So here’s the thing. I find myself increasingly tired of the highlight reels. I crave deep connection with others and we only find that by being truly vulnerable and showing each other our humanness. It’s lovely to see everyone’s pictures on social media of fun with friends and moments of pure bliss with our loved ones but I want to know what makes you feel. I want to talk about frustrations and faltering. I want us to truly honor each other’s journeys and not just the outcomes. Let’s open up about our hardships. Maybe that’s dark but so be it. I’m here for the realness.
In that vain, I’d like to talk about my body with you all because it occurred to me that as a fitness professional (it feels douchey to call myself that by the way), that perhaps it can come across like there aren’t physical challenges for me too. Let’s start with the fact that I’m not a fitness buff. Ha! That’s weird, right? I don’t go on ten mile jogs on the weekends or take spin classes for fun. I wish I had the energy for that quite frankly. Becoming a fitness instructor happened naturally since movement has always been a huge part of my life. I grew up spending most of my time in a dance studio and later on that organically morphed into barre and yoga. Moving my body has always been medicine for me. It’s an absolute requirement for me to feel mentally stable-ish. But when I’m not moving, I’m just a human who really enjoys lounging and eating all the foods and I’m also someone who needs to be super vigilant of how I spend the little amount of energy I have.
You see, my body has Multiple Sclerosis. I recently learned to word in that way because it’s such a better narrative than to say that I have it. Because of that, I have to consider the spoon theory on a daily basis. What’s the spoon theory? Read more about that here if you desire but the idea is that I start each day with an allotted number of spoons and each daily activity requires me to cash in spoons. Some days I start off with a boatload of spoons and I feel great and some days I start off with just a few. I’m working every day to not live like someone who has this disease but it’s been front and center recently with the fear of Covid lingering. On top of that, I’ve been fighting a relapse that has been unrelenting since the start of the year that includes cute symptoms like temporary paralysis. I’m not sharing this information with you to get sympathy or even to draw attention to it but rather to show you that I’m human. Some days I teach a class and after I feel like I could conquer the world like I do today and some days I teach a class and I have to allow time for rest.
I’m actively working on becoming one with my dis-ease and honestly feel tremendously grateful for it sometimes. Other times I want to punch it directly in the throat. You see, MS has taught me a ton about caring for myself. It’s taught me to slow down and be kind to my body. It’s also taught me to create major boundaries because stress is a huge trigger for trouble and I have to set limits for myself. That’s damn hard. I want to do all the things. My heart wants to climb mountains and dance until the sun comes up but my body sometimes has other plans. So I listen, I get quiet with myself and I do what I can handle. And on days when I do more than I can handle, I try to tune into the subtle and not so subtle signs that my body sends me to knock it off.
Again, I share this with you because it’s easy to look at other people and wish we had some of what they have. I find myself watching TV and wondering what certain people do to have those levels of energy. I’m jealous of energy. But for all I know, the director yells cut and that actor has to take a nap because they’ve used up their spoons for the day.
So let’s talk about these things. Not for pity or to wallow but to remind each other that we are all imperfectly perfect. We all struggle with loving our bodies even though they are so remarkable and squeezeable. Let’s celebrate our soft tummies because maybe it means we’ve finally given ourselves permission to rest and our strong hearts because it means we’ve seen some shit. Let’s not take those days when we rise with extra spoons for granted and let’s be patient with ourselves when there’s only one spoon in the drawer.