I fell in love with ‘Physical Exercise’ at 13.
Specifically, martial arts.
I always used to be the girl at school who came up with every possible plot under the sun to get out of P.E lessons.
I couldn’t think of anything worse than standing outside in the cold playground, in those unflattering shorts, standing there looking like a wotsit, comparing myself to all the ‘sporty’ kids who always did great in class.
Don’t get me wrong, I could’ve easily been one of those kids who did great in P.E. class.
But I used to let my introverted self shy away from it, and sit out on the side while I journaled in my note pad.
And the weirdest thing? Despite all those ‘sickies’ I’d pull, and acts I’d play out to sit on the sidelines as if I were invisible, I still found myself in the Karate dojo 5, even 6 times a week.
It was my life. No exaggeration.
Each night after school I’d slip on my ninja suit, and race to the dojo to do what I loved most. And slowly that uncomfortable, heavy feeling that swallowed me up at school, started to disappear.
I made my way up the belt rankings with pride. Gave it my all in competitions and set myself the goal of representing the county.
Then without warning, my back went.
I couldn’t walk. It scared the life out of me.
All that time dedicated to the art of Karate then all of a sudden, I was left with nothing but an awkward ‘trying to walk’ kinda walk, a screwed up face in agony, and my duvet to cuddle.
I felt lost without the thing I loved most. Like my heart had been ripped out of my chest.
If that’s what heartbreak feels like, that was my first experience of it!
And it was then I realised that I was relying on something external to make me feel good – so I had to find a way to get that happy spark I had every time I tied that black belt around my waist, back.
So I got help to walk again without a scrunched up face and move freely, by hiring a pro.
And without even realising, I was about to make one of the best decisions I’d ever make. Ever.
You see, during my Karate days, something pretty bad happened in my life, we all have a story right? Anyway, It’s not something I’m going to go into too much detail on, but it was pretty dark…
…and even though my bad back stopped me from walking – you could say happened at the right time.
And that actually, I’m grateful it did.
Cos’ even though I had a burning passion for the sport, it was also a distraction from what was really going on – which is why without it, felt hard and even stressful!
And I needed to deal with that…
So fast forward a bit to when I got back on my feet – and I found the barbell.
HALLELUYAH (don’t judge that’s the way I feel like spelling it).
I discovered a mad love for the olympic bar and doing cool movements with my bodyweight – and for me, (with some extra stuff added in of course), movement became one of my most powerful forms of emotional healing.
The physical effort I put in at the gym (even to this day) I realised was more than just stress relief, it was clearing.
The negativity and pain that I’d let build up inside me, sat heavy on my heart, mind and soul. Which meant it was challenging, if not near impossible to actualise change mentally when I was weighed down by all of this stuff suffocating me.
Which is why I’m so crazy about my movement routine and won’t let anyone tell me otherwise.
The grounding of my physical exertion helped my let go of the darkness, allowing me to feel truly happy in myself, grounded, and realise I had the choice to be in control of how I felt.
Now I know there’s many ways to heal like laughing your head off, Yoga, talking, and other forms of meditation, basically whatever feels good to you – so I’m not preaching this is the only way.
But for me, focusing on deep breathing, which in turn enhances movement, and lifting up heavy things and putting them down with ease helps me to be my best self and be the authentic me I aim to be, everyday.
My exercise time, is my time to focus on me.
It’s a time to zone out, energise without feeling dead after the gym, and contributes to the relentless pursuit of self-growth and awareness.
The barbell sits there, not wanting anything, or expecting anything of me. It’s a simple tool that can only be lifted up, and put back down, and show that you can reach crazy potential when you zone in on it.
It’s zen for me. And that’s why I’m also so excited to get to the gym early doors, or stretch before my day begins. Because it boosts myself mentally, and keeps me moving forward.
So that’s my thannnng.
My ‘Jam’ At The Moment:
The Head and The Heart – Rivers and Roads