That time I passed out at pilates

I should probably start this off by apologizing to my older sister for being supremely embarrassing. Both in this particular instance and in life. So hey Mush, thanks for not disowning me.

 

After my sister had my older nephew (who is now a little over two and a half), she decided to get back into pre-baby shape. She had been going to a pilates class in Notting Hill that she LOVED, and invited me to go with her, since your first class was free. If I liked it, I’d sign up, and we’d have a great weekend sister activity. I had done pilates in college (and even got credit for it!), so I didn’t think this would be a challenge at all.

Five minutes into the class, I passed out (I blame it on not eating breakfast due to an upset stomach, but honestly, I was just massively out of shape and not ready for the ass-kicking that reformer Pilates would give me).

For two days after, I was sore like I had never been sore in my life. Walking up the stairs to class hurt. Sitting at my computer hurt. Life hurt. On top of that, I was extremely embarrassed, since my adoring sister decided to tell my brother, mom, and local newspaper reporters that a woman who had just had a ten pound baby had completed an entire class without any major problems, while a 21 year-old-girl was dying in the back.

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Two years later, I’m still embarrassed, but have since decided to try similar classes again. I had heard friends talking about Pure Barre classes, and as a former (as in, in a former life) dancer (read: uncoordinated dance enthusiast), decided to give it a try.

There was a pregnant girl in my first class. All I could think about was that horrific Pilates class, and kept tucking my little heart out. Over that first 55 minute class, I sweat more than I had in ages, had worked more muscles than I even knew I had, and had attempted to ’embrace the shake’ that literally had me walking out of class as though I were made of jello.

I was absolutely hooked.

Classes aren’t easy, but nobody’s paying attention to what I’m doing aside from our instructor, who will help with positioning and form, to help you get the most out of your workout. For the first time in my life, I am excited by a workout routine, and actually dislike the days where I’m unable to get to a class. None of the women in my classes are super-skinny-stickly, instructors included, so you don’t feel like the odd one out for not being in top ballerina shape. You feel comforted by the fact that these women are struggling with the moves the same way you are, and you can focus on what you’re doing and making sure you’re doing it properly.

Am I uncoordinated? Absolutely. Am I a dancer? Absolutely not. Am I ever going to pass out in class again? Not if I can help it.

Pure Barre helps me feel strong, and those last two minutes of class give the most euphoric rush of endorphins, like I’d just completed a marathon and had been greeted at the finish line by Ryan Gosling (next goal? ha).

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Moral of the story? It’s ok to pass out at pilates once in a while. Also, eat breakfast before any workout and never go to an exercise class with a woman who had a baby unless you’re POSITIVE you can complete it. Trust me.

 

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Spelling bees aren’t cool

Next week I’ll be 24, which means I’m basically 25, which is basically 30, which is basically dead.

It occurred to me a few weeks ago that in my nearly 24 years, I’ve actually accomplished a good bit. I’ve finished college (woo!), finished grad school (double woo!), and lived in a foreign country. I’ve been there for the big family moments (births of nieces/nephews, graduations, weddings) and made a solid group of loving, loyal friends upon whom I know I can rely.

But then I get online, and take a look at what other people have accomplished. And I feel lazy, useless, and very ordinary.

Am I the only one who feels this way?

It’s hard to come to grips with reality in the social media-heavy world we live in. And I genuinely worry that if I, a 24-year-old who has known a time without double-taps, likes, and favorites, can feel inadequate based on social media, how will my niece (who is 7, on Instagram, and semi-permanently attached to her iPod touch) feel about herself as she grows up?

While I do believe that there’s a lot to be said for the environment you grow up in (my family has always been very proud and encouraging), it’s hard for even the most accomplished and smart kids to feel like they’ve done something worthy of praise from the online community. The kids who are winning spelling bees will never be praised online – because duh, spelling bees aren’t cool. Instead, they’ll be made to feel like unless they’re wearing top designers, listening to top bands, and achieving the level of ‘fame’ of other kids their age (HELLO TWITTER FAMOUS IS NOT REAL FAMOUS), they’re not really achieving anything.

Am I the only one who thinks this is kind of scary?

 

Nobody Needs ’12 Things to Fix Their Lives’

Ok let’s talk. I haven’t been here in a while but hey, sometimes life gets in the way of other plans (or in the words of my oh-so-wise father, “sometimes things block other things”). That plan to remake my blog? Spoiler alert: never happened. I’ll get around to it eventually.

 

However, a recent browse of my Facebook pushed me to get back here. After reading posts upon post from BuzzFeed, ThoughtCatalog, EliteDaily, and many many more similar sites about ’12 things you need to do for xyz,’ I’ve decided it was time for a little PSA.

Ladies, I’m talking directly to you.

We need to quit allowing ourselves to be victims, and more importantly, portraying ourselves as such. We are not sad, we are not pathetic, we are not weak. But we are acting like complete morons.

These posts about not doing things for a man, or what we need to do to keep ourselves happy with these guys, are complete and total bull. We’ve become a culture of self-help, proving to each other what we should and shouldn’t be doing in our lives, jobs, and relationships. You cannot read a book that will tell you how to make your relationship work. You cannot read a book on how to make your boy into the perfect man. You can’t make yourself happy by following someone else’s exact steps. You cannot learn unless you’ve made a mistake. We are setting ourselves up for disaster by measuring our success or happiness by the standards set on the internet, most likely by people we’ve never met.

Take, for example, my older sister and I (HIII MUSH). If I asked her to write out a specific list of steps on how to be happy, or how to achieve the beautiful family she has with her husband, it would never work for me. Regardless of our many similarities, we are different people, and both of our minds operate in completely different ways. Our end goal of happiness in ourselves and for those we love is the same, but it is impossible for us to both get there using the exact same route.

This is not to say that I haven’t gotten suckered into a three hour black hole of Buzzfeed posts about lord knows what. It’s solely a recognition that what I’m seeing out there isn’t accurate, and that rather than creating happy people who have happy relationships and happy lives, we’re creating sad people who don’t measure up to the ‘perfect’ models they see before them on their Facebook pages and inboxes.

Some of these posts are designed to make us feel better about ourselves, but actually end up making us women look like the victims of our own minds. Take for example this post I saw a few minutes ago, the “12 Mistakes Women Need To Stop Making When It Comes to Their Kryptonite: Men.” Literally the only good thing about it is the Superman reference in the title (if you don’t know what it is…I can’t help you).

The author makes some decent points, with the idea of helping women feel better about themselves, which is by all means a positive thing. However, her way of going about it makes women into more the victim than anything else. True, you should never put your worth in a man (or anyone else for that matter – my mama didn’t raise no fool), nor should you think that you need someone else to make you happy. But not believing him? Not missing him post-breakup? Come on. I know for a fact that there are good men out there (I have the best dad, two amazing brothers, an awesome brother-in-law, and two nephews who are the sweetest boys in the world), so telling us never to believe anything they say, and to never miss them is  just idiotic. You’re setting yourself up to never be satisfied, because it’s impossible to be happy in any relationship, whether with friends, family, or a significant other, without trust in what they’re saying. True, actions speak louder than words and some people are gullible and others are liars BUT going into it with the negativity of not believing someone won’t achieve anything.

 

Feminism, in my opinion, (which is what I think? this author is trying to push for? Maybe?) isn’t about man-bashing. It’s about accepting the differences between the genders and respecting what the others have to say and can contribute to the world. We can’t portray ourselves as weak without inadvertently portraying men as powerful, and vice-versa. It’s about equality people. So take each of these little posts you see with a grain of salt before you go crazy and try to make yourself into something you’re not. Be happy with who you are and what you can do, and work towards what you want to be able to do. Celebrate your small victories and try to be genuine to who you are. And please, please, do not become who they describe online. Just be you.

 

 

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