Impact, Impulse, Continous

The showcase looms ever closer.  The good news is we picked a song and that it in and of itself communicates a story so we are having a good time adding a little acting the beginning of our open Cha Cha and I’ve begun the first layer of the spray tan so I will look darker and (hopefully) thinner for the performance.

But it’s a low stress proposition.  The most stressful thing about it is that Ivan is adamant that I lip sync to the music.  I’m like, dude, the people will get the story without me talking to the song but he is convinced.  And when Ivan puts his mind to something it is almost impossible to deter him.

The problem is, I’m counting in my head.  Once, a long time ago, I never counted.  Now all I hear are the counts because they are what I cling to during certain moments of the routine to get me through with proper timing.  Ironically, before I used to only listen to the music and take my cues from it.  If I couldn’t hear the beat in the music, I couldn’t dance on time.  Now Ivan wants that old way of dancing, plus the lip syncing.  But I discovered it is impossible to lip sync to words when I am thinking “two-three-four-and-one.”

The only other slightly stressful thing is doing the splits in the middle of the routine.  The problem isn’t the splits themselves.  It’s the getting back up from the splits.  Because I’m like huge and Ivan wants to pause down there which means we lose any momentum we had.  And yes, I’m supposed to squeeze my legs together with all my might to try and help the situation but my thighs just aren’t strong enough to hoist 250 pounds upwards, defying gravity.  And it is super fast right after that part so I have to be up and on balance so I don’t blow it on the next section.

But, eh, well, I’m still not that stressed out about it.  This is kind of how I operate, I think.  I don’t worry about the performance until the time comes.  Then I get all sick to my stomach!  Hopefully this time my nerves will be less and I will just enjoy it.  I don’t have high expectations of being perfect or whatever so better to just have fun.  I’ll take a note from my friend “Blue Eyes” who did a hilarious duet with her instructor involving a blow up doll!  It was entertaining from the first second and I could just tell how much fun she was having.  I want it to be like that.  Like to forget that I’m twice the size of a normal woman and just play the part and enjoy it.  I still have to figure out exactly what I’m going to wear.  At this point I think it will have to be the black performance dress I wear at competitions that Marieta made but I’m a little leery just because when I dance this routine in my black practice skirt my heels can get caught easily and I’m a little concerned about it.  I will have to try with the dress on to see if it is feasible, and if not, then I have 3 days or so to figure out a different option!

Other than that, I’ve continued working out with my new trainer, doing my ballet class, and taking Inna’s class.  Inna was back for the first time in a while for class tonight and she introduced us to three types of body rhythm: impact, impulse, and continuous.  Frighteningly, she also shared that there are 8 more types of body rhythm but I think I will be quite busy with the three she introduced tonight.  Impact rhythm, explained Inna, is movement that is sharp and stops completely.  It is a good choice for quick movements such as in the Cha Cha or Paso Doble.  Impulse movement is when you hit a line but then continue it further.  It is the finishing of a movement like during the four-and-one count of a Rumba.  Finally there is continuous movement in which you never stop.  Not one type of movement is right or wrong, in fact, it is best to incorporate a little bit of all the types to make dancing more interesting and engaging.  Most importantly, you have to match the body rhythm of your partner so that you appear to be together.  You can be doing completely different movements or steps but if you have the same body rhythm as your partner you will still look connected.

Inna, being the master teacher that she is, not only demonstrated all this knowledge for us but then had us do it.  We didn’t have to do an actual dance step but we had to do step, step, impact in a group over and over and boy was it funny.  Then we practiced step step impulse.  And yes, you guessed it, continuous.  Finally we did the usual rumba routine using all three types of movement, alternating through each type of body rhythm, and man oh man was that tricky!

The knowledge that these ballroom professionals have continues to boggle my mind.  There is so much to learn and I know I can spend the rest of my life attempting to master the fundamentals of ballroom dancing.  From body rhythm and timing, to expression, steps, and technique, the rabbit hole goes ever deeper and deeper.  Too bad there aren’t like “black belts” in ballroom…like you get yellow shoes when you show competency in one level, and orange shoes after that, and brown, and purple, all the way up to the ballroom equivalent of a “black belt”….completely stoned 3 inch heels ha ha ha!  Well, I know I’d be working a long, long time toward that “black belt” and that I have a long way to go to earn one.  So I might as well enjoy the journey along the way.

The scale still refuses to budge but I see a few new fresh stretch marks which though not usually something to be thrilled about signal to me that at least there is some changing going on, even if the scale doesn’t reflect it.  It continues to be extremely slow going but I’m sticking to my motto: just face the right direction and keep walking.  There has to be a tipping point somewhere along the line when things will move but still, it is a slow process and I’ve so much weight to lose.  At times things feel easier, like walking around my house seems lighter, but then at workouts I still feel completely pathetic, embarrassed.

Assessment and treatment algorithm for overweight and obesity

By National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Yeah, if only the process were this cut, clear, dry, and unemotional.  Maybe it is for some people but not for me.

This morning was rough.  Mornings are not my best time of the day in general, but waking up and heading straight to the gym can be especially challenging.  I’m barely awake and doing all these extremely difficult and even painful movements, getting my heart rate up when five minutes ago I was laying prone.  It can get emotional.  Like not being able to do real push ups but having to do them on an incline and still struggling with those.  Like being asked to do a modified burpee and I am grunting with each movement and can barely do the 4 requested of me by my trainer.  Like when I feel like all these fit people are watching me flub around and what they must be thinking about how pathetic and gross I am and how could I let myself get this way.  And like how I don’t feel like I can tell my trainer anything about this because she is young, and never has had  weight problem, and has never helped another obese person overcome that issue.  And she just doesn’t seem to understand the emotionality of it for me, how hard it is for me.  I want to put a 100 pound backpack on her and have her do what I’m doing and see how she does with what she asks of me.  It’s tough.  It sucks at times.  I get angry and bitter.  But am I going to stop?  Nope.  I just let the tears fall silently and wipe them away and get to business.

I just need to find a way to think kinder more encouraging thoughts to myself because the ones I’m choosing now leave me feeling small and insignificant and like a total loser.  I can’t win.  I feel beaten and I dwell on all that is wrong with me.  I love throwing myself stupid pity-parties, I know.  It’s not helpful.

Well, anyways, that’s the truth.  I’m going to dance on Saturday at the showcase like it doesn’t bother me, like I’m carefree and happy and strong and even sexy.  And I’m working to become that in real life.  I’m going to suspend my beliefs about how I really am and allow what I want to be/become to take center stage.

And then I see the Results show for DWTS and see Brylynn Rakes, legally blind, dancing and I know I need to get over myself.  http://beta.abc.go.com/shows/dancing-with-the-stars/spotlight-performances/s16-brilynn-rakes-bio I really, really do.   And I will.

And I have to say, today for the first time in a long time, I’m mostly satisfied with how my life is set up.  I have a stable job that I could do for the next 20 years and is low(er) stress and makes me enough money to do what I love.  I am dancing most days of the week, be it ballet or ballroom.  I am working out with a trainer (again).  I am scheduling in time for competitions.  I have balance in my life – time for social events with friends and family.  I’m extremely grateful for this situation.  It’s been a long road to get here and I appreciate it.

I’m not so satisfied with myself.  That is the part I’m working on now.  I’d love to really feel good…about my body, about how I look, about my femininity, about being able to do all the physical things I desire…and I’m not there yet, and I don’t feel good.  It’s something I’ve always longed for.  Always.  And it was so painful that I gave up, resigned, decided to accept the idea that I would never have this in my life.  So now it is still painful, especially in moments at the gym, but I’m not stopping.  Not this time.

Will I ever reach my ultimate goal?  I don’t know.  But I know that I want more and I’m going after it the best way I know how.  And that still trumps not doing anything, even if I am complaining about it along the way.  I’m just blowing off steam.  Time to let it all go and press on and believe that it will get easier.  That I will be able to do proper push ups and more than four burpees.  That I will fit comfortably in a plane seat and buy clothes in the regular person section once again.  That I will get this weight off, that I will be happy.  On days like today, I am feeling the unhappiness that I numbed in fat and resignation and I don’t wonder why I tried to drown it.  This, too, shall pass, however.  Yes, this, too, shall pass.

Just keep walking, Stefanie.

Just keep walking.

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10 thoughts on “Impact, Impulse, Continous

  1. Paragon2Pieces says:

    I’m not sure if this helps or means anything at all, but I have a lot of the same thoughts you describe here when, for example, I’ve tried working out at a gym with a trainer (eek, everyone’s looking, everyone thinks I’m in terrible shape). In general, my inner monologue is intensely negative and critical when evaluating myself, but skews positive when evaluating others. I think there are a lot of people like this. We are our own worst critics!

    Hope you have a great time at the showcase 🙂

    • loveablestef says:

      Thanks, P. I totally know I do this to myself and yet I still keep on doing this to myself! Gah! But I WILL enjoy the showcase…that’s the point of it, really. If I am feeling brave I will maybe post a video of the routine….it should be cute.

  2. Lisa M. says:

    From someone who used to be a trainer herself: DO NOT get your trainer a 100-lb. backpack. Get her a 100-lb. weight vest. It’ll be more realistic.

    In all seriousness, though… If you feel so strongly that she doesn’t understand where you’re coming from you are probably right, in which case she needs to be [kindly] schooled. She’ll be a better trainer because of it, and you’ll have a trainer that better understands where you’re coming from. Win-win.

    If you’re wrong and she DOES get it completely, then she’ll do the weight vest thing anyway (and probably get a few ideas for new exercises out of it).

    And if she completely refuses? Your previous trainer can refer you to someone else who’s more deserving of a client like you. I mean, seriously? I had ladies ask me if they could please go through their workout without breaking a sweat. We can tell who’s there to go through the motions and who’d really there to crank it. Guess which ones are more fun to train?

    Young, new trainers happen (I was one once!). Perhaps she’s still at the point where she thinks it’s her job to come up with all the answers in a split second, that any contemplation/question asking/not knowing the answer right away is a sign that she’s not a good trainer.

    If you’re willing to tell her exactly what your needs are in no uncertain language (going back to that weight vest thing, or giving you space to have the emotionality you need but still pushing you to the appropriate degree…) she has a golden opportunity to improve her professional self by leaps and bounds. Hopefully she’s smart enough to recognize that. If not, she’s not worth any more of your time.

    /rant. Sorry about that.

    Oh yeah, one more thing. Open that rant back up. The bit about fit people thinking you’re pathetic and gross… if they were to think that, they’d be dead wrong. They’d have no clue what a warrior it takes to show up every day, knowing that you stand out for one reason or another, being there SPECIFICALLY to do things that are hard for you, and doing it anyway. There’s not a dang thing pathetic or gross about that… quite the opposite in fact. IF anyone were thinking that of you, they’d be the pathetic and gross ones.

    Not that having a stranger on the Internet write all this changes anything, really… but please feel free to image an Irish dancing, salsa-hip-shaking middle finger from Alaska aimed at anyone who’s judging you if that helps. Might be more fun than imagining them pedaling their ellipticals nekkid. That’s the kind of thing that looks funny no matter how fit you are 🙂

    • loveablestef says:

      Hey Lisa, thank you so much for your thoughtful and encouraging comment. I was more daydreaming about the backpack/vest thing…just kind of ranting because I feel alone when I work out..though it might be a real eye opener. In any case, I am there at the gym and pay my trainer to get me to do things I wouldn’t do on my own, that are hard. She does that. This time around, I was hoping I would have a trainer who would be on my “team” for this endeavor…to actually care and be in it with me. I have been disappointed and felt abandoned enough times now so now I have readjusted my expectations. She is doing the specific task I hired her for, and trust me I am not shy about communicating what I need or want, and so far she has been receptive to that so that is all I will expect. And the workouts are difficult but that is why I am there. I am not there to make a friend, though it would be nice to feel more connected. Even so, I will judge the experience based on results. If after a month I am still stuck, with no improvement, then I might seek to change, but for now I am sore and challenged and doing more than I was a month ago. As far as the emotionality I don’t feel safe/comfortable sharing with her, though she can’t be so obtuse as to not notice it. She chooses not to address it. I am not there to talk but work out so I just let myself feel whatever I feel and do the next task. I am trusting that it will get better and lessen as I move forward. I mostly try to just remember that I am there to work out for myself and it doesn’t matter what others think. But when I am struggling and it hurts and it is hard I feel bad about myself and those negative thoughts creep in. I am the one projecting those thoughts on others. In truth they are probably way too busy in what they are doing to notice me. And as far as privacy, yes there is a smaller room and all but that isn’t the real issue….the real issue is that I am fat and out of shape. I have low self esteem when it comes to the realm of physicality and I have body image issues. That won’t be fixed by going into a smaller room, and I being uncomfortable means an opportunity for growth. Well anyways, thanks again, especially for the middle finger of solidarity 😉 it was cool of you to write all that even though you don’t know me…especially so! You’re a gem.

      • Lisa M. says:

        Hey, thank you for the insightful comment in return! Your degree of self-awareness, humor, and of course your love for dance are the reasons I so enjoy reading your posts. I understand your thoughts on your trainer/training situation a little better now… sorry I couldn’t restrain my indignation at the idea of people sitting around judging someone who’s working her butt off…! (Literally 😀 )

        I would have given my EYETEETH for a client like you when I was actively training. I had a couple of folks who were in it all the way like you seem to be, and they were so much fun to work with.

        Anyway, blog on and best of luck with the showcase… OR merde or break a leg, whichever you prefer. Young dancers look at me in horror when I say either of the latter two, so I don’t think the phrases have jumped the generation gap 😉

  3. senephia says:

    P.S. From a more practical standpoint… some gyms have special space (sometimes an entire large room) reserved for personal training to give the client a little more privacy. Anything like that where you are?

  4. senephia says:

    Oh, and looks like my original comment (before the PS) didn’t go through. Here it is, in all its lengthy, ranty glory: From someone who used to be a trainer herself: DO NOT get your trainer a 100-lb. backpack. Get her a 100-lb. weight vest. It’ll be more realistic.

    In all seriousness, though… If you feel so strongly that she doesn’t understand where you’re coming from you are probably right, in which case she needs to be [kindly] schooled. She’ll be a better trainer because of it, and you’ll have a trainer that better understands where you’re coming from. Win-win.

    If you’re wrong and she DOES get it completely, then she’ll do the weight vest thing anyway (and probably get a few ideas for new exercises out of it).

    And if she completely refuses? Your previous trainer can refer you to someone else who’s more deserving of a client like you. I mean, seriously? I had ladies ask me if they could please go through their workout without breaking a sweat. We can tell who’s there to go through the motions and who’d really there to crank it. Guess which ones are more fun to train?

    Young, new trainers happen (I was one once!). Perhaps she’s still at the point where she thinks it’s her job to come up with all the answers in a split second, that any contemplation/question asking/not knowing the answer right away is a sign that she’s not a good trainer.

    If you’re willing to tell her exactly what your needs are in no uncertain language (going back to that weight vest thing, or giving you space to have the emotionality you need but still pushing you to the appropriate degree…) she has a golden opportunity to improve her professional self by leaps and bounds. Hopefully she’s smart enough to recognize that. If not, she’s not worth any more of your time.

    /rant. Sorry about that.

    Oh yeah, one more thing. Open that rant back up. The bit about fit people thinking you’re pathetic and gross… if they were to think that, they’d be dead wrong. They’d have no clue what a warrior it takes to show up every day, knowing that you stand out for one reason or another, being there SPECIFICALLY to do things that are hard for you, and doing it anyway. There’s not a dang thing pathetic or gross about that… quite the opposite in fact. IF anyone were thinking that of you, they’d be the pathetic and gross ones.

    Not that having a stranger on the Internet write all this changes anything, really… but please feel free to image an Irish dancing, salsa-hip-shaking middle finger from Alaska aimed at anyone who’s judging you if that helps. Might be more fun than imagining them pedaling their ellipticals nekkid. That’s the kind of thing that looks funny no matter how fit you are 🙂

  5. senephia says:

    One more P.S. … have her wear the weight vest around for an entire day (or at least for an hour or so, if you can’t get her to do the day) before she tries to work out in it.

  6. bgballroom says:

    Stef – first of all, you have my endless admiration for going to the gym first thing in the morning. It has taken me half an hour and a huge cup of coffee just to get my brain and fingers working well enough to type this. LOL

    Second – the splits? Seriously!? Holy unobtainable goal, Batman! Can that skinny trainer do the splits? I bet not. Next time she asks you to do some impossible exercise, just tell her, “I don’t think I can do that. But I can do this. *pops down into the splits* Can you?” and see what she does:-)

    Thanks for the great post. After my coffee, IM with my daughter in Scotland and a good blog read, I think I am ready to face a really grey and rainy day here. Good luck in the showcase!

  7. trophos says:

    “Just face the right direction and keep walking.” YES! What a great motto! I’m totally stealing it 🙂

    As always, your dedication is humbling, your energy inspiring, and your honesty moving. Thanks for sharing.

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