My body aches in such a good way from yesterdays martial arts class and I am trying like hell not to be triggered by that but oh my…it’s shooting off sparks in every direction of my brain. I don’t want it to be like that though because it was so amazing to work with my body in that way, to stretch it and begin to see it as something that is capable of protecting itself in the future. Also it was just a space where I could forget for a while that things are kind of chaotic. I’ve missed it.
In my teens I trained in kickboxing, focused on building strength and perfecting my technique so I could fight. I knew how to throw a jab and could easily do a roundhouse to the face. It gave me this outlet where I could take all this hate and anger that built up in the week and just let it out. It was never about losing weight then, fitness was something that was a necessary part of making me a fighter. After a couple of years though I had to eventually give it up partly because of a few injuries that I had accumulated and also because the eating disorder was beginning to take its toll on me physically. I became too weak and tired to fight anymore, my technique began to slip and there was no power behind my moves. I was still only 17 though and thought that eventually I would go back to it. I thought I would get strong enough again but that never happened. I got weaker and then ashamed of my weakness. Exercise became something that slipped out of my life in the last part of my teens and although I ached for it, the need was not enough to take me back to it. I was busy living a life that was dedicated at first to work, my studies and partying as much as possible and afterwards I became stuck on the revolving door of psychiatric hospital admissions.
Exercise worked its way back in not long after Anorexia took a firmer grip on my life. I structured my day around it and pretty soon as is often the case it became the only way I could justify eating at all. It became my reward and punishment at the same time. ‘Well done you’ve eaten an apple! You can now spend an extra hour doing cardio.’ The funny thing is though I hated it but I convinced myself that I loved it. I think people fall into two categories where exercise is concerned, they either prefer playing a sport or something in a social context or they would rather work out alone where they are able to tune out the world and find comfort in the beat of their own heart. I was always the first kind. As a kid I had loved sport, football, basketball, martial arts but I hated athletics. There was nothing that sounded worse to me than running repeatedly round a track just for the sake of it. There was no purpose behind it it seemed. So I cannot explain how I went from that kid to someone who began to find comfort in working out alone and running endlessly on a treadmill. The only joy I ever got was the adrenaline hit or sense of accomplishment when I ran a little faster or went a little further. The actual physical feel of it I was never that keen on. I fooled myself into believing that I loved it just like I had fooled myself into thinking that I preferred the feeling of hunger and when you tell yourself something enough it begins to take roots making it horrendously hard to move. I think I also knew what I was doing was wrong. I knew that I was spending too much time at the gym and I didn’t want anyone else to see that or know it. I didn’t want to be questioned or told to slow down. Each session became a mission to lose more, work harder, push myself further until if I didn’t leave a workout feeling like I was ready to pass out or hadn’t already then I felt like I had failed somehow.
That lifestyle was so unsustainable though but I can only see it now that there has been enough distance created between myself and the eating disorder but it’s still hard to not let myself get wrapped back up into it again. I love the feeling of my body been put to work but I want to be able to have fun with it too now. I want my legs to ache because I’ve been learning something or because they’ve taken me to places where I could see beautiful things. I don’t want to be that woman at the gym again, single-minded with the mission to reduce myself in the fastest way possible.
I want to be strong. I want to work out because I can and it’s good for me rather than damaging me. I probably won’t be going back to the martial arts class that I went to yesterday purely because it is more focused on training as a sport that has competition rather than self-defence and I need the defence part. However I have looked into some other places and will be trying them. All this requires energy though and that energy has to come from my nutrition. I am trying to improve it and I’m making little bits of progress. I just have to keep building on that. I’m tired of being weak.
I hope you are having a day that’s showing you some kindness x