“One thing that has always stopped me from exercise, besides being lazy, is that I am not a morning person.”
I am not even ‘kind of’ a morning person. I once quit my job as a barista in a trendy cafe because I could not function before 7am, and by quit, I mean I was fired for always being about 20 minutes late and once for trying to wear slippers instead of shoes. The closest I have ever come to morning exercise was when I had a housemate that used to enjoy an early morning run, and the sound of her slamming the door at 6am would wake me up. I would then use this extra time to finish a Netflix series or order UberEats breakfast. #Fitness
I admire people that can get up and seize the day. I just do not understand it. How do you arrive at the gym when your eyes are still sleepy? Also, you could still be sleeping. I have plenty of friends that start their days at the gym, I know because if you are at the gym before 8am, it is legally required you post about it on social media. If you can include a joke about needing coffee to function before 9am, then you get bonus points. I tried this regime of gym-before-work for a fortnight once, and then ended up crying in the car park one day from exhaustion. This was particularly awkward because I cannot drive, so I was in an Uber crying and then went home. In hindsight, it was a little dramatic, but at least I know my limitations
Similarly, I broke up with a guy because he enrolled us in a marathon after months of my lying and saying I went jogging. I enjoy Sky Sirens because it offers classes at night, this means that I can still get my sleep and smugly leave after work drinks because I’ve gotta go 'exercise'. Leaving after-work drinks is always a blessing because usually it just involves someone opening up about their divorce, “He loved video games more than me,” and then some middle-aged male in a senior position tells everyone how he thinks the #Metoo movement is “a bit 'much.” So I’m always thrilled I have an excuse to run away plus it makes me look like an exercise junkie, and considering how many chocolate wrappers are in my work bin, I think this helps reflect my balanced lifestyle. Yes, I had two snickers today, but I’m leaving after-work drinks to go and exercise. #Balance
It is Week 4, and I'm still trying to pole dance. I’m using the word trying because so far it is obvious I am still just trying. I am not one of those people that goes on about how uncoordinated they are and then effortlessly manages to nail a routine while looking delightfully surprised with themselves. I am the kind of person who tells you they are uncoordinated to warn you, so you have low expectations of me, which I will then meet. For a long time, I always thought the only point of doing anything is if you are good at it. This is why I spend so much time ordering lattes and spending money I do not have; two things where I display exceptional talent. If you aren’t great at something why bother? It's not precisely my motto, but it’s more accurate to how I live my life than ‘live, laugh, love’.
With pole dancing, even though I am not great at it, I do not want to quit. Doing classes at Sky Sirens is a massive step out of my comfort zone. Very similar to when I told a guy I was dating that I could rock climb, so he took me rock climbing, and I started crying and telling him I was afraid of heights. The thing is, even though I am not the best and none of it comes naturally, I’m still enjoying myself. There are times however, when I accidentally hit my crotch against the pole, I am not enjoying myself - I am just in pain. But for the most part, I’m having a good time.
A lot of the class is now building on skills and tricks we’ve already learned. I have not learned the first tricks yet, so while everyone else in my class is building on their skills, I am still learning the basics. For instance, some people are learning to do tricks backwards; I am still learning to do them forwards. This is a bit of a hit to my ego if I am honest, but I’m learning to get over myself. There is no point in comparing myself to anyone else; I should have learned this in Year Six when I was the last person to get my pen licence. I wrote like a twelve-year-old who had anger problems, and I still do. So instead, I am learning to just focus on me, taking a page out of Mariah Carey’s handbook.
I also feel fortunate because my instructor Rose always gives me alternatives if I’m struggling with something. So even though I may not ace the whole trick, she’ll help me find a way to ace at least part of the trick. Rose will help me focus on my spin and tell me not to worry about lifting my leg in the air because it will come. Sometimes I have my doubts that it will ever happen. Rose always assures me that it will, and she's taught lots of people, so I am going to take her word for it and hope for the best. I’m quite good at hoping for the best. I once did not pay my rent for three weeks and just hoped my real estate agent would not notice.
“Sometimes I do feel discouraged because I am learning things at a slower rate than the rest of my class. Yet, for every time I feel a bit sad about not being coordinated, there are times I feel really pleased with myself because I have nailed something.”
A friend recently said to me that learning something when it doesn’t come naturally to you is a real feat and I should feel proud. I think that’s a good outlook to have and even though sometimes I do have my down moments I try and live by that. Yes, pole dancing does not come naturally to me, but I am getting better, despite the fact I find it hard to remember my right and my left.
The thing that keeps me going is not because I’m someone who does not give up. I once gave up on a relationship because he moved 20 minutes away. It’s because I am actually having fun. Everyone in my class is always sharing a laugh or a joke or just clapping for each other and celebrating our achievements. There’s always fun music playing, and even though I am still exercising, I do not feel like I am in a very serious environment. I feel like I’m hanging out with a bunch of friends having a laugh, just without the alcohol - which I think, to be honest, is for the best.
“The thing I’m learning about exercise is that you have to find out what works for you.”
If you are not a morning person like me, instead of fighting against your nature, you need to find night classes. Alternatively, maybe just never exercise again, an option I chose for a few years post-high school. If you are not naturally athletic, you need to find a space that makes you feel comfortable enough to exercise and occasionally laugh at yourself. For me, that is Sky Sirens. There are always a million reasons not to do something, and I think I have used all of them. I once pretended I had my period for four months in school so I never had to do a beep test.
Usually, when I committed to an exercise routine, I always found a way to bail out because I always picked something that didn't quite suit me, like 6am boot camps. My pole dancing classes, however, are fun and at night. For the first time, I look forward to exercising. Everyone who REALLY knows me is impressed. I've even managed to impress myself. And we know that is the hardest thing for all of us to achieve.