Monday, March 23, 2020

Familiar and Not, Awkward and Not...

As most communities I’m a part of are doing/being, our CrossFit box has moved into virtual spaces to take our practices, our community, into a safe place to be and do what we are and do together. Facebook live at first, then the more stable (I’ve found, at least) platform of Zoom. About 8-9 days into this journey, we’ve landed in a well-detailed coaching-communicating plan, two regular Zoom invites a day, with a smattering of other coach-invited workouts via Zoom. Some of us are finding a new ‘normal’ in this virtual environment, allowing CF peeps into our home spaces, home workout rooms, and welcoming the coaching voice of encouragement, direction, guidance. Others are not finding their ways there, for reasons of their own. As it should be…invitation, not obligation is one of the mantras of my life overall. Each of us can be members of this gym community without finding our own preferences corralled into new containers we do not choose.

And yet...I’m curious...learning…

What is it about the Zoom invitation, the virtual space, seeing the faces and spaces of my CF peeps that feels familiar, welcome, that makes a difference in the flow of my day?

What is it that feels awkward (someone else’s word that I am taking on as my own too…), or shy, or difficult?

The prospects of having no access to my CrossFit life threw me into a bit of a tailspin 10 days ago. The energy probably spurred me into braving into the possibilities the most. I love the rhythms of my life and how I get to feel in my body because of the workout rhythms, health-re-education practices, camaraderie and shared laughter, learning. I am a better ‘me’ at home with Brian because of this…so…I was already a prime candidate to withstand some ‘new’, ‘shy’, ‘awkward’ in order to receive the benefits I’ve come to cherish by working out in community, with challenge and encouragement both.

The first jarring thing for me was, yes, seeing my own face and body ‘on screen’, knowing others were seeing this too. I don’t know for certain, but I suspect this is a first sizeable hurdle for the women I know. Even up to two years ago, I could hardly look at my form in the mirror when I got out of the shower. I would avert my eyes, usually with a sense of shame, ‘not measuring up’…either to an impossible Photoshopped ideal or to my own internalized voices I inherited from my family’s motherline, which largely disdained and criticized (our) women’s bodies. So…challenge and opportunity here.

To enter into Zoom regularly and with ease, more women are going to have to become more aware and more intentional about personally claiming their own faces and their own bodies as beautiful, just as they are, no matter what.

I know, I know…I rolled my eyes for decades about the invitation to consider myself beautiful, but, with my crooked smile and my particular quirks, it is an important part of my own sense of belonging now that I consider myself beautiful, every day.  Yes, says the woman who couldn’t do this until about 2 years ago, when I was 207 lbs and accepting my body precisely as it was. Now? For two years, I have simply refused to let toxic culture rob me of this delight every morning. My form is my own, and I have learned again and again to love its shape, no matter what. At my heaviest, at my lightest. I don’t know what pounds I am these days, but to be honest, I don’t give a rat’s ass about it. I’m beautiful just as I am, and I get to practice this awareness on a Zoom screen now too.

The irony here makes me smile too. The only thing new here is my facing myself, again and again. Coaches and peeps always see my face and my body when I come to the gym. There should be no more new awkward or new embarrassment from outside of myself. In that setting, I simply didn’t have to be aware of it, constantly, when I was going about my workout and our general rhythms, in person. So the only person who has any issue with ‘being seen’ on a Zoom screen, then, is me. I don’t look any different than I did 10 days ago to my CF peeps.

Interesting that I went straight for awkward for me as the first horse out of the gate. What I love about the Zoom invitation workout…? There is a familiarity I cherish—Lori, Michelle, Megan, Melissa…with new faces that can come, like Dustin this morning. I miss Attiga, Wendy, Kate, Jim. I miss learning from Jim while we’re tending to strength portions of the wko. I miss the chatter and banter during warm-up. I find myself wondering if we might all get so attuned that we could allow the unmuting, as we get adept at this…? It would mean no music on during your workout, and those with kids might prefer the mute function. I don’t usually have music and my dog can get bothersome for me but she’s quiet, for the most part.

I love the accountability of the 8 a.m. schedule, working out BEFORE I’ve had any food for the day. SUCH a difference from previous early months, seasons! I used to get scared my body wouldn’t have enough ‘fuel’ for the workout, and I’d get light-headed or weak. I may get light-headed or weak, of course, but now I just know it means Fran or Annie or Grace.

Voices and faces still connect me energetically into the community, which makes a difference for me too. I can feel this by who I’m missing seeing, even though we didn’t talk a lot before. Candy, if you do decide to join in, then I’ll unmute and yell your name, just like we always do, (Norm).

I’m sure there will be more to come, as we go, but for now…a good day.

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