My weight was as expected. Fat. Amazingly, this time it didn't send me into a spin, even though it's the heaviest I've ever been. I could quite easily have gone into self hate mode and ended up at Laines Bakery chonking cream cakes, but I didn't. A calm rational came over me, with a bit of self love chucked in, and a healthy dose of pragmatic thinking and I accepted it for what it was. I also made up a little mantra ' If you keep taking small gently steps in the direction of your dreams, you will never feel this shit again'. It helped.
Took myself off to Zumba Gold with another wobbly warrior. We met at 6 and we both had the look of the
truly terrified on our faces. My courage faltered. I don't think I can do this, I whispered to my friend. I don't know who pushed who up the corridor but before we knew it, we were in the room, along with three other women who, holy crap, were THIN. They looked fit already. Surely they were in the wrong class. This was the class for overweight, knackered old birds who needed seriously slow dance moves. My nerves kicked in and I became Dawn French's twin sister. My friend was Jennifer Saunders and I seriously felt myself getting out of control. The women were lovely, kind, compassionate and lovely. The teacher walked in and the class just got worse. Her look at me said it all. It didn't help that she was the most springy moving woman I had ever met. It made matters worse that she gave thin a whole new meaning and when she spoke, I felt sure she had elocution lessons from the Hitler Finishing School of Control and Charm.
There I was trying my hardest to remain upright, seconds from collapse, gasping for breath and trying to appear completely normal, as well as trying to make my feet, body and arms match her super springy latin american moves, when I hear the roar. "You must not dance in bare feet" Was that meant for me? Oh god, shame, it was. "You must wear something on ze feet next week" crackled out around the hall. Shit, next week? At this rate I was going to make the next day.....
From there on in, it all went down hill. I think I was just all too much for her. From my wobbling parts, to the pink flower headband, worn especially for courage, to the defiant look in my eye. She glazed past me every time to rest on my dear friend, who recovering from two major surgeries, had opted for a chair. ( I wish I had) Fantastic, very good, brilliant, she enthused to my lovely friend. Pan right, glaze past me again, good, great, vunderbar, to the thinnies on the right, they looked pityingly at me feeling my pain. This continued for the whole class. I wanted to cry. I was 8 years old again, out of favour with the teacher. The council house kid in the school for fee paying pupils. (My mum and dad bless them got me in by cleaning and building for the convent in return for my free place) Blimey, how deep does this stuff go?
I got through it. Being of a generous nature and trying to ingratiate myself with said teacher, I went to thank her for the class. My friend seemed to be bringing her round a bit, so I hung around on the edge. "Did you enjoy the class?" she said (her tone was definitely unkindly) I explained I had but was a bit peed off with myself that I had managed to get this unfit. "You can't expect to get fit in one class" fired back the reply, actually going up an octave. Ouch. My already battered and wounded little child just crumpled. I may be fat it doesn't mean I am stupid. I knew that. I just wanted a bit of encouragement. Oh bum I am a needy weakling who still wants the teachers approval....I legged it as best as a woman in need of oxygen could leg it right out of the class and gave vent in the corridor to all my inner child feelings. I swore, stomped and ranted much to the dismay of my dear friend, who let me sit in her car until my tantrum was over. I was astounded by how much I still had buried inside. I felt quite amazed by how quickly I had been transported back through time to a place where I had felt unsafe, scared and frightened.
What I also realised is how vulnerable big, overweight and large people feel. We put a good mask on it. I'm talking about 'The Look' one large woman gives another big woman. It speaks of that split second judgement about size, shape and confidence. ....Is she bigger than me, are her legs fatter than mine, does she feel more confident than me. We measure ourselves against similar shapes, our fragile self esteem searching for signs that will make us feel better or temporarily ok about our size. These would be the 'she has larger hips than me so I am OK' type of signals. Even when we are vivacious, funny, outwardly extrovert, there is often a scared, nervous, vulnerable creature inside, not wanting to be seen.
We put on our capable confident masks of the adult we have become but retain the younger childlike insecurities, that are always threatening to make their way to the surface. Is it any wonder that we stuff these feeling down to keep them buried, hidden and away from prying eyes that could pass judgement on them without compassion. Without helpful empathy and support to help us examine these uncomfortable feelings that keep us prisoners in our castle of fat. Of course, I've know all this a long time. Knowing and letting it out are two different things. Sometimes the stuff we need to look at is forced out ~ so we have to examine that what we have been avoiding. So I guess it was my time to look at my stuff...again. Not just look at it this time, but actually see what still serves me, see what I can bravely let go of. Look at those labels that we get given as children and being to prise them off. And that's what I've been doing this week. Gently, kindly, in a small way. Using the tools I use to teach I have been giving myself my own lessons to work through.
I don't expect everyone to understand my thoughts on this weeks events. It can be intricate living as a fat person. It's very easy to say the mantra Eat Less Exercise More...it's true but it's black and white. What that reasoning forgets is the huge grey area in the middle which are the emotions, the stuff our brains have logged over the years, the triggers that send us into spirals, the stuff we sometimes are not even aware of. It's on a sub-concious level, super-fast thoughts, feelings actions. I've done so much work with this stuff and still forget to remember.
So will I return? Yes. Will I go easy on myself? Yes. Will I remember to nurture that little girl inside who still needs some unconditional love and guidance? Yes....and will I continue to move quietly, softly and gently in the direction of my dreams? Of course I will, life is rich, it asks us to be brave, take heart and keep going. I intend to take a slice of my own (low fat!) pie and do what I have to do. Safe in the knowledge that I am loved, I am good enough and I have good people around me...urging me on, willing me to do well, encouraging me and holding me safe because they love me. Angels included. I am restoring my already wonderful self. I am recovering my secretly buried dreams and I am renewing all that is good in my world. What will you do this week to restore and renew?