WOOHOOOOOO I'VE GONE 10 DAYS STRAIGHT TODAY!!!
I'm so, so happy that I decided to give barre another shot with Ballet Barre Works after a less-than-stellar experience with another studio here in Calgary. Not that the experience was bad - it definitely could have been worse - but I wasn't getting what I wanted out of it for the money. A friend of my brother's whom I've known for several years recommended BBW a few months back and so I decided to try a class. My first class ever was a Barrebelles class with the studio's owner, Kalyn, and typically when you meet the big boss on the first day it either goes swimmingly or sinkingly. (I don't care sinkingly isn't a word - remind me to turn off this stupid Grammarly plugin.) Well, for someone who can't swim, it was the former :P Kalyn is the sweetest, funniest teacher and she actually remembers everyone's names. No one does that anymore. I've probably been taught by four or five other teachers and my experience has remained positive across the board. Honestly. The women who come to these classes have a contagious positivity about them too and many have been attending this studio for years. There's a real community here and it's welcoming to newcomers and encouraging to everyone who wants to push themselves. It's very hard to find communities like this in my city. It's a transient place for its size, and to be quite frank, the groups that do exist are cliquey. I don't know if that's just my experience as a millennial mid-20s hipster who isn't a size 2 or white (even though I dress the part in the size I do fit as a proud medium). But often when the more developed of a marketing scheme is in place for these various fitness, and even interest groups around town (especially when we're looking strictly at how these assemblies present themselves online and in real-time via social media) the less inclusive they actually turn out to be.
This is all aside from the fact that I'm actually learning a new skill at almost 25 that never in a million years did I think I could do: ballet. I don't have a ballerina body type and never will, and 10-15 classes in I still can't turn my feet out properly because my calves are so huge. Over time, however, I'm showing up to these classes and watching my body do things I never thought it could. I'm watching myself bend and stretch and turn out in ways I didn't think were physically possible for me, and it gets easier every day. The first 6 days were killer. I've had a soft tissue injury in my left knee for more than half my life and pliés can be hard on the most limber of joints. I take modifications as I need, since my goal is to make it to the end of this month with at least 30 classes done. Pulling through is what counts. I see a personal trainer twice a week and I try to show up for yoga when I can, too. Training and barre in the same day is exhausting, and I'm finding that training hinders my barre progress. Whether I'm doing legs, back, or shoulders, I can barely lift the little three-pounders by the time I show up to class. But as an added benefit, training and yoga themselves are getting easier now that I've committed to barre. I can hold poses longer in yoga with healthier formation. There was a time not very long ago that I'd do one yoga class and be sore for several days after. Now I look forward to it (especially after training) for the ways it can stretch me out safely. Same thing with training, my posture and formation are stronger and more properly aligned. And I don't hurt anymore. I hurt when I'm sitting on my ass for hours watching youtube videos and eating cake, so I don't do that. I try to stay on my feet for the rest of the day when I'm not working out. This challenge has helped my sleep, my diet, my mood, and the overall balance in my life which is integral when I'm trapped in my head all the time and I don't have school or work to give me a primary focus. It's so easy to end up drowning in the dragging hours, and it's so important to make your days count, hours count, and seconds count. Eight seconds is a long time when you're getting your butt blasted. Even longer when it happens at the barre. ;)
I was on the phone with a friend after my first 2 or 3 classes at BBW and we concluded that I had become an evangelical barrestar. I was telling him about the cult following of CrossFit, and while I'm not one of those followers I do have a pretty involved fitness schedule, especially considering that my workout commitments were pretty flaky before. Now I'd discovered barre and I just wanted to go everyday. Then a few days later the challenge was announced and I became the happiest little wannabe ballerina ever :) I honestly didn't realize in that first week how I sounded talking about barre nonstop. I told all my friends, my family, anyone I was having a conversation with knew I had started barre and I was hooked. But for all intents and purposes, barre has changed my life. I move from thing to thing in my life pretty fluidly. I'm a pretty typical victim of the millennial curse of indecision, and it's never a good enough job, boyfriend, study program, hairstyle, outfit, whatever - to hold my attention for long enough to commit. I haven't done anything in a very long time that's made me feel so many great things just by showing up. At this stage of my life, embarking on the simultaneous journeys out into the world and into my deeper self, I'm constantly finding new ways to show up for myself and seeing more that life has to offer. Barre lets me do that. It's fun. It's challenging. It allows me to watch myself grow. It allows me to be a part of something bigger and better than just myself. I truly believe that BBW sets the standard for what all women's group fitness collectives should be. Inclusive, encouraging, challenging, fun, and incredibly rewarding. It's worth every drop of my sweat that ungracefully pours onto my mat, every second that I struggle through a deadly leg series, and every cent of my money that I've put into my passes so far. I'll continue to support this studio well after my time in this city is done. "You are so strong," they tell us. Now I can actually believe it. <3