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“This week was the second last week; in some ways Lyra classes have become easier.”

Everyone is more comfortable with each other in our classes and I now know where all the spare iPhone chargers usually reside.  On the other hand, every week we learn something new, and usually I’m still trying to master what we did the week before. Mostly it’s nice to be getting to the end of term, because I can now feel smug that I’ve stuck with something, and the idea of getting in a hoop is no longer terrifying, just pretty standard.  I had brunch with a friend this week and she told me she thought it was great that I was doing lessons at Sky Sirens, and then added she was jealous because her boyfriend would never approve of her doing such a sexy class.

 The thing about ‘sexy’ is that it is subjective. Frankly, I do not find my Lyra classes a particularly sexy experience. It’s much more about having a bit of fun and trying to learn something new, that doesn’t mean other people that attend their Sky Siren’s classes might not find it quite a sexy time, they might, but I think it’s really about what you decide to make it. Still, that was not even what annoyed me about what she said, what annoyed me about what she said, is what has been annoying me for years throughout many of my female friendships, it annoyed me that her boyfriend had that much influence over her.

Something I’ve discovered in my twenties is that women stop doing things because of whom they are sleeping with. I’ve watched from the sidelines as many friends stop doing the things they love because their relationship now takes up all their time. I first witnessed this in high school when a female friend of mine, stopped playing netball, a game she’d been playing since she was six. Now she was sixteen and her boyfriend, (whose idea of fashion was keeping a sticker on his snapback), explained to her that he wanted her free on the weekends. As I’ve become older, I’ve witnessed it so many times I’m not even surprised anymore. I’ve seen female friends give up anything, from playing sports on the weekend to no longer pursuing their passions because it’s taking time away from their role of someone’s girlfriend.

 These decisions about giving up something you love, are usually made because of pressure from their boyfriends, who complain they don’t see them enough, or they want to spend more time together. It is clever, emotional manipulation. There’s no denying that it’s flattering for your boyfriend to proclaim he wants to spend more time with you. The amount of times I’ve had female friends cancel dinner plans with me claiming they haven’t seen their boyfriend much this week and he has complained that he misses her, even though they live together in a tiny apartment, is countless. So I’ve begrudgingly accepted that this is the reality of being a grown up, if you happen to be a cis hetro-sexual woman. There is a high chance you’ll base your whole life around a man. Some of those men will be the kind of guy that waits outside a clothing store because it’s too ‘girly’ in there. 

 I’ve been with my boyfriend Luke, (I like to call him Luca after the hot doctor from the long running medical show ER, but he has yet to ever answer to it), for almost four years. We are pretty serious, I know his pin number, we have shows we watch together and we have discussed names we’d like to name our potential children, (all his names, are very boring and I’ve rejected them all, our child will be named after a deceased diva from the fifties if it kills me). Still, it did not even occur to me that I should inform him that I was enrolling in Lyra.   

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 Luke was surprised when I told him I had enrolled because once he made me walk up a mountain that he called a hill at Palm Beach and I cried because it was so tiring, so he knows exercise isn’t my thing. But we don’t have the kind of relationship where I ask him permission to do something and visa versa, including stealing food off his plate. Clearly, he can’t steal food off mine though because a girl’s gotta eat.  We don’t have the kind of relationship where we ask each other permission to do things, because as far as I’m concerned as long as we do not have a joint bank account or children, we both should pursue what we want to pursue. 

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Considering the term is wrapping up, it got me thinking about how glad I was I enrolled in the first place. This week in class, we went through all the moves we’ve learned. Basically to see who learned what and if we should move up a level, next semester. It’s a little bit stressful because the idea of being graded reminds me of when my year ten science teacher told me if I wanted to have any chance of getting into university, I needed to drop science immediately. The reality though is, it was pretty casual.

“I’ll be honest, there were still things I cannot do, but I surprised myself with how many things I could do, which made me feel rather smug about myself, like when my card doesn’t get declined at a designer shoe store.”

The one thing that I’ve been enjoying the most out of my Sky Sirens class is it is a time set-aside for me. I’ve found in my twenties that I seem to have many roles these days, university student, writer, sister, girlfriend, daughter, friend, unreliable tenant, below average retail employee. There is constantly somewhere I need to be, and someone that needs me or someone I need to catch up with, or something I need to be doing for someone and it can be hard to carve out time for you. Especially time that does not involve sitting on the lounge and watching the Bachelor but justifying it by arguing you are just watching it to make, ‘fun,’ even though you are very invested in who he ends up with.  So it has been a real pleasure to go somewhere and be doing something that gives me a break from the stresses of real life, even if it does often leave me literally gasping for air.

 I understand, as we get older our relationships become more important, the partners we chose, we begin to see as our future and our lives become entwined with them. It is so easy to slip into the role of doing whatever makes your partner happy, because ultimately, to a certain extent, that makes you happy too. But I think it’s so important to find things that make you feel like you, that remind you that who you are is just as important as who you are in your relationship. Lyra has been so great for me, because it’s just for me. It’s not something my boyfriend and I share, besides when I tell him how my classes are, it is something just for me and that is important.

Doing Lyra classes has not always been an easy journey, but I’m so glad I did. Not because I’ve become the best in the class or because it’s been easy, I’m glad I’ve done it, because it’s been something I’ve been doing for myself.  It’s an hour a week that I reserve for myself, it’s an hour a week, where I am not thinking about bills or everyday stresses or if I should buy a designer handbag or not, because I read an article where they can increase in value and maybe it’s an investment.  The term is not over yet, and I’m looking forward to my final classes but what I’m most proud of is finding something new in my adult life that is just for me.

“I think it can be easy to forget that the only person that needs you to give yourself permission to do something is yourself, not who you are dating and I’m so glad I gave myself permission to do Lyra.”

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