Friday, July 31, 2009

Again, we begin anew?

We have such frozen images of ourselves from a time when we were younger, sassier, and had a better memory. Lately, when I see a picture of myself with the gray hairs that twirl up because they are wool-textured; in clothes that look a little mom-esque; and with a little bit of weariness around the eyes, I do a double take because the image before me doesn't match the internal vision. In my mind, I have on red cowboy boots with a mini-skirt and I'm dancing so feverishly, not one cowboy can keep up.

So, I begin anew with a new level of energy, new clothes, and some hard-earned wisdom. But sometimes I this morning during my pilates class. Pilates teachers have some universal characteristics: hip workout clothes, a can-do attitude, and a chipper voice when they are asking you to do something physically abnormal. Today's instructions:

"Listen, if you have a neck injury keep your head on the mat as we circle our legs, cross them mid-air, and gently keep them an inch off the ground."

I think to myself, "Wow, those poor elderly clients who have neck injuries are going to miss the full impact of this." Three seconds later, as I am dutifully following the instructions, I feel a stabbing pain in my neck and wonder if I'm going to throw up on the burnished hard wood floor. That seems like it would ruin the flow for everyone, so I try not to. I continue the ab exercises without the modification. At the end of the class, I feel thrashed and not rejuvenated. As I am walking out with my buddy, it hits me: Wait a minute, my two herniated discs COUNT as a neck injury.

We have to see ourselves as we are, not as how we used to be, or want to be. I am no good at this, really and I can give no assurances that I will keep my head on the mat next time...but I will recognize that she is talking to me and I will smile a smile of defiance, not ignorance.

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