Friday, October 23, 2015
Rolling on the Floor with Fat People
I should have been suspicious of any activity that requires me to be poorly dressed and voluntarily on the floor. To get myself out of my comfort zone and experience new things, I have been telling myself to say “Yes!”, so I agreed to partake in what was called yoga/couch potato stretching with some people from my church. Although I do not watch TV, I do read on my couch with a frequency I could keep hidden if it weren’t for my FitBit weekly report. And while I like to believe if I were a potato, I would be a great one (perhaps twice-baked), a tater is still a tater so I said, “Sure”. It was held at the Southern California Dance Academy and, as I danced more than most Baptists while in college, I felt I would reasonably fit in. Ah, delusion.
I arrived at the appointed location and time to find the small building filled to capacity with leotard-ed toddlers and tweens. I immediately retreated to my car to wait for my friends to show up. Bear in mind I am wearing (with extreme irony) running shorts and a t-shirt. I did not wear a Spanx undershirt because I felt it might lead to some sort of internal organ damage should I twist inappropriately, as I am wont to do. When bereft of my foundation garment, the excess skin from my weight loss tends to hang in an ineffective manner. By ineffective I mean assisting in the illusion that my body is shaped normally when in reality it appears to be melting with a decidedly laissez-faire gait and path.
The back row of the class consisted of four men from my church, plus me and a strange young man who may have inadvertently wandered in as he was ill-prepared both by his outfit and lack of mat/towel. The front row held three actual ballerinas, one normal woman and Jeff! who was Super! Pumped! to be there. Based on the size, shape and motor skills of the inhabitants of my row, the class could have been called “Rolling on the Floor with Fat People”, but I digress.
We lie down on mats purchased expressly for this purpose. Sadly they were not for napping as we did on very similar mats in kindergarten. Once we were prostrate, I looked up and only then realized the entire wall was mirrors. Quelle Horror! Not only am I being viewed in clothing that leaves me feeling vulnerable especially with so few discernable seams, I am directly behind a ballerina who couldn’t be more than twelve and I’m not being sarcastic about her age; I think she was literally twelve. As waves of self-loathing threatened to sweep over me I again took notice of those in my row. This is what winning looks like, y’all.
The chirpy gentleman in the teacher’s role, I will call him Snape as he is pure evil (not really), starts talking to us about how this is low-impact conditioning. And in the beginning moments it wasn’t too bad. However, as we made our way through the motions, I felt a bit like Judd Nelson from The Breakfast Club, on the back row with attitude, eye-rolling, a little smack talk and what can only be described as a smoker’s cough.
Snape asked us to lift our legs but only about six inches off the floor. Then he said to hold them there as long as we could. I was about to reach my breaking point when he said, “For those who feel advanced enough, feel free to scissor your legs while keeping the height.” I thought he was surely joking as my yoga-neighbors had begun to collapse around me. However, the young man to the left of the old man began scissoring his ridiculously in-shape legs, grinning like a 14 year-old Eastern Bloc gymnast on her first trip outside of “Mother Country”. I could see his smile as I had long ago given up on the lifting of the legs to scan the room and rest from all this impact.
Snape walks alongside me and encourages me back down onto the floor and then asks me to elevate my pelvis, which was alarming. I followed his instructions but apparently not to a sufficient degree so he grabs my pelvis pulling it into the air encouraging me to “Lift your hips higher! Clench your buttocks tighter! Stop growling!” To be honest, the growls were involuntary and not so much as a way to communicate my displeasure but more a way for my body to tell the world I am not who I appear to be (i.e., reasonably in shape).
Do you remember the Stretch Armstrong dolls from the 1980s? You could stretch his goo-filled limbs and he would typically return to previous form. However, if you stretched him too hard, too far or one too many times, he did not return to his original shape and you would just cut his hand off and squeeze out the goo. At least according to my cousin Jody. To save whomever is my handler the trauma of having to cut off an appendage and squeeze out the goo, I have decided to refrain from further stretching other than my paycheck ‘til the end of the month and the occasional truth for entertainment purposes. It’s for the best, y’all.
And that’s all I’m saying for now.