Tuesday, December 12, 2006

"Hate is a strong word..."

So a lot is going through my mind this a.m.

First, though, let me not leave you in suspense. I did go to the aerial dance class last night. It was really hard work, but there were lot's of things about it that I liked. I liked spinning and swinging, and when S and I were dancing and pushing each other on the trapeze. I hadn't anticipated the trapeze to be so uncomfortable or that standing on it would be so much work. Talk about needing strong core muscles.

One of the things that I realized during the class, though, is that I was constantly comparing how well I could do things with other people in the room. As soon as I realized that I tried to let go of it and just do what my body felt comfortable with. But, later, when talking to S about my experience of the class, I realized that I was holding onto a lot of feelings of shame that I wasn't able to do what other people could.

While we were eating, S broached the subject of gifts. I had asked him what he would like as a gift for his birthday. He doesn't really enjoy gifts much...and doesn't really like things, in general (and when he needs something, he can just get it for himself). So last night he talked about what he would like to receive as a gift from me - a focus on increasing my strength and stamina. He says that he recognizes this could be a slow process, but he would like me to be better able to match his pace when hiking or swimming.

This is reasonable and doable, but intensified my earlier feelings about not being able to do what others could. I've been thinking about this and I know that a lot of these feelings are related to my sister and feelings of competition with her as a child...she being very athletic and I think she enjoyed playing sports. I always felt awkward in my body and unsure of my abilities which probably made me clumsier than I normally would have been.

Being active in my body is not always comfortable - I get overheated and get headaches. I don't like the way that I sweat at the drop of a hat. But I also know that when I am more active, I feel better about my life and myself.

I started reading a book last night about the relationship between our earliest childhood experiences and our bodies. It seems like it's going to be interesting and it helps me to think about my body experiences in that light, as well.

It also makes me think about a phenomenon I've experienced with my clients. The author posits that people aren't often able to look at negative feelings towards their parents because they are concerned about broaching some moral ideal of honoring their parents.

My wonderings are if my clients are not more worried that anger with their parents will lead them to hate them. I think that there's a worry that they will lose their parents in the process of coming to terms with the injuries that they experienced as children that still needs healing.

Okay, that's all the deep thoughts I have for today. I'm off now.


Flash said...

I suffer similarly when I dance. I actually think I'm pretty good out on the floor but always end up comparing myself to others. I usually lose all my confidence in an instant & hastily retreat for fear of ending up with a name like FunnyDance on someone's blog.

Aravis said...

I do the whole comparing myself unfavorably to others thing too, and what an inhibiting pain in the ass that is! I admire the fact that you were able to let go and enjoy the experience as much as you did. As far as increasing strength and stamina, it's a process. It's not going to be easy at first, but it isn't bad if you take it a little at a time and build up as you can. I know that mentally and emotionally I feel better when I do this for myself. Whatever you choose and however you choose to do it, I'm cheering you on always.

As for being critical of my parents in therapy, I was incredibly resistant to it for a long time, and I think you're right about the root causes of that. My therapist kept trying to help me over that barrier, but it took time. My relationship with my parents is stronger now because of it, though. I'm able to allow them to be human and love them anyway. And they do the same for me.

Sending good thoughts your way.

red one said...

Given the fact that you're not far from the coast, I suggest the sea, if the temperature makes it even vaguely possible for a dip, Spin. I've no idea what the seasons do round your way, so this may be an idea for spring. On the other hand...

You may find that the water is OK for a little swim even when the air temperature isn't great, as long as you get straight out, dry yourself and put lots of warm clothes on fast. Then keep moving for a bit to get the circulation going - actually you might be fine without, but I've got rubbish circulation and chill easily. A sea swim does not have to be combined with sunbathing. It can be just as nice without if it is not sunbathing weather or sunbathing is not your thing.

Some other thoughts:
1) the sea is always good.
2) it is bigger than the whole rest of the world and everything on it, which I always find reassuring. That might just be me though.
3) it is salt water, which helps buoyancy - that means it is easier to float and begin to enjoy with less effort than in a plain water pool. You should be able to get afloat and splashing around without feeling immediately knackered.
4) that buoyancy feeling and being lifted a bit on the waves is very satisfying.
5) start off by concentrating on having fun, twirling around, flopping about in the waves etc. It IS fun messing about, but even a bit of this will probably be more exercise than you think. It's just there's no need to do boring repetitive, measurable (and therefore disheartening) stuff. Splash, be a fish, be a sea otter. Enjoy.
6) when you want to do something more active, have a bit of a swim parallel with the shore. Don't feel the need to start off doing that - no reason not to start off by having a regular messing about swim. You will get fitter naturally, without going mad trying, because it is more effort than you think to maintain a direction of travel in the sea, what with the waves and currents. I think you should find that gradually increasing a little shoreline swim will do a fair bit for the stamina.
7) be careful, watch the waves and always get out when you're tired or cold. The sea is big and doesn't mess around, so safety first. NB that is partly the reason for going parallel with the shoreline - no need to go out to sea for distance.
8) feel free to ignore all of this. I'm obsessed with the sea anyway and won't take it badly if you are not taken with the idea.
9) but say hello to the seagulls for me anyway :-)

Hyde said...

More advice for you be a sea otter! A theme is developing...

I've had a lot of trouble being mad at my dad-- especially because he died. He's the "martyr." Working on anger issues is sometimes impossibly difficult.