Monday, July 13, 2009


A while ago I shared with you some of my thoughts on loss of self, a lack of direction. I talked about how hard it can be to try and make some space for the individual within the role of mother that we're all playing. I talked about letting myself get to the bottom before realising that taking care of myself, along with everyone else, was a priority.
Since then I've joined a gym. I haven't been a gym member since we lived in London, way before children were even thought of. I have also joined a women's only gym which is not something I would have done before, not before I needed a good creche and school child friendly class times. This gym though, there was something about the all women environment that really struck me. Perhaps it's an age, or just a stage of life thing, but I found it really reassuring, but also kind of sad.
I did a pump class, for easing myself in. I was definitely the most chicken armed of the lot - I'm used to using 400g tins of chickpeas for weights so felt no pressure to lift 10kg each end! At the very front and very centre of the class was a woman. Tastefully bleached blonde hair, quite long, pulled back. Very nice figure, not an ounce of fat, very tight fitting outfit. I didn't see her turn around for a good 15 minutes and couldn't see her face in the mirror. About 15 minutes in she took off her windcheater and beneath it, in only a bra exercise top, was an old lady's body. Don't get me wrong, she was in great shape, but she was no longer a young woman. She then turned around and her skin, whilst lean, had the fine textured, thin, wrinkled look of older skin. She had an older woman's face, I'd say late 60's at least. It made me feel sad. It's not that she looked bad, it's just that age, there is no avoiding it. You can keep yourself fit, feeling good, but you age and you look aged, there are some things you can't hide and honestly, an almost 70 year old woman's body in just a bra top, no matter how well she looks after herself, is not something most of us want to see.

It made me realise again, for it's just something that I've forgotten for a while, but it made me remember that I am my own greatest asset. The love and care I pay myself, rewards itself to me and everyone else tenfold. Can you believe I'm excited about gym, about classes - I'm doing the 10:30 tomorrow, it's a Body Balance class. It describes it as "an essential class for absolutely everyone! Helps relaxation and harmony, improves your strength and posture, and relieves tension and stress". Honestly, how good does that sound!
If that's not enough, on Wednesday night I start my wheel pottery class, at night, me going out at night on my own, to do a class! I'm pretty excited about that too.
By the way, the photo at the top, that's me, when I was about 8 months old, still in England. When my mum would do the washing I'd steal the pegs and run/crawl away again and again. I couldn't find a single photo of myself I liked that was current, then I saw this I thought, it's me, almost 40 years ago before everything from everywhere and everyone started to soak in, this is just me.


Michelle said...

such a wonderful post - a gentle reminder that we need to love and look after ourselves. A gorgeous baby pic too, "before everything from everywhere and everyone started to soak in" - love it x

Jasmine said...

That line got me too. We are pure potential as babies aren't we? Before we do anything or become defined by our roles in life. I'm glad you've made a bit of space for yourself.

Lindsay said...

Body Balance is brilliant! I hate the gym, I just feel silly trying to use the machines and running indoors is so boring. But this is the only class I've ever attended religiously and I will even rearrange my life to do it. It's a mix of tai chi, pilates and yoga with really fab music. The routines change every 16 weeks so you don't get bored either. Have fun and hope you love it as much as I do.

Kiki said...

Geez you gave me a great laugh with the visuals I concocted of the 70yo in a bra! WOAH! How did you stop yourself from giggling, that's what I want to know?

I am interested to know what a Body Balance class is...similar to yoga or pilates or entirely different. Tell us more.

You sound very excited and I think you are in for a wonderful 2009. Lucky you!!

Kiki said...

Hmm, I've just read Lindsay's comment above mine re BB class...I'm intrigued.

Sandy said...

Congratulations, one giant step towards reclaiming YOU back. It's a tough road, isn't it? I am excited for you. I wish I didn't have to let my gym membership go, but our lives are in a changing state right now. It'll all happen! Uncle Rob and MJ made me a bridesmaid! Now I have to pump up the volume--Help me!!