Last week I played Getting to Know You Bingo at a meeting – that game where the bingo grid is full of things like “I’m the middle child” and “I play an instrument” – to help strangers learn little facts about each other. One of the squares said “I’m an athletic person” and I caught myself skimming over it because it wasn’t the square about me. I’m not an athlete, right?
Before I came to Solcana I didn’t know a barbell from a dumbbell. I hadn’t tried to run a mile since high school gym class fifteen years ago. I wasn’t sedentary, I walk or bike all the time and I lug stuff around at my day job, but “athletic” is not how I saw myself. From an early age I avoided anything sportsy and even with the indoor stuff I did, my body was always a thing to struggle against. My ballet teacher told me my hips were too wide to be a professional ballerina. My piano teacher told me my hands were too small to be a pianist. My theater teacher said my voice and shape meant I wouldn’t be a serious actor, only fairies and silly roles for me. My loose wide joints were useful when I found yoga, but chronic pain from tears in my hip stymied my practice.
I joined Solcana six months before hip surgery. I learned so many new movements and felt myself getting stronger daily. Then my doctor dislocated my hip and stapled my labrum together and put me on six weeks bedrest. I learned how to walk again. I hobbled back in to Solcana and started over, relearning how to do each movement. I was frustrated with how hard simple movements were, but the friendly faces and gentle, encouraging coaches kept me coming back.
I’m not a goal setter, but I decided to show up every day I could and to keep trying. Some days I surprise myself with how many pounds I can lift or by climbing up a rope – something I’d never done before in my life and mastered this fall! Other days I surprise myself with how impossible things seem. I can’t jump rope for more than a dozen times without tripping. My hip recovery is a slow process and there’ve been many bumps and lumps along the way.
I am still working on accepting my body’s limitations (and abilities!) but there’s no place I’d rather learn to be an athlete than Solcana.