When I was younger and a “Serious Dancer,” ie, still believing that I was destined to make it my life’s work, my dance friends would have mini-competitions.
Like, who could hold the six-inch killer the longest? Because I have a competitive streak a mile wide, I always made sure I won. Or at least tied. I think we got up to a good 3 minutes, which at the time felt like a world record but I’m sure was nothing. Of course, now, there’s not a snowball’s chance that I could last that long.
Those killers progressed into wings (think Gregory Hines). As in, how many of those could we do in a row.
Then fouettes en tournant, as in the Black Swan’s 32.
And then toe touches when I morphed into a cheerleader for a year. (Sidenote: What was I thinking? Even at 13, I was too jaded and world-weary for such spiritedness.)
Starting in those oh-so important tween years and then into my teens, I made it my life’s work to get my high kicks higher, my chaine turns faster, my jams jammier. (We had a hip hop class, which is worth a post onto itself).
All this to say that I have always pushed myself physically. I didn’t lack for motivation. There was always this internal voice telling me to not just be the best me, but to be the best period.
That seemed to end around my senior year of high school. I stopped the hard-core dancing and put on some weight, which made me pretty self-conscious.
Cut to college and the Freshman Fifteen. They never tell you about the Sophomore Sixteen. Or the Junior Just a Bit More. Or the Senior Seventeen.
Complacency replaced the ambition, cake the carrot. And so on.
I was still dancing, but it was a struggle. I had found my emotional center and artistic confidence, but I couldn’t carry it out through my limbs anymore.
Once, I fell onstage, lurching into the wings to hide the gaffe, but not soon enough. One of the other, unkind dancers snickered. I think that was the moment I gave up mentally.
In adulthood, I’ve half-heartedly tried several times to find the motivation to push myself. It has always been fits and starts.
Now I know why. Of course, the youthful energy is gone, like so many fouettes and toe touches. And because of MS fatigue, there’s no energy reservoir to pull from. I can do low-impact exercises for a few minutes at a time, but I have to pace myself.
I’m starting from way behind the gate. It’s not an enviable spot.
I wonder what would happen if I were to be on The Biggest Loser. Probably faceplant on the treadmill on Day 1. Followed by a quick succession of failures at pretty much every other
rigorous torture act exercise thrown my way.
And how exactly would super-trainer Jillian Michaels, she of the “Bully” muscle T, handle me? Not with kid gloves, I’m sure.
She’d scream and badger and demean, all in a vain attempt to
get ratings motivate.
I want to feel bad for those Biggest Loser contestants. But they knew what they were getting into.
Were they motivated?
Unlikely. Motivation can’t be browbeaten into a person. It’s either there or it isn’t. And only that person can summon it if it’s gone.
Not Jillian Michaels.
That means there likely won’t be six-inch killers in my future. But maybe there doesn’t need to be.