Dec. 12th, 2013 @ 09:55 pm something to like my body
I just looked up Iowa City belly dance classes. I went to an open house once and knew the studio name, roughly, so I wanted to see if they had anything I couldn't make an excuse about.

I can feel the stress and tears behind my eyes.

Just from looking. From the line on another studio's page, "Remember, it's supposed to be fun!"

Karina, who is on my list of Very Smart Friends, told me years ago that perhaps I should find something fun to do physically. Something I can't improve at, and thus can't fail to improve at. Something that helps me like my body, something that helps me move my body-- I'm adding to her advice here-- something that helps me... well, here we run into a problem because what I actually want is something easy and backgroundable that will help give me a foundation for something like everything else I've done and stopped in terms of physical activity.

I've been thinking about walking downtown lately. Load up my bag with library books, bundle two scarves around my head and neck, and turtle my way those couple miles. That's not a great difficulty. I did that when I lived at Casa Handler, sometimes daily.

I've been thinking about dance. I've been thinking about how I fail so comprehensively at it. I've been thinking about my workout clothes, kept at work because I decided that if the kiddos are working out, maybe I should too, but the last couple times I just haven't been willing. I've been thinking about aikido. I've been thinking about the boy's Viking reenactment group, which I'm not going to join because the leader is either an asshole or he does a pretty good impression of one but I'd like to not be completely dismissed as a possibility. I think about the rec centers I now know and the workout rooms that still intimidate me. I think of my excuses, which are mostly money. I think about cardio and the I Hate Cardio song. I think about my pulse creeping up month after month, my blood pressure doing the same, my weight.

There is an activity that will help me like my body. There is something that I can build on, something my body can do for me, an olive branch held out saying we can get along.

There is more to my physical self than hands and eyes.
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From:Angela Regas
Date:December 13th, 2013 03:46 pm (UTC)
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Oh. :( Yeah.

My personal experience matches Karina's suggestion-- the times I have felt the most friendly towards my body as it is, and not as I might be able to force it to become, have been because a certain amount of physical activity feels good afterwards, and when my body brings me a feels-good, then I'm more inclined to accept it's existence.

How plausible are things like the block-punching game on Kinnect? There are other games, I just know the block punching one because it's the one that works for me. No extra moneys involved because it's been bought already, You're home earlier than Kenda is, so using it when no one is downstairs is do-able. I have no idea what a "good" score is compared to the rest of the world, it only ever shows me my previous best, so it's hard to feel like I'm failing at something.

On similar lines-- I have been having difficulty with the "five minutes of dance," homework because solo ballroom is weird, and weirdly difficult, hence the country line dances in the kitchen. I had been thinking of asking, but didn't know if it was too weird to ask, or too much to ask, if you'd be willing to let me teach you something like a few waltz/foxtrot steps -- lead or follow, whichever you wanted, so I could do a few more things for dance homework. I think that many of your natural body tendencies (posture! all the posture!) would fit rather than hinder, the steps, and the body movements are more of the "walking with good posture" than "finding brand new uses for all your joints." Pros that I can think of are, it's actually a *favor* for me, cons would be if the not-being-as-good-as-you-want-to-be would make you feel bad. (I know, I know, I have a ballroom-shaped hammer and everything looks like a waltz.)

I also wonder-- I remember you said once, that women are less likely to put themselves out there, in terms of submitting work, applying to things, asking for raises or higher starting pay, etc., and so when you do these things, you think about doing them as striking a blow for women, rather than asking for more for yourself... is there any way to harness that in this somehow? Some activity, maybe like Viking stuff or in that vein, that is coded male so you can make a narrative about it not being about or for you?

You don't have to answer-- if the answer is "no that makes me feel bad," I'd hate for you to have to argue a depressing point. I don't know if any of these are *good* ideas.


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From:initialdescent
Date:December 14th, 2013 06:53 pm (UTC)
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I would recommend more martial arts, but that's something where they do expect you to improve and move up through the belt ranks. And while I enjoyed it, and was proud of being able to break boards and kick higher than my head, I wouldn't say it fostered a healthy relationship between me and my body.

Running isn't good for me, though I enjoy having run. (My knee makes exciting noises every time I go up a flight of stairs. Though I am intrigued by Zombies, Run!) Biking, though, is something I'm hoping to do more of next year. The Twin Cities area has a lot of rail trails, and one of my resolutions for 2014 is to bike as many of them as I can, once the snow is gone.

I never took any form of dance when I was little, and so it's difficult for me to get my body to move in a way that seems effortless to others. (Though I really liked Zumba, I was glad I could rarely see myself while I was doing it, because I was probably lumbering through all the moves rather than dancing like the others in the class. Mike always sarcastically called me "Graceful.")

I did enjoy ballroom dance, though. That's something I learned when I was in college--"Social Dances of North America," which I actually had to sleep out to sign up for. We learned tango and waltz and polka and swing, which was big on campus at the time. That can definitely be good exercise.

One thing I tried out last year was kayaking. We've got lots of big lakes, and I tried out kayaking across one in central MN. That was fun, and an activity that one can't really fail, no matter how long it takes to finish. There's also a lake very close to work, which I found that I can rent a kayak at, so I may be doing that next year as well. That does require money, though.

Is hiking an option? That's something else that gets one moving and the only way to really fail is to fall off a cliff. (Please don't fall off a cliff.)

I got your letter, btw. I know I owed you one, and meant to sent you a postcard from Japan, but I didn't send anyone a postcard from Japan. Hoping to get one sent out to you soon.
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From:initialdescent
Date:December 14th, 2013 06:54 pm (UTC)
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Hrm. I posted a comment, and it was marked as spam. Let me know if you'd like me to repost it, if possible.