Do you remember your gym class in High School?
There's probably people who fall in the middle ground, but you may have:
LOVED it- felt so graceful and strong. "I never understood the girls who just refused to move!"
HATED it- you would have done anything to avoid class. "I just felt so awkward! Everyone was always looking at me!"
Has that experience coloured your attitude towards exercise as an adult?
Last weekend I went to visit friends in Huntsville and someone described my swimming as "graceful" when I got out of the lake. I did a double take (internally) as I have never, ever, in my life, considered myself graceful. I'm awkward. I'm an awkward girl with a large body and limbs that were uncoordinated for a long time. My high school gym class was absolute torture. I couldn't catch, I couldn't throw, I couldn't run, I couldn't jump. After that, I became an adult- and still felt like I couldn't move gracefully. Sure, I have learned to exercise, in my own way, and I now enjoy moving my body- especially after having done Pilates for so long. But graceful? Really?
Now I am questioning the very idea of "graceful". Is it something you feel inside? Is it something that others can see but you can't? Is is possible that my high school beliefs are still here inside with me? I'm thinking yes.
Pilates has helped me to gain control of my awkward limbs. I definitely practice a flowing movement in certain exercises. I feel strong, coordinated, and, well, graceful sometimes. Perhaps it's time to change my mindset and stop believing I am stuck as my teenage self. Perhaps practice a little compassion for that girl. That one who was afraid to try and make a mistake. Who was worried boys would be looking at my breasts while I jumped around on the volleyball court. Who felt so out of place every day and just wanted to hide. That part of my life is over, and I'm learning new ways to be.
If I had never felt that way, then I may not have ended up where I am today. And I'm pretty happy to be where I am. I'm so blessed to be able to learn new ways to take care of my body, and have the time to practice. And I even get to do that with other people! How awesome is that?
Do you feel graceful? Are you stuck with your teenage attitudes too? Please feel free to share your thoughts in the comments.
Diane Archer, Pilates Instructor from the UK now living back in Canada. Blog of tips, thoughts, home challenges.