Have you ever had one of those moments when you’re looking at your body in the mirror with familiar, resigned despair and you suddenly think ‘that’s enough!’ It’s a moment of acknowledging that there has been too much indulgence and it’s gone beyond ‘starting to show’. I’ve been there many times. It’s horrible. The moment had come, once again, to take the situation in hand.
Have you ever walked into an exercise class and been the only one who looks as though she needs to be there? It’s intimidating. Here are 8 women with perfect bodies. Did I say perfect? No these bodies have transcended perfection. They are in that unattainable realm beyond perfection. It’s the realm that requires no sarong over a swimming costume. It’s the realm that gives men a dose of aphrodisia and women a dose of devil eyed envy. I don’t know what that realm is called. Despite my best efforts I’ve never been even close to it. The thing that has been allowed to happen to my body over the last few months or years shouldn’t happen to anyone’s body ever. It’s bad.
If I looked like these women with their peachy little kumquat butts I wouldn’t do any exercise. It occurred to me that it would take four of their bums to make up the mass of mine. My thighs are four times their size, at least. In fact I, as a body mass, I account for four of their bodies. But, there’s the rub, you see. Though I may have exaggerated a person or two; (maybe I account for two of them), it does occur to me that they look so amazing because they come to this class. So, if I keep coming to class I shall also, one day, have a peachy little kumquat of a bum. Well, kumquat might be too ambitious; I’m African, after all. But, nothing ventured, nothing gained. I’m going for it. If I keep this up I will one day be a quarter of the size I am now and people will tell me that I’m too thin – words I haven’t heard since I was 8 yrs old. Words that I will thoroughly enjoy hearing.
The emotional lacerations of the last couple of years that led to the retrenchment of my will to work out or eat healthily or avoid pouring copious amounts of divine red wine down my throat are beginning to heal. The love of self that expends when all of those who are supposed to love you, gang up on you to collectively plunge their combat knives into your psyche; to defile, agitate and vitiate your sense of self and security; to scream their hatred with thunderous vitriol, is starting to return.
It feels like one will simply expire from grief. I really felt that I would die of a broken heart and a ruptured spirit. I was paralysed. But, though I still have a way to go, it looks like I may survive. Under the care and love of those who have no obligation to love me, but do so anyway, I have regained enough self-esteem to be horrified by the fact that I can no longer zip up my jeans.
I have had three different teachers so far. I have attended six classes so far and I’m loving it. The first teacher is a sweet natured, cheery kumquat butt who channels Kelly Clarkson. While she counts the fifth set of ten deep muscle grinding, work-the-burn drills she bursts into singing “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger – work a little harder – stand a little taller.” It makes me smile through the burn. It’s also a good reminder to my psyche that none of what happened has killed me. I will be stronger physically and emotionally and I will not expire just yet.
The second of my teachers is a washboard bodied kumquat butt. She talks like a French ballet mistress and waves her arms about gracefully, her fingers always extended. She paused in front of me while I struggled to balance, tuck my tail under, pull my belly button in and extend my core with one leg suspended above the bar and both arms extended above my head, supporting leg soft at the knee. Her eye travelled from my head to my toes. I suspect she resisted the temptation to shake her head. Her expression spoke of ‘our work is cut out for us here’, but then she smiled and told me, ‘You’re doing good. Good work’.
My third teacher is a concave kumquat who looks like her flesh is chasing her bones. Her butt has those little dips in the side. Her stomach tends inwards. She has a penchant for pirouetting and high kicking, which she does as though they are involuntary spasms. She comes over to correct my stance and tells me. ‘You’re amazing. You’ve got this.’ Or when I stop because I simply cannot stand the burn a moment longer she tells me, ‘It’s ok to take a break. You’re building the muscle’. They are so kind and encouraging to the only heifer in the class.
So the new zenith of my body ambition is to have a peachy, Kumquatesque Butt.