THINKING OUTSIDE THE BOX
By: Lauren Anderson
We’re in line for warm ups. Stretched before us is a ladder rope thingy on the floor that we can hop through, then a big hard box, then a soft box to hop on. Then a series of other boxes. It’s all hopping and jumping.
Coach Kaitlin is skillfully walking us through it. I don’t have fear like I normally do when people ask me to jump. Maybe because it’s too early still, and my brain hasn’t caught up yet. Maybe it’s because I’m at the gym on a weekend and my body thinks it’s the apocalypse.
So yes, to answer your question, I’m back at the gym on another inexplicable Saturday morning with my account-abili-buddy Maureen. I am still trying to wrap my head around the fact that I might be a weekend warrior after all.
You guys, I think I love it. I know! I was surprised too.
The energy! The people! The fact that Maureen goes and holds me accountable. These are all things that can’t be denied. And here’s something extra psychological that might be at play for me– It feels like an extra commitment. Like, because it’s the weekend, I am REALLY saying to myself that the gym is important to me.
It almost feels like it’s my tiny way of saying, “Hey body. I love you enough to choose you over my warm bed.”
And that’s something. But let’s not get it twisted. It’s only been a few times so far… so we’ll see if this new time slot sticks, and is not just the shiny new thing. But so far so good. So so good.
At any rate–I’m here. And we’re in a box jumping line up. For X amount of minutes we are to do this obstacle course of big ups and almost no downs. And the buzzer goes.
I bounce through the ladder and then get to my first box. It was a bigger box on it’s side, but when I usually pick boxes, I tend to go for the smaller ones. And I do something called Step Ups. Still intentional. Still a workout. And they are what you work on to get to jumping eventually.
Truthfully? I’ve got no ups. I am of the Earth.
And I’ve never jumped successfully outside of that one time with Coach Jenn many months ago. (See blog post entitled “Make It To Jump Street”)
I don’t know what came over me, but in the spirit of Saturday, I decided to try to jump it.
FAIL. Failure. I bashed my shin into the side of the box and the rest of my body kind of flopped over the top. It hurt. And it hurt my ego. I could feel all that good Saturday Morning juju drain out of me. My cheeks flushed. I quickly snaked my aching body off the box, so the people behind me could give it a go. But I was upset.
A mood swing so deep it could give any hormonal imbalance a run for it’s money. I was feeling up, so I tried to jump. I failed, so body and my mood came crashing down.
I told Coach Kaitlin that I couldn’t jump those boxes. Coach quickly set up some plates for me to step up onto instead. I was grateful.
I don’t know if you’re like me, but sometimes when I have to lick my wounds, it’s best if I keep moving. Like one time I got into a fight with my boyfriend at a club, and instead of crying and sulking, I went onto the dance floor and DANCED OUT MY FEELINGS.
Yes, I’ll wait until you finish laughing…
As dorky as that sounds, it helped. So I kept going with the warm up, even though I felt like crawling into my purse and waiting until the gym closed to come out.
I kept moving. And by the time I was on track to jump the boxes again, the plates were there for me to choose instead. And my shin hurt, but I could tell it would just be a little bruise. What worried me more was my ego.
Because here’s the real stuff. I don’t like to jump, because it’s a reminder of how big my body is. And it’s not usually a happy reminder. It’s a tough one.
I am strong, and when I can stay on the ground, I feel strong and grounded. When I lift weights, I feel connected to the ground, and I can feel us working together. It’s almost poetic. I push down into the Earth, and the ground pushes back up to support me. Power.
But when I’m asked to leave the ground, and physics requires me to propel my big body into space, I lose that powerful connection to the ground. And to get my body up in the sky (if only by an inch or two) takes incredible force. So much force, that the strength that I am usually so proud of, feels at once anemic. Because it’s not enough strength to do what I want it to do.
And it feels like the one thing I am proud of about my body- the strength… gets taken away.
Not to mention, when I land, I can feel the extra strain. I feel out of control. I feel weak. I feel vulnerable. Like the unwieldy nature of being in the air, will somehow hurt me, because I can’t control my landing.
Woof. That’s a lot huh? I don’t think I’ve ever sussed that out before now. But I’m tearing up as I write this, so perhaps I’m on to something here.
I know it’s only jumping, but all that plays out in my brain. When I first started Solcana, I was afraid to jump rope. Now I can do that no problem. I still don’t like how my body feels when I do it, but the fear is gone.
Warm ups were over, and we moved onto weightlifting. I did push presses and bench presses, and I felt powerful once again. During the Met Con, there were more box jumps on the docket. Still feeling the sting in my shins, I knew better this time.
I picked the right size box for where I’m at. And I did step ups. And with each step up, I thought about the power it takes to propel a body like mine onto the small box, and then down again.
And something strange happened. In the meditation of the movement, instead of feeling angry with my body for having no ups, I started thanking my body for doing all that it can. And even though it was a grueling, huff and puff 12 minutes… Every time I lifted my body, I could feel my spirit lift as well.
In essence, I danced it out. Or rather, stepped it out on that small box.
I may not be attempting a box jump again anytime soon. But I am thankful for the lesson.
It is good to push myself, and I’m glad I attempted a jump. And I’m glad I finally got to the bottom of why jumping is this weird, hard thing for me. I will keep stepping up until I’m ready to try jumping again.
In the meantime, I will meet my body where it is at. And be thankful for what it can do NOW.
With that intentional gratitude to ground me, it feels like I can fly.