WHY AM I SORE? A HALLOWEEN MYSTERY
By: Lauren Anderson
I use my body for a living.
Which of course, is a ridiculous thing to say. For many reasons, but the first is that DUH– we all use our bodies for a living. We need our bodies to live… for now. MWAH AH AH AH AH AH.
I guess until medical science catches up with science fiction and we’re all just talking brains in a jar on wheels– we are pretty much stuck inside the bodies we have. And we all pretty much need them for living.
But what I meant was, I don’t have a typical desk job. The kind of work where I could call in sick. I am not a professional athlete or a dancer, but I do sometimes get to play one. I am an actor.
And that life has me up on my feet and moving. I am usually doing some dancing or some falling or any number of things that that humans don’t normally do in their day-to-day.
Basically I could be tasked to do anything and everything with my body if it helps make compelling theatre and a great stage picture. OR to get a laugh. And I AM HERE FOR IT.
It can be taxing. It can be exhausting. It can be brutal.
And it’s all worth it!
Right now I am rehearsing to open one show at the BNW, while performing in another. The show that’s running right now has fight choreography and weapons and some pretty epic scenes.
I am playing a cult leader character in a show called “Incarnate” at the Twin Cities Horror Festival. This character runs around, swinging her fists in righteous indignation or offering her arms up in prayer. It’s a bold fun character to play, and I am so happy I got to do it.
So, cut to the other day.
I wake up and I am sore. Like, super sore.
I’ve been pretty used to this feeling lately because of my recent butt injury, which is healing nicely by the way! Except the soreness was not in that sweet spot this time.
It was somewhere new– My shoulders.
This is a mystery. I haven’t taxed my shoulders at the gym in a while. I haven’t fallen down and landed on my shoulders…that I can recall. Hmmmm. What the hell?
I walk around all day wondering and I keep coming up without a clue.
What’s this? Is there a Halloween mystery afoot? What could it be?
And then I do another show. And then another. And I keep waking up sore.
For some reason it’s not registering in my thick skull that the two things could be correlated. But on the third day of rehearsal in a row, right before we open the show for the festival, I get into a “prayer” position and I realize I have my arms extended out into the air. Muscles flexed and arms pulsing.
And then it donned on me, that I do this kind of movement for almost the whole show. (I’m the cult leader after all… I mean how else am I supposed to sway the lost masses?)
Well D’OY ANDERSON.
Mystery solved! No wonder my arms/shoulders are tired and sore.
It’s like a full arm workout and I didn’t even realize it.
Okay… so maybe it’s not the Halloween Caper that I advertised in my byline, BUT! It is spooky how much I can take my body for granted. And not realize all that I force it to do in a day.
When I workout, I try to be very present and grateful with my body. Thanking it for all that it does, and even for showing up in the first place. It has been an important part of me getting myself to work out and keeping myself safe at the gym. I am hyper aware. I am extra safe.
So, it’s downright ghoulish that I don’t do this when I need my body to do any number of extraordinary things during the day. I fling it all around and smash it on the ground. Or keep my arms above my head for an hour in a manic pulsing– and I didn’t even warm up, or cool down.
That’s not very safe practice. Whether I’m being an actor or an athlete.
How could I have been so obtuse?
So the next couple of days, I went in and did some actual warming up. Some stretches and what not. Specifically moves that I learned from the coaches at Solcana.
This had made all the difference. I am also taking a moment to cool down after the shows. Just as I would for a workout. I keep laughing at myself because it all seems so obvious now, I am shocked and amazed I wasn’t correlating it before.
Because even though they are different, in both instances I am using my body in an extreme way. And that kind of movement demands more attention on my part. Now, I am being careful with my body on stage, just as I would in the gym, and my body is thanking me for it.
I think this observation is interesting, especially because it highlights another way I was taking my body for granted. And I know from this long road of discovery that I have been a “floating head” for most of my life. Meaning I didn’t give my body much thought. I was always trying to divorce myself from it. And live life from the neck up.
Like my own very strange Sci-Fi tale, only the real monster was me.
And because of that long history, it is still crucial for me to find new opportunities to loop my full body into the conversation. And I have to do it intentionally, otherwise I’ll forget.
No matter where I go, or what I’m doing.
I am my body, and my body is me.
* * *
I was recently in line the other day,waiting to get food in the skyway, and the lady in front of me recognized me for working at the Brave New Workshop. She said, “Oh we just love your shows– we go all the time!”
I blush and I thank her. This kind of stuff always makes my day.
Then she goes, “But I just have one question–how do you have so much energy?”
And I laughed. Cause you would be shocked at how often I get this question.
Then I responded, “CrossFit and Adrenaline. And maybe just a dash of hope.”
And then she laughed.