Thursday, February 02, 2012

unfitness, aerial and otherwise

It turns out that Wednesday night is a much more popular time to take Aerial Fitness than Saturday at 8:30 a.m. Saturday class = a half-dozen students and lots of individual attention from Rick and Rob. Rick is built like a gymnast and likes to say things like, “Open your legs, honey. If I had a nickel for every time I said that to a girl, I’d have a nickel.” Rob has a striped mohawk and likes to fall on the ground and pantomime swordfights.

Wednesday night = three classes going on simultaneously, a dozen Aerial Fitness students who all just happen to be at least six years younger and 15 pounds hotter than me, and instructions from the distracted teacher such as, “Foot lock—go!” Huh?

If the Saturday classes reminded me of my gymnastics years in a good way, Wednesday’s reminded me of them in a…less good way. There was always one rotation I kind of sucked at (then vault, now silks). There was always one teacher who was a little mean (I think I’ve blocked out my mean gymnastics teachers; but the mean-ish circus teacher was just grouchy, I think, because she had a knee injury from stilts).

Lately I’ve felt like a teenager in so many ways. I’m learning new things, which is good, but I also feel like I’m constantly getting it wrong, and every little thing sends me flying off the handle, which is…less good. When I was in my twenties, people always seemed to be talking about how, in your thirties, you’d have it all figured out. You’d just be so comfortable in your skin. There was a subtle implication that you would also own a home, have a fulfilling career, be in love with someone who always understood you and possibly have a really cute baby or two. It’s the myth of upward mobility in all senses of the phrase; it’s what they sell to middle-class twenty-somethings.

When I was in high school, people talked about how, in college, there was no such thing as the popular crowd. In college, you’d find your niche and be so comfortable in your own skin. Surely it was just a matter of writing for the school newspaper, right? That’s the myth they sell to nerdy teenagers.

(I know I should question the myths, and the class implications, and my own conflation of accomplishment and self-worth. I’ll add it to my Should List and get to it right after I wash the outside of the house [that I do not own].)

Eventually, I loved college. But first there was a year of secretly gorging myself on my roommate’s potato chips, dating my other roommate’s ex and incurring her wrath, and writing long sad letters to my parents (who lived five miles away). I did join the newspaper staff, but when I went to the Bruin’s end-of-the-year party, the only girl I really knew there vomited all over the table and passed out immediately. The only words spoken to me by the hilarious editor I really admired were: “So, like, what do you do for fun?” There was genuine bafflement in his voice, and I wondered too. Fun? I hadn’t really had any the whole year.

All I wanted to do at the end of the day yesterday was be good at something. I wanted to sneak into a beginning writing class and pretend to be a prodigy, not someone who’s been working her ass off for at least a dozen years. I wanted to call my sister in hopes that she’d had a bad day, so I could comfort her and she could tell me what a good sister I was. In the car on the way home from Aerial Fitness, I actually started singing the theme song from Cheers to myself, and I might have cried a little bit. It doesn’t get much classier than that.

What teenagers have to get them through the transition times is good skin (even the ones with terrible acne have beautiful skin; this is something you only notice when you turn thirty). What I have, I guess, is…maturity? And faith in the process of growth…? I guess? But I swear to god, if AK had a secret stash of potato chips, I would have eaten them all last night.

9 comments:

Nicole Kristal said...

What you have is an *awesome* dance party in your future. :-) (And plenty of friends who feel exactly the same way.)

Cheryl said...

Dancing is a good thing to be good at. Or at least being tipsy enough to think we're good. :-)

Claire said...

I've rewrittten my comment about 3 times because it keeps bumming me out.

Instead I'll say I really like that leaping cat and "hang in there, baby!" (You've seen that poster, right? Or am I dating myself?)

elliev said...

I'm pretty sure that it's the 40s where you just don't give a crap what anyone thinks anymore. At least that's what my friend Sue is always saying.

Do yourself a favor: embrace your 30s because they are truly the best years. When I hit 40, it was like an omen that things were going to go badly...there was something about it lurking about...

Unfortunately, I must report that there indeed have been good times, but as an example of what hasn't been good, try this one for size: I am sitting here with my leg up trying to nurse away my runner's knee and water-on-the-knee. I've got one big swollen knee, something I've never before had in my life.

I want my thirties back.

elliev said...

Cheryl,

Elliev is me...Stephanie..somehow it attached itself to my daughter's email.

:-)

stephsscribe.com

Una said...

Cheryl, I don't know if this will offer any consolation but just this morning I was thinking, "dang it, my 30s were rough." I'm not sure if they were rough compared to what I thought they were going to be or compared to how things are now but, there was a lot of unexpected turmoil. I think it being unexpected made it harder to befriend.

Cheryl said...

It offers much consolation. :-)

Jesi said...

eat some chocolate and have a good cry!

i thought it would get easier too, but since i've been diagnosed with a genetic mutation, BRCA2 (which means i have a higher chance of getting breast and ovarian cancer) i'm over it! i've had 7 doctor appointments in one month, and 2 more to go!!! and will for the rest of my life (unless i have certain things removed) have a yearly mammogram, MRI and ultrasound.

and this year i turn 40. have no house, no babies (my onc tells me i should of had babies yesterday, he's quite encouraging, isn't he?) but on the silver lining side of the clouds, i do have a b/f that i truly love and who truly loves me. he's been to most of my appointments. poor guy.

anyways, i will stop ranting, hang in there! i think you are awesome!!!

Cheryl said...

I'm sorry about the BRCA2. My mom died of ovarian cancer, so I have lots of heavy thoughts along those lines myself. I'm glad you're in love. Love isn't everything, except that it also sort of is.