt the need to rank us on how far we could long jump. When in the hell was that ever going to come in handy? All it ever taught me was how right I was to detest exercise. To me, it was stupid. So I sat there in the school assembly after the whole mortifying process was over and every kid I already felt was better than me at everything stood up and got a certificate and a patch that they were amazeballs at pull ups and long jumps…and I felt like a failure.
Let’s fast forward to after high school when I quit dance because I was so emotionally beaten down by the tyrannical dance teacher there was no more joy in it for me. And I loved the idea of curling up with books instead of sweating my ass off every day and sewing up snags in my tights. So I didn’t just quit dancing, I pretty much quit moving. And that’s where the big problem started.
If you’ve read my blog for any length of time, you know this was the beginning of the path that led to me gaining over 200 pounds. Now I’ve lost 116 of that and I’m stuck because…surprise…I hate exercise. Well…shit.
Looking back on all of this, though, I definitely see the fucked up-ness of it all. I was raised to see exercise as a laborious task that made me feel less-than. Dance was the only physical activity that was fun to me, but even that was robbed of its joy because of the biggest asshole in the universe. Everything remotely connected to moving more made me just want to get away from it as fast as possible.
I’ve tried to get myself going here and there, but I haven’t been successful at the one thing I need: consistency. One of the things losing 116 pounds has given me, though, is the self-confidence to look myself in the face and know that I am good enough just as I am. Gone are the days of anyone, including myself, making me feel less-than because I can’t jog or do 100 crunches. I don’t feel guilty about the fact that the very idea of taking a Zumba class makes me stabby…I just stay away from Zumba class. For everyone’s sake.
I know this sounds horrible and I’m most likely outting myself as a very bad person, but it’s the happy shrieking and whooping in particular that I hate about any exercise class. The class instructor yelling her loud motivating “Let’s go, ladies! Let’s mooooooove!” and everyone responding with “Yeah! WOOHOOOOO!”
I know women who get all revved up at that, but it makes me want to punch them all in the vagina. Sorry. Don’t worry, I’ve never acted out. 🙂
So I’ve searched for exercisey things that are fun to do while I’ve become an expert at maintaining a 116 pound weight loss. As it turns out, for me, that’s kind of easy. I rock at maintaining my current level of weight loss. It’s just not enough for me. I want to keep going.
I still have my beloved bike that HMH gave me last year, which I love…but bike riding in cold weather isn’t going to happen. It’s spring now, so I have a few weeks of lovely bike riding in my future – but summer is coming. And yes, I say that with as much dread as they say “Winter is coming” in Game of Thrones. If you’ve ever been to Texas, you know what I mean. Our summers are assholes. Seriously.
I’m lucky in that we have tunnels built underneath our huge campus at work…and I can walk in air conditioned comfort. There’s something down there, though, that I’m allergic to. There’s a lot of dust and crap from the A/C ducts. Some mornings it’s not bad, other mornings I’m in tears after walking my two laps.
I’ve also been prone to painful foot injuries since I was 13 years old and I have to be really careful when it comes to the impact on my tootsies. I can’t walk fast enough to get cardio. If I walk fast enough for cardio, I get stress fractures. If I walk slow enough to get my 10,000 steps a day, I achieve that goal…but I miss cardio. Up your ass, exercise. You’re such a pain in the ass.
So where does this leave me? The story isn’t over, but for now we’ll leave it here – and we’ll pick up tomorrow with a Fitbit, another Fitbit and an amazing website that has started to put some fun into that nasty word “exercise”.