Wednesday, December 17, 2008

I Found My Heart in San Fransisco?

Har har har.

But somewhat more seriously, as I was walking (slowly, slowly) up from aerial class today towards the MUNI stop, breathing in the cold fog and breathing out slightly warmer fog, considering eating the chocolates I had been given for christmas as dinner (they were delicious), I had one of those movie-homecoming moments. You know, the last scene of the movie that goes with the epilog of the heroine having found a home and a new life and going off to change the world? It just felt comfortable and right. Which is pretty awesome, since I didn't really feel at home in Chicago until the end of my second year or something like that. I think, in part, it is related to the fact that I am doing things that force me out into the city more often than I was in Undergraduate, and also because everyone here is super friendly. Like, whoah.

On the other hand, I went to a stretching class today. Trust me when I say it was seriously hard core. No intro to yoga class, this. As in, they nicknamed it contorture. It appealed to a somewhat older audience than the aerial class I usually take, I think, although I am uncertain as to why -- flexibility goes before strength does, at least as far as I knew.

I'm going to start by saying I am not a contortionist. There are people who are bendy, naturally, and there are people who build muscle mass naturally. I am fairly squarely in the latter category, given my gender and age. When I was a gymnast, I hated it when my coaches would push me into stretches, because it hurt. And I was still not as flexible as my little brother, no matter how much my coaches pushed and pulled and stretched. Now I am perhaps a little more flexible than my little brother (he stopped stretching, I didn't), but I have discovered that it still hurts. And, if I thought that the pushing my gymnastics or diving coaches would do was bad, it was mostly because I had never trained with contortionists. Ouch.



The moment when I realized that I simply cannot do this ever again was when I couldn't breathe because the coach was compressing my lungs against a balance beam (pulling my shoulders back), while critiquing me that I should stop holding my breath and just relax (oh right because that is a perfectly natural thing to do when your arms are being torn out of their sockets); "See? When I said that you stretched farther!" he said as I almost passed out. I should have perhaps said the safe word (you know a class is going to be bad when there's a safe word. It was "Papaya") but I would have felt like a wimp, and my stubborn determination in the face of pain in general serves me well (I will not say whether it served me well in that situation or not, I have not decided yet). Also I couldn't really choke anything out (no air, and all) and settled instead for shaking my head madly.

When I do aerial stuff, I feel challenged and pushed but not that I am trying to get my body to do something it absolutely positively was not made to do. This time, I felt like saying "No, I cannot do that, I have organs there."

I was unaware, up until today, that one could stretch so much one felt sore the next day. I'm worried that tomorrow I might not be able to walk. And this class came highly recommended, too!

I'm also wondering if stretching out my pike and not so much my bridge for years in diving has made my arch worse than the rest of me, which is another explanation for why I was thinking "this class is maybe pretty okay even though it hurts like none other, and it would be super useful to get more flexible" until they started stretching out our backs, when it turned into "O God O God I am in pain and I cannot breathe haallllppp!"

As if to make matters worse, a dancer dropped in to the aerial class who would have been a great contortionist. Part of me is really jealous of people who can bend like that, in part because I think that their poses look so much cooler and prettier than the ones I can do. This is only made worse after 1.5 hours spent undergoing huge amounts of pain in order to... not bend that much. I mean, really. Even just being able to do the splits would be nice. On the other hand, she couldn't really do a straddle-up, or climb the silks. And I think I would be much more disappointed if instead of being able to climb to the top of the silks (or ropes or lampposts or trees or what have you) I could, I dunno, put my leg behind my head, or kiss my foot without bending my knees.

Time for a hot shower and sleep. And fingers crossed that I can get out of bed tomorrow! It will be lucky if I can.

1 comment:

Alex said...

my response grew too long, and wandered a bit, and turned into this.