I've been doing kettlebell classes for a little over six months now and while I'm hardly an expert at it, I can tell you what the Turkish Get Up is, which is a long way from the person who was once terrified of any form of exercise that made you sweat. I never realized how gratifying swinging a bell could be or that I'd look forward to planking for extra time. It helps that my instructor always strikes a balance between praise and pushing us further and switches up the class enough so that we're never quite sure what's in store for us next.
Kettlebell classes have done a lot for my historically low confidence and while I still carry some extra weight around, a lot of the psychic weight has melted off of me, although it seems like there's an endless supply. Getting in shape has been a slow process and one that I initially went into kicking and screaming. I'm still not sure if I'm 'there yet' or will ever be. The problem is that when I visualize 'in shape', I tend to demand absolute perfection. So the perfectly in shape me would be someone who's slender and chiseled, who's happy and at ease, who's shiny and successful and with no hairs out of place even after swinging a 50lbs kettlebell. In other words, impossible.
Goals are like a moving target and if we are lucky enough to hit one once, it will just as soon reposition itself. I learned that the hard way in class yesterday. I had been told that my form had gotten a lot better in recent weeks and I carried around that praise with me like a girl scout badge. But yesterday I was tired and sloppy and couldn't manage to execute a move called the clean and press while lunging without stumbling and cursing under my breath. I was having trouble balancing (which is a theme that often comes up when I'm practicing yoga) and even when I tried the move with the lightest bell in the class I continued to have trouble with the move and was falling behind compared to the other students.
This made me so angry with myself that I considered walking out of the class, something I've never done before, just so that I didn't have to watch the mirror reflection of me sucking so hard. There it was again, that demand for absolute perfection, egging me on from the sidelines and offering no constructive criticism. I almost wanted to scream at myself "cut me some slack, I'm trying". But then in the last minute of practicing I decided to stop looking around to see how quickly everyone else was getting through their reps and to just do mine as slowly and focused as I could in order to finish. I was a bit steadier then I was before and I no longer wanted to crawl under a rock and cry.
So what is the glaringly obvious moral of the story that I continue to learn in the almost third decade of my life? Wherever you are is there. So why not buck up, suck it up, cut yourself some slack and focus on the task at hand? Okay, now let me go practice my lunges.