About a month ago, an editor at Fitness magazine interviewed me for an article on how fitness has helped various women get through rough times in life. The interview for the most part focused on how I self-healed through dance. After the interview, however, the editor asked me whether being athletic (running, swimming, biking, yoga, full-contact self-defense training) before the onset of pain may have been the motivator for all my healing. I thought about it and said no.
When I initially reflected on the editor’s question, it seemed to me that the driving force behind my healing was the belief I had, since a little child, that nature trumped man-made (and I mean man-made) crap. On that tip, I never liked drugs. Through the encouragement and influence of my holistic flute teacher (very cool – more on that another time), I was doing things like breathing into the occasional back pain and thereby eliminating it, when I was all of 11 years old.
That belief system certainly was a primary driving force in my quest for self-healing through dance. That said, a few weeks ago, when I was up north escaping my apartment drama and biking 21 mph on the trail near the river, I felt a sense of “aaaahhh” — home. As in, home in my body. In my power. In my physical force.
And then it occurred to me that, yes, my pre-pain athleticism has been a driving force all these years. I knew who I was. So I knew who I could be and who I wanted to be. I had a standard. And I was unwilling to stop short of it.
Throughout my life, I was a very physical person. As a little girl, when everyone would offer to help me with this or that heavy item, I would tell them to bug off; and I would carry the damn thing myself. I knew that was the way I would get strong, and I told people as much: “If you carry this for me, then how will I develop the muscles to carry it myself?” As a kid, I wrestled anyone and everyone, turning any game – you name it – into a tackle sport. In my teens and 20s, I loved working out. I loved pushing myself to the point of complete and utter exhaustion.
So yes, Fitness magazine editor, my previously ox-like strength did propel me through the past decade and a half of my life. Through all the pain and disability, I knew what my body could and should feel like. And I was and remain unwilling to settle for anything less.