Filling In Your Circle
Twice a week, I tackle kickboxing. It’s a one-hour class, and the coaches vary. Yesterday, the instructor was not my favorite – his teaching style is too Rocky for me (ironic, I know). For instance, he makes us run full speed in a circle around the room to warm up, versus other teachers, who lead us in normal PE stuff, like jumping jacks or squats.
The first time I ran in a circle, I fell.
Staring at the floor, hoping I didn’t break a hip, my face burned with humiliation and anger, but I got up and kept going. The next few classes with him, I slowed down to avoid a repeat disaster.
So yesterday, the session was pretty full, with mostly fit, athletic-looking people. I was already in a bad mood, and then came the dreaded command: “Everybody Run!” So, off I trot, at MY dainty pace. The rest of the group was booking it, but it was a big room and I was not about to bust my rear end again.
Suddenly, I realized no one was in front of me anymore – the circle had disappeared. Perplexed, I turned my head to see the entire group lined up and jogging in place behind me, the class turtle. Confused, I stepped aside for them to pass – which they did. And then, within seconds…you guessed it…they were LINED UP BEHIND ME AGAIN!!! Now, with great agitation, I stepped aside once more, trying to wrap my brain around the sociological experiment I had been thrust into. It wasn’t a parade – it wasn’t a conga line – I could not for the life of me understand why they wouldn’t just GO AROUND.
Did they not want to hurt my feelings? Were they mesmerized by my form? Was there a sign on my back that read “Follow the Leader?” Whatever their intentions, it was infuriating.
I re-enacted the scene with great flourish for my husband that night, and his response took me by surprise: “I am proud of you for not speeding up for them.”
Oh. I hadn’t thought of that.
The circle is an important symbol – there’s the circle of life, a circle of friends, let the circle be unbroken, circle the wagons, coming full circle, your inner circle, crop circles…it’s a perfect shape that can contain infinite possibilities.
As we go on our journey as women and as mothers, filling up our circle, it’s important to go at our own tempo.
And we don’t have to do it defiantly – we can take our time in a loving, non-judgmental way. There’s no one you need to catch up to, and there’s no one you need to hang back for. There’s nowhere you are “supposed to be” right now. Just strap up your laces, set your intentions and off you go.
An exercise you might consider trying is drawing a circle on a large piece of paper. Inside, write all of the things that do not serve you, whether it be negative internal dialogue, past trauma, unhealthy relationships, unmet needs, etc. Then burn that sucker, take the ashes, and put them in a flower pot with soil and seeds. See what grows when you give yourself permission to release the bad and welcome in the good.
So, what about kickboxing you ask? Well, I have decided to focus on the instructors I enjoy.
And if I ever find myself running in a circle with strangers again, I’m going to do my thing – and not lose step for anyone.
Check out other self-care posts from Atlanta Mom.