“Nothing wilts faster than laurels that have been rested upon.”~ Percy Bysshe Shelley
I am a dancer. I have a BFA in Dance. Ok, I graduated in 1991 but still, I have one. I had a successful career for 25 years. I don’t dance anymore. I don’t exercise. I’m 30 lbs. heavier than I was when I was working. It’s all good, I’m ok. I have body dis-morphia. I look in the mirror and I see the woman I was at 28 years old. No Problem!
My dog Henri and I like to watch yoga, cardio dance and exercise programs on TV. We actually feel like we did the class afterward. We’re sweaty and thirsty? Can anyone relate to that… I think I’d call it exercise osmosis. I eat junk food, a lot of it. I don’t sleep much. My Spiritual life has become watching “OPRAH’S MASTER’S” show once in a blue moon while lying on the couch. Once in a while I do my own thing on the beach, a mix between dance stretches and yoga. I JUST TURNED 48.
We stumbled upon these two beauties, Betty’s, on YouTube. They have a video called “Sweaty Betty’s Boot Camp” for dancers. We watched a few minutes of their video and decided, we can do that. Now, could I keep up? No. Three minutes into the video, during the warm up, when they got to the four jumps in first position section, Henri quit and I was dragging. I do have excuses and I will use them.
I have arthritis in my metatarsal joint in my left foot. You don’t know what that means? I have arthritis in my big toe. All those years of releve… standing on tippy toe, caught up to me. I can’t wear high heals anymore, the irony. Jumping is something I don’t do but I tried. My twelve-year-old bounced down the steps and started jumping next to me for inspiration, thanks James!
These Betty’s do multiple series of arm positions and swings. TRUTH: I have a right shoulder injury that I will have for life. It “flares” up when I try to exercise, as in doing this video. I’m sitting here now with a bag of frozen peas on it as I write.
There was a time when I would have pushed through these exercises full-out in pain, ego saying go, go, go, which is why I’m all busted up now. Today I’m older, I’m wiser, and I admit defeat easily. Did I quit? No way (I have dancer ego PTSD) I modified the exercises to suit my body. One of my favorite words… Modify. Say it, it feels good.
So I can’t jump with my feet in first position like a penguin anymore, I jumped with my feet parallel. I couldn’t stay, body hoisted up on one elbow allowing my shoulder to take my hefty weight while I did leg raises, I laid that arm out, head resting right on it guilt free. I did them, modified.
I’m stiff right now, 20 minutes later and my butt hurts, that is a very good sign. In two days I’ll be a cripple, even better! In this moment, I plan to do it again, exercise. When, soon. The point is I did it. Will I ever be the athletic lean woman of my past? Of course not. Do I wish I was? Of course yes but it won’t happen. Martha Graham said “Great dancers are not great because of their technique, they are great because of their passion.” I don’t need to be great. I do have passion. I am who I am and my name is Mary, not Betty.