LIPS, HIPS, DOWN TO MY TIPS
By: Lauren Anderson
Winter craziness is in full swing, even if we don’t really have much snow to prove it. Each morning I’ve been waking up stiffer and stiffer, pouring a cup of coffee and executing my day. It’s been a lot of the same, and I haven’t been as social as I usually am, because I’ve been working so much.
I’ve noticed three things. First, I realize I haven’t been speaking to many people during the day.
When I’m not on stage speaking to hundreds of people at a time, I realized I’ve been pretty quiet. Keeping my lips sealed, and my days pretty free from human interaction. This is important, because I have to “save my voice” and I do need some “me time” to recharge after leaving it all on the proverbial dance floor aka stage, night after night.
But I’m a classic extravert. I actually benefit quite a bit from social interactions. I get charged up, and energized! All this research and Buzzfeed articles floating around the internet about the plight of the introvert… but what about a textbook extravert like me? Don’t we get any juicy tips about finding balance? No! I guess if you’re good at a party, you’re on your own.
Second, for some reason, I think I’m storing stress in my hips.
My hips? What a weird spot! I’ve never stored stuff there before. Maybe it’s the way I’ve been sleeping, maybe it’s something stupid I’m doing with the lower half of my body for the show, but each morning I wake up like an old dog that slept on a hardwood floor.
Crickety creek crack creek. I do some hip swivels to shake off the rust, cursing my new normal. This is strange, and certainly not what I’m used to.
Third, I’m in desperate need of a pedicure.
WAIT!!! Before you slam your laptop closed in disgust and write me off as ugh, one of those types of people— let me EXPLAIN! I like having nice nails. For a person like me, it helps me feel polished, put-together, and ready to take on the world. If you follow my Instagram (laurenanderhands) you already know this. Nice nails runs in my family, and it’s not a lady thing, it’s a personal grooming thing.
My grandpa was a foreman in a warehouse. He worked hard with his hands every single day. Once a week, my grandma would sit him down in a chair while they watched TV, and she would give him a manicure. Cuticle oil, buffing pads and all. The works. Then she would do her own. Long beautiful red nails, that she used to give the greatest back scratches. She did their nails like this until she couldn’t anymore. And when she lost her dexterity, my grandpa took over and painted her nails.
Are you tearing up yet? Because I am. I guess I’m just realizing now how romantic that seems. And how important it must’ve been for them. As a bonding ritual between a couple, and as a point of pride. Watching that through the years, something must’ve stuck. Because now I think it’s essential too.
There’s a saying that floats around the nail world. And yes, there really IS a subculture for every hobbyist. It goes like this:
“How you keep your hands is how you want the world to see you. How you keep your feet, is how you see yourself.”
I look down at my nails. Shaped and buffed and painted gold (of course). With an intricate design, and an expensive top coat. Basically ON POINT, if I do say so myself. But my feet… well, that’s another story. Let’s just say, I’m glad it’s not sandal season. Suddenly, this dichotomy is speaking volumes. My perfect gold fingertips seem like artifice now. The truth is in my feet. I’ve been neglecting myself.
So cut to last Sunday at the gym.
Coach Jenn and I decide to meet up during open gym time. Basically, that means hours that the gym is open to work out, but an official class is not going on. It’s been awhile since we’ve been able to do a one on one, and I realize how much I’ve missed our special workouts. They say with any successful life change, you need people to support you. And I am reminded how crucial Coach Jenn has been as both my friend, and my champion.
I walk into the gym and it’s hoping. People I haven’t seen in a while are grunting and laughing and high-fiving. I am greeted with smiles and hugs and “Hey! Good to see you!”. I instantly feel energized. And I haven’t even started my workout yet.
I realized that even though my job is super fun and super social, it’s good to get out and socialize with new and different people. Bustling between work and home only, had gotten me into a little rut. I didn’t even know I was in need of an environment change.
Coach Jenn and I start catching up. New haircuts, new milestones at the gym and in life, and new sweaters for her dog Louie, and suddenly I am smiling, and I feel very talkative.
Lips engaged, check!
Then I tell Coach about my hip stiffness. She takes me through a long and I’ll say luxurious mini-mobility session focusing on the hips and getting them up to snuff. By the end of 20 minutes of hip stretches I feel juiced, loose, and seduced. I haven’t felt that good in weeks!
Afterwards I say, “Oh my gawd! Are you kidding me? My hips were hurting because I haven’t stretched enough?” And Coach Jenn is all, “I know! Crazy right?”
And I lament, “Why don’t I just stretch 15 minutes every morning? So it doesn’t get this bad?!”
And my sage Coach replies, “Because sleep. Work. Life. Don’t beat yourself up.”
I smile again. She’s right of course. Yes, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. But beating yourself up about what you’re not doing never helped anyone. I decide then and there to prioritize morning stretches for the next week and see what happens. If I make it important, I will have to make room for it. And then at the end of the week I will re-assess. If it works for me, I’ll keep at it. If not, I’ll re-adjust. It’s a process. And like my Dad always says, “First A then B, kiddo.”
Hips engaged, check!
I ask Coach Jenn if we can do more of my Back Pain Programming. My back is getting better and better but it’s a WAY slower process than I ever could’ve imagined. But seriously, the program has really helped. Coach decides to do it with me, and we set off! It’s a whirlwind of banded-squats and push presses and lunges, and before I know it, we’re done. I’ve been doing so much of the program by myself, that I forgot how fun it is to have a workout buddy. It really can make all the difference.
The cool down portion of the program has us sitting in a seated straddle for 5 minutes. While we’re stretching Coach Jenn mentions she might get a pedicure after this. I’m feeling so good, I decide to join her. I’ve already shaken so many things loose today, why not go for 100?
We decide to go all in. The full spa experience. Massage chair, seaweed wrap, sugar scrub, paraffin wax, the whole nine yards. Treat yo’self! It’s 45 minutes of luxury, and I am blissed out. And as I watch the nail expert swipe bright red polish on my newly-pampered toes, I feel grateful.
Toe Tips engaged, check!
And I’m reminded again, that it’s not just about working out my body. It’s about taking care of my whole body. Including my mind and spirit. Engaging in a community. It’s also how I think about my body. Not just what I want to present to the world, but what I think of myself. How I treat myself. Essentially, how I honor myself. And that takes practice. And support. Baby steps.
First A then B, kiddo.
Solcana and the people there, helped me move my lips, swivel my hips, and polish my tips. Leaving a much happier, stronger, and more complete version of myself. Recharged and ready to give back to the world.
Not bad for an afternoon at the gym. Not bad at all.