I was not an athletic kid. I mean, I grew up in the 80s, so I rode my bike for miles all the time- alone! climbing and flipping around on rusty monkey bars were my norm. and I was always cartwheeling.
jennifer and jessica were the well-mannered darlings of my street. they were just a year or two older but held a confidence that commandeered what our playtime looked like. which turned into an obsession with who could do what kind of flip better. cartwheel, roundoff... one handed... no handed. the bossy sisters tolerated my sister and me to join them in their front yard on a daily basis for the express purpose of forming a 4 sister talent group. so many summer days were spent working out our routine. when we got good, we'd preform for the cars driving by. but really, our goal was to make it big... Star Search with Ed McMahon.
but that all stopped in 1985, when DeBarge released Rhythm of the Night. the cartwheels ended and the sisters ordered us to move our act into their garage to learn every word, every beat- cuz Ed preferred musical talent.
we never made it to Star Search. but thanks to jennifer and jessica, I still know all the words to that song. and I found a strength. I had a really strong core.
I never played any sports. (minus that one, humiliating summer playing church softball.) I wasn't against sports. I think my parents just thought I didn't need to be in them. which, honestly, ended up feeding into a belief that I wasn't good enough (more on that in a later post).
still, my core was my secret weapon. and it came in handy in middle school. our cafeteria had these red, shag-carpet-covered benches. they were circular and so the seatback created this volcano like dome in the center of the bench. the top of the volcano was flat and covered in red carpet. I don't know if they were made for arm wrestling, but that's what the kids used them for. and somehow, my tiny little 12 year old self started arm wrestling the other girls. I beat all of them. then the guys. except for maybe the 3 that already had mustaches, I beat them all. cuz, I knew how to use my core!
fast forward to my mid 20s. I had just moved into a cute, brand new apartment in Fort Ben. the YMCA was right across the street from me. and even though I was intimidated by athleticism, my desk job and office snacks were catching up with me. so I jumped into a group fitness class one night called mat pilates.
I was instantly in love. it was hard and challenging but I knew it was my thing because I got to depend on that strong connection I had with my core!
I went home to my partner at the time and told him I found a new exercise class- "it's called Pilots!" I kept going to pilots class. and I kept loving pilots class. somewhere, somehow I learned how it's actually pronounced.
pilates became my go-to. it's what I depended on for movement during pregnancy. it helped me find strength and healing after traumatic birth. emotionally, it became true self-care in helping me stay connected to myself during betrayals and breakups. mentally, my pilates practice was my safe space during dark, lonely times living in chaos in another country.
we're all on a growth journey. this movement method has been one of my favorite tools to finding my self. learning self-possession. shutting down self-doubt. I am strong. I'm an athlete. and I can fly my own damn plane.