Checks and balances.
I was recently an extra cast member in the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games, as a backing dancer. It was an amazing experience, but now that I come to think about it, this story starts a little earlier than that.
I came back from Brazil at the end of January, and I was a little bit of a mess. This was not Brazil’s fault – I was a mess before I left, I was working too hard, I was trying to lose weight, trying to train every thing at once, and I ran myself ragged (as I’ve spoken about here). And when I got back, nothing at work had changed, and I was right back into the 12 – 14 hour days, and something had to give (checks and balances). Capoeira and a social life gave. I buckled down to a few months sacrifice to the God of work, and the God of work listened and gave me a wonderful promotion, and a raise, thank goodness! But the God of little things got neglected, and punished me. I was always exhausted, I was unmotivated and jaded with life – for about 4 months. In the fifth month after that, I found out I got into the Commonwealth games, so not only was I still sacrificing to the God of work, I was now making weekly contributions to the God of Small Things, going to Glasgow 3 to 4 times a week (lots of checks, no balances).
In August, the 6th month, things started to calm down at work, and now I am re-awakening the God of Small things, I have started to go back to Capoeira, started a little yoga, have started regular training, and have hired a personal trainer. Coming back to Capoeira was tough, and there was a lot of mental wrangling to get me back. Firstly, Capoeira is the kind of artform that requires a high level of determination and will power, it’s not the kind of thing you can take a one hour class for, once a week. No, you have 2 hour classes, three times a week to see any improvement at all. Then there is all the conditioning you need to do outside class, stretching, practising the different instruments, learning songs in Portuguese, and nailing the harder moves. So what happens is a tight bond forms between all the people in your group, and you spur each other on in the face of the sheer wall you need to climb. However, if you leave, like I had done, you fall out of that bond, and you suffer because you stop progressing, and you let the group down by taking your energy from the class – something that the group relies on to keep motivated. I had to really steel my mind and brace myself to go back, and when I went back I found what I had dreaded – everyone had surpassed me, they were doing things they couldn’t do 6 months ago, and I was even worse than when I had left. Disheartening. The group got closer without me there, and I was relegated to the bottom of the pack. It was hard to swallow, but in a way it’s been a good lesson. A lesson in perseverance, humility and dedication to a task for the joy of the task, not for anything else.
And to clarify, I hired a personal trainer to nail a couple of the fancier technical moves, that I have been trying to build up to by myself, but I haven’t been able to. And like I’ve quoted before, insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, and expecting different results. So I am changing the equation, and hoping that the result will change.
But I have found a little bit of superficial pleasure which has really helped me get back on the fitness horse. And it will sound so unworthy when you read this, but it’s active wear. Getting new things to wear to train has put a smile on my face, and getting new dance gear has motivated me to go to class, but also made me feel the part. I put on the new leggings and I think I am an athlete, I am a dancer and I am about to do what my body needs me to do.
The first three weeks have been tough, but last weekend I managed to run more than I have before, and my recovery day was fine. I have more energy and I am feeling calm and happy in life.
Checks and balances.
Image copywright: NYC Ballerina Project by Photographer Dane Shitagi