Monday, October 18, 2010

A Moving Kind of Girl

I think of myself as a "moving kind of girl," to quote Lois, a woman I interviewed for Run Like a Girl (which, by the way, is moving along nicely toward its pub date of March 2011--yippee). To that end, as you know, I've been exploring new "moving" possibilities, some alternative ways to stir the blood around and, hopefully, get a little stronger for my first loves (and yes, I do mean that to be plural--I am not a monogamous athlete)--running, cycling, xc skiing and more.

This line of "research" has led me to quite a few fitness classes, some of which you've heard about already. There's more--my research is becoming exhaustive, if not plain exhausting. Added to the list are: Zumba and Pole Dancing. Yes. I have just owned up to taking a pole dancing class.

So, research results are...

First, pole dancing. Not for me. I'm not saying it's not a workout--it certainly can be. There's no doubt that pursued diligently, it will lengthen and strengthen. But how strange it felt to be dedicating my workout to learning moves for the Bada-Bing Club, or whatever the strip club on the Sopranos was called. As I understand it, the workout should make me feel more sexy. Not in my case (though I will not speak for other women's experience on this topic). Quite the opposite in fact. I felt like I was training myself to be even more of an object than society already imposes on women.

What the workout did do was force me to ask myself what made me feel sexy? Running fast, check. Blowing off a group of guys on the bike, check. High heels, check. Rubbing my crotch again a pole, not so much. Good things to know.

Who we are is how we move--I need to move in the ways that define me, not the way men's fantasies define.

Next fitness class adventure was Zumba--a mish mash of latin dances, which are fitness-class-ified.

The pros: I love dancing. Latin dance is especially fun. Causes spontaneous smiling. The tunes are groovy.

The cons: A gym is still a gym (it's just not my thing, as hard as I try, there's something about the smell). Hybridizing dance and workout adulterates both and improves neither. Reminded me how "stiff" I am (as in, in the middle of a workout should I really be thinking to myself--this would be better after a glass of wine?).

So, sadly, I didn't find my new BFF workout in either of these alternatives.

But I did remember how fun dancing was (note to self, must seek out dancing opportunities); and once again came face to face with the question of what makes me feel good and feel good about myself.

ps. I ran the morning after the Zumba class, and the crisping autumn air, the trees on the verge of turning and the gorgeous feeling of my legs carrying me along filled me with an enormous sense of pleasure and belonging.

Not that it's a surprise, but sometimes the biggest benefit of trying new things, is the all important reminder of how much we love the old things. What keeps life interesting is the constant dance of balance between staying open to possibility, and being true to ourselves. Sometimes the latter can mask staleness and rigidity--"Oh, I know I wouldn't like..." And sometimes the former can mask insecurity or fuzziness--"Everyone else is doing it, I should do it." But what do you really want?

Know who you are and do what you are. And know that may change.