My legs hurt. All of them. From my creaking hip joints to my knees which cry out in pain whenever I sit down on a chair or get up, to my overstrained calves, to the toe I stubbed hard on the floor yesterday. It’s all because of capoeira. Mind, this is not the post where I dramatically announce that I am giving up because it’s too hard. There’s no going back after I got those fancy new sweatpants the other day. However, it is too hard. The classes leave me battered and hurting in places I thought could only hurt if I joined the army. During class, I’m hardly ever not dizzy or gasping for air. Well, maybe during the final stretch, where I’m standing on the edge of the roda immobilized with fear of going in and actually putting what I’ve been practising to some real use.
The most important thing I have learned so far is not to push myself or to discover my limitations and learn to circumvent them. What I’ve learned is that I am very, very weak, and very, very soft, and capable of very, very little physically. And also, I have discovered anew the thing that this one woman on this one blog put so extremely well:
There are so many ways of saying it (plump, heavy, chubby, overweight, curvy, huggable, geared for childbirth even), but why bother? I feel like Fatty McLarderson, and every time I come to class I’m reminded of every single extra kilogram or centimetre that I’m lugging around on my stupid childbearing hips, because I need to lift all of it up in the air or swing it around, or do push ups with it. Even if I could only do three push ups a month ago, and can do twenty now. Even if some of those initial centimetres are gone. Even if my form in the basic movements has improved, and sometimes when the instructor comes up to us as we’re practising in pairs, it’s not me he is coming to talk to. Even if I’ve introduced strict rules of exercising every day of the week, and only break them every so often (I’ll do some of it as soon as I’m done writing, I swear). I’m still somewhere in the vicinity of square one.
I’m only writing this post, which is very much in the style of this blog two years ago, and much less appropriate now, to remind myself where I stand (incidentally, that headstand has been evading me ever since I bragged about it). To remember that I will go on, and I will practice, and I will see a doctor about those knees, and I will drag myself to the other end of town four times a week for class, but there’s a solid chance I’ll never be good at it.
I’m in a crappy mood today. My dreams were tiresome and sticky, and by the time I’d kicked myself out of bed, my mood was settled, and nothing I did made it any better. Some of the things that made me mad and impatient today were:
– work (not enough, too much, uncreative, overwhelming),
– lunch (all wrong, and then I had too many sweets),
– my looks (to be crowned the Queen of Fat soon, stay tuned),
– the cats (destructive, noisy and spoiled),
– our winter vacation (expensive and potentially dangerous),
– me (whiny, neurotic, useless, self-absorbed).
And then we went for dinner and groceries with my parents, and there were Christmas trees in shop windows and a Santa Claus on my father’s Coke bottle. And I realized it will be Christmas very soon. It’s mid-November already, and in my mind, summer has just ended. That did nothing to improve my state. The end.
This season they’re wearing skinny faded-gray jeans with wide, flowing tops. A very hate-provoking combination, seeing as skinny jeans make me look like a walking ham (nobody likes gray ham), and flowing tops on me either become figure-hugging (healthy full figure it is, huggable indeed) or resemble a sack underneath which things are happening. I am sitting in a cafe downtown and pretending to be working on my term paper on pejorative nouns in Polish dialects. Instead, I find myself applying those nouns to every girl in a dress and leggings that walks past me.
Umberto Eco had a reason to write his On Ugliness to go with his earlier work, On Beauty. These two do indeed always go together. Just look at more or less any group of girls in the street. I always feel like the one who is there to reflect the others’ beauty. The gargoyle against the breathtaking Gothic spire. The one who dressed in what was on the floor in the morning in a surge of what’s-the-use-trying self-pity. To be honest, self-pity is a big part of my day. It has its own drawer in the office, so to speak.
The only people who have ever thought me beautiful were either married or directly related to me. My first love used to tell me I was pretty, but feigned surprise when a belt he’d pick up would fit around my waist. ‘Why, you are slender enough! Why do you look so chubby then?’ Those were the days when I was actually much slimmer than today for virtue of being sixteen. In the two following years, during our difficult long-distance relationship, I grew many a protective layer. When we met again in person, ‘You did gain weight’ were his greeting words. Of course, it’s not just the weight, rather, weight is the vanguard of all the things that are wrong, easiest to pick on.
The rest of the world’s population usually pick their words more carefully, all said with love, with the political correctness of today’s world, so full of deformity that it is becoming the new form, and everyone avoids speaking up on pretty much any topic. ‘This shirt looks lovely on you!’, ‘New haircut?’, or even, ‘You look so cute with that puppy fat!’ — a very recent addition to my collection of things that stopped being funny when I reached the age of 20. Or, to circumvent the topic of beauty altogether, ‘How clever!’, ‘What nice photos you take!’ —
I do try to take nice photos, craving beauty like the monster who lives in a dark pit craves light and warmth, devouring soft creatures who wander into its trap in the hope of absorbing some of their vitality and having it reflect on its own hideous scales. (Beauty as a priority is only superficial in those who possess it in plenty, much like food and money.) I also like to write greatly exaggerated self-deprecating blog posts which to read later, when the wave of hopelessness is on the decline, chuckling. ‘It’s not that bad. It’s not what others say, it’s what you feel. Don’t you feel good about your nose? Your ears? Prime stuff, those.’