Carry that Weight

I’ve been thinking about supporting my own body weight.

Also I am supporting my body weight.  Don’t worry.

Recently I took a yoga class about arm balances.  I had previous to this thought, arm balances are for people who are strong.  Who have upper body strength.  I do not have this.  I am female, so I don’t have much naturally, and it’s fine.

While I am thrilled that regular yoga and stretching has given me a higher kick (I love kicking!), and most of my life I’ve done a lot of standing and walking, so my legs felt strong, I never really got into it with my arms.  I was just like, whatever guys, do your thing.

I went ahead and did the workshop because my teacher is so kind, and I know she is coming from a genuinely loving place.  That makes me reflect on other people who got me to do things: the youth leader who convinced me to be a chaperone on a trip to Juarez, leading me to realize I loved working with scrappy city kids, and working with people who didn’t have much money; several teaching mentors who again and again were like, you can do this.  It’s fine.

Lately I’ve been ending my evening yoga with moving from a squat to standing upright.  Apparently being able to get up from the floor without using your hands is a good fitness test.  Anyway, usually I can do it, but last night, I almost fell back, and grabbed my dresser to keep myself from hitting my head.

I spend a great deal of my time trying to prevent myself from getting hurt.

It doesn’t work that well.

I’ve also fallen, or almost fallen, several times lately when I’ve climbed on the furniture to hang a picture or place a bit of stained glass in a window.  I’ve stubbed my toes, lately.  The indignity, the outrage of having a thing be where you didn’t think anything was!  The anger at having your body fail!  Even in a tiny way.

At the workshop, I learned some ways I could practice, and build up to, supporting my weight with my arms.

I don’t know that I need to go anywhere with that particularly.

But it felt significant to know that I could.

The fear of not being up to the task is insistent.

The fear, now, of making a mistake physically (mask wearing, hugs, hand washing) is amplified.

I know that if I got covid, I would have no control over how it affects me.  None.

Supporting my own body is a focus for me right now because I used to have a deliberately physically active life.  Teaching keeps you on your feet and moving around all day, every day.  I got a place near enough the university that I could walk.  I was used to doing 3 miles from that, and part of it a crazy steep hill.  I was used to hauling things, books, groceries, what have you, because I like having actual activity be part of my fitness, useful activity.

Now I move around so much less.

And when I do, sometimes I’m swimming.

We can still swim.  Public pool, lessened capacity, and my people I talk maskless to (though not close up, and never inside), we claim a corner of the pool, and are quite successful in keeping it our little safe zone.

Swimming, though, the water holds your body weight.  Is that the right way to put it?  When I climb out to go on the water slide (at least three times, and with no line it is glorious), I suddenly feel the weight of my body return, like an astronaut entering the atmosphere again.


Or like when you ice skate, and for a while, your feet still feel like you are ice skating.

I’m interested in supporting my body weight better.  This relates to changes I made when I had that spell of ill health, migraines and panic attacks and all.  I realized that if my belly did more to hold me up, my shoulders wouldn’t have to hold up the whole place.

A big part of figuring out the body weight is balance.  Pandemic has pulled out blocks in the Jenga game of my balance.  I struggle much, much more to balance.  As I mentioned, I stub my toe.  I trip.

Some of it is strength, some of it is balance.  And maybe the most important part of balance is laughing at yourself when you lose it.

If I actually scared myself (like last night, falling back from a squat) then it’s hard to laugh.  If I’m just in a class doing tree pose, I have made a lot of progress there in laughing at myself.  Basically laughing at myself got me out of my twenties and into my thirties.  So freeing.  I can record goofy videos for my students, or my nieces and nephews, and if Some Serious Person ever wants to Tell the National Enquirer, I’d be like, I know!  I’m so goofy!  What of it?

One of the strangest parts of these years of my life has been that with four decades of life under my belt, I do not feel more competent, or more steady.  I feel less competent, and less steady.

Oh life you joker.

I think some of that is my field.  As a teacher, I have been hurt deeply.  As someone who was always looking to mentors and people who were older, I find how often people value the new and the shiny over the voice of experience.  And then people started saying teachers should all get cyanide pills so they can teach through a pandemic because otherwise they don’t love the kids, and… straw, camel, back.

Times of weakness are opportunities to pause and observe.

So I will get on with observing how I handle my weight.



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s