The past 24 hours have been strange for me – I’ve tried two incredibly new things and I’ve learnt some incredibly valuable things to boot. They’ve made me think a little about who I am, and who I want to be, and I thought I’d share them with you all in this cosy little corner of the internet.
The first thing is an entirely positive one – and it’s actually all thanks to the internet that it came about. A blogger who I followed on Twitter put out a tweet on Monday evening asking for her fellow MH bloggers to come to Cardiff and hang out with her. I, boldly, replied that I may not be a MH blogger or her friend (or even an acquaintance, at this point she didn’t even follow me back on Twitter!) but that I lived in Cardiff and would like to maybe make a new friend if maybe that was a thing that would maybe, like, possibly happen?!? Cue a handful of DM’s later and today I met this blogger for tea and cake in town.
What I want to talk about though is how this girl’s attitude to life really resonated with me. Which I know, sounds ridiculously fucking deep and I’ll try not to embarrass anyone here, I promise. We chatted about so much – mental health, blogging, politics, fashion, life. This girl believed in being herself, in a way that I’ve rarely seen, so unapologetically and confidently and it really inspired me.
If people constantly undermine you and bring you down, you don’t need them.
If people don’t accept you for who you are, why do you think that you do need them?
She asked every cashier we saw how they were, and genuinely meant it. She hugged me when we first met, as absolute strangers. Told me a story of how she complimented someone on the bus home last night because the little things matter and if you can be kind, you should be kind.
I admit, that until today, I thought my record on being tolerant towards the world was an okay one, perhaps even a good one. And she, unknowingly, put me to shame on each and every count. This, perhaps is my Mid-Year Resolution. To be kinder, more open to the world. To understand that opening a closed book doesn’t give away the ending of the story.
As is always the case though, you start a new chapter because you want to reach the end. And so is the same with life. I started Krav Maga classes when I moved to Cardiff 3 weeks ago. I thoroughly enjoy them, even if every muscle in my body hurts for about 4 days after. My current flat-mate runs the classes and so, honestly, even if I didn’t enjoy it I feel that maybe my attendance would still be compulsory, such is her infectious passion for Krav!
Usually, I find the classes empowering. Hard, yes, but do-able. I’ve joined during an 8-week ‘newbies’ course so I’ve come in at the right point to not stand out like a sore thumb. And anyway, the regular girls who have been going for years are some of the kindest, most supportive females I’ve ever had the good fortune to encounter.
But last night I had a wobble. We were doing groundwork, an incredibly simplified form of it, where we were being taught the basics of kicking from the floor. This essentially involved going from lying on your back, to rolling on your side, lifting yourself up and kicking a pad with some force. I seriously struggled to roll and get myself off the floor in one fluid movement, I will go as far to say that I couldn’t do it. Some tries, I actually couldn’t get myself off the floor. I was suddenly overwhelmed by thoughts that my size was the problem. That I was too fat to get my weight onto my side and then push myself up. Looking back now, 24 hours later, I think that yes, perhaps size did play a part, but most likely I’m simply just not fit enough to complete a task like that yet. Which is understandable, as I haven’t exercised at all in well over a year.
But in the moment, these thoughts overwhelmed me and I found myself – horror of all horrors – on the verge of tears. My instructor/flatmate/friend noticed and asked me if I wanted to take a step outside. I did and I cried a little and I confided in her and she gave a hug. And then I went straight back in, 30 seconds later, and tried the next kick, which was just as hard, and I was just as bad at, but I’m nothing if not a quitter. At the end of the class, we held leg raises for as long as we could, as a training challenge and I pushed myself to my absolute limit, to prove to myself that I was trying. I got the second longest time, coming second only to one of the regular girls who’s built like a machine. Whatever I was trying to prove to myself, I think I accomplished it.
Later that night and throughout today, I’ve been plagued with further thoughts of whether I should go on a diet, not for any aesthetic reason, but because I really don’t want my weight to the reason I can’t commit to this class in the way I want to. I can see some of you, sat here, reading this, thinking to yourself, “Well, why doesn’t she just fucking eat less and go on this diet if her weight is upsetting her this much?”
And I’ve answered this already, but I don’t feel the need to punish myself for not being able to complete a round-house kick by punishing myself out of the classroom as well. In my head, with my rarely talked about mental health issues, diets constitute a way of me hurting myself. My motivation? Telling myself I’m fat and ugly and if I eat something, nobody will ever like me. I don’t need that shit. Not even for Krav. What I do need, however, is an alternative solution. A positive one.
Therefore, I’ve decided on two courses of action. The first is to be mindful of what I eat and take into account how I can make it healthier, smaller and if I can forgo anything snack-y or sweet-y. I’m not going to deny myself, but I must be able to justify my decisions as to my choices and always try to be happy with the least and healthiest amount of food. The word ‘happy’ is key. Secondly, I’m going to work on my fitness at home. The regular Krav girls told me about this thing called a Combat Sprint that they have to do in the more advanced classes, which is something like 10 burpees, 10 sit-ups, 10 press-ups, 10 punches and 10 kicks and then do it 9 times, then 8 times etc. all the way down to zero. Today, in my living room I did just 10 burpees, 10 sit-ups and 10 really awful half-ass press-ups because I am not fit enough to even hold one proper press-up. And I stopped there. But it got me out of breath and so it was fitness and so it improved me. My intention is to do this every night, doing more, and better reps of these basic exercises.
And there we have it. Two lessons learnt in twenty four short hours. Two things that made me want to improve myself, in a positive way.
I hope you’re all doing well! See you next time 🙂 P.