Alone-Ly

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I call bullshit on the notion that as modern women we should be satisfied with being alone. Okay, okay, don’t get your panties in a bunch ladies! I’m definitely NOT saying that another person, especially a man, can come along and magically make you happy. I am NOT saying that you should devote yourself to finding a mythical something to take the pain away, and make everything that isn’t okay, okay (impossible, by the way, but if you already knew that, read on).

What I AM saying is the modernist notion of women always having to have it all together is way off. We are complex, multifaceted, and cannot be boiled down to basics.

Now that I’ve quelled my need to scream this at the world, we can get down to brass tacks.

I am single and there’s no shame in my game. I like being able to do whatever I please- leave my bed messy, avoid shaving my legs without embarrassment or consequence, et cetera. Being single allows me a kind of absolute freedom that’s truly difficult to enjoy when you’re attached to someone. I make my own money, use a vibrator, own a tool kit, and can pretty much do whatever you would need a man for all by myself. But something I recently discovered is that my fuck-you attitude is not serving my highest good.

Backtrack with me for a moment.

Picture a very little Lindsay-desperate for her parent’s attention as nearly all children are-and never quite getting what she would deem adequate love from her childhood. So she grows up with an aching sense that something is missing.That if only she could be noticed and validated by a mail counterpart, she would be fulfilled and completed as a person.

So yes while this is true-I never got the attention and felt abandoned in my childhood-I was and am exactly where I need to be. This challenge of lacking has made me who I am today. Capable, independent, strong and determined. So if I’m capable and even successful in my life, why the heck do I still feel the need to be with or connect with someone? Why can’t I just chill all by myself? Because I’m a human being.

As human beings, it’s true that being in this world (especially in this city), we can tend to go on autopilot. We tend to shrug off suggestions of assistance or support by others in lieu of doing it all on our own. I know there are plenty of women-and believe me, I’ve met my fair share-who sit and pine away for a man to come along and make life bearable, but the tide seems to have changed.

It’s now the trend to be your own woman.  Alone. Solo and content with a table for one or not having to share the popcorn at the movies (not to mention the movie choices). It’s not to say that I’m not one hundred percent supportive of the aforementioned scenarios. Personally, I need me time, where I don’t have to be involved with another person-their thoughts, feelings, problems. But I also need time with others. Not companionable isolation, like with strangers at my local bar, but real intimacy with other human beings.

My need for autonomy does not usurp my need for connection. If you’re anything like me you’ve forgone deep bonds with others for a tough gal act that keeps you at arms length of any real emotions. Instead of feeling  what we should we make the goal to feel as little as possible.

My desire for autonomy does not usurp my need for connection. The fashion, and pressure for so many of us, is to forgo creating bonds with others for an unnecessary “tough girl” act that keeps you an arm’s length from any breadth of emotion. Instead of acknowledging our feelings, we make the goal to feel as close to nothing as possible. “Tough girl-hood” even becomes a bade of honor in some sense-to be able to handle even the most egregious heartbreak, betrayal, pain, without flinching. Wait a freakin’ second. Have we forgotten that we are the feeling half of the food chain?

My solution to being a more complete person is to feel, and feel everything. Feel what it’s like to be on my own, and even sometimes lonely. We can feel the pain of reticent parents, painful losses, lacking childhoods without becoming it.

I can be the benevolent observer of my suffering rather than a slave to its narrative. To ask for help when I need it without shame. To open myself up to the possibility that I can have my needs met by many different people, and in turn have a deeply connected romantic partner. Someone who not only replaces my vibrator, but reminds me that I deserve to be loved, and that I am the shit.

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My Dirty Little Secret

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My 20 something self. My 30 something self.

 The dirtiest little secret a professional Pilates instructor can have is well, they aren’t doing Pilates themselves. I am supremely guilty of this. It has been months since my last workout, and  I’ve been playing what feels like a charade with my clients acting as if I’ve been putting myself through the same paces I put them through. I watch idly by as the other teachers in my studio (yes, I own my own studio) get in their required 55 minutes. Sweating, stretching, strengthening immersed in their own practice like it was more than a habit, it was a necessity. I wasn’t always like this. As a young instructor I took lessons with more experienced teachers like my life depended on it. I was hungry for knowledge and wanted to “feel” the work in my body before I could relay it to someone else. So what the heck happened then?

 It’s easy to simply say I got lazy, bored, or busy, and then force myself back into practice, but that plan never lasts. I get resentful and bitter, and no one likes a Pilates instructor who sits at the back of the studio on a stool smoking a cigarette, drinking a martini, and lamenting about how back in the day we did this and that. In midst of my uncertainty I took spinning in lieu of my Pilates sessions, touting the “Doubt means don’t” adage. Doubt as I may, I do know for sure there is no replacement for Pilates. It’s either Pilates or no Pilates.

 Last week after a session, I confessed to a particularly wise client. Her reaction was more concern than critique, which is when her words hit me. “You’re avoiding it aren’t you?” I was avoiding it, but why? A little introspection yielded unexpected results. I am heavier than I’d ever been, by 20 pounds and (duh) it’s no surprise that I’m reluctant to watch myself stuffed into my Lululemon in the studio mirrors. I was out of Pilates shape and nothing felt like it used to. My body had changed but I hadn’t changed my Pilates practice. I was dodging what used to feel easy and fluid in my tiny dancer body since  it now felt awkward and uncompromising. Why should I do something that makes me feel like a stiff plump sloth? I felt more at home hiding under my regular clothes and in the dimness of the spin studio.

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So, while it’s easy to blame the Pilates: “I’ve done it all”, “It’s boring”, “it’s expensive”, “I’m too busy when I’m in the studio to get a workout in”, and the all time fav, “I just don’t feel like it”. It’s much more effective to take the responsibility on myself. I had changed and hadn’t allowed myself to reshape the work to look good on me. Here are three things I did to get my shapely body back into the studio:

Look Good to Feel Good.

There is no rocket science here. When you feel good in what you’re clad in you just feel better. My drawers were filled with size 4 workout pants and tops that didn’t support my bountiful bosoms. Everyone always says “Don’t buy larger sizes, work to get back into the small ones”, but I call bullshit on that. My size 4 body wasn’t normal on my 5’8” frame. Yeah, I could stand to loose a few lb.’s but it’s a little cray cray to try and get back to my 23 year old self. I went out and got a couple new pieces that made me feel like a million bucks. Now I was not only motivated to sweat but I alleviated the fear of bursting into tears when I glanced in the studio mirrors.

Distract Thy Self

Now, now Pilates fanatics don’t freak. I’m all about Joe’s principle of mind building body, but sometimes too much focus (especially on what you don’t want) isn’t such a good thing. Part of motivating myself to get back in the studio and do some damn Pilates was to distract myself from the fact that I’m doing it. I would pull another teacher in for an impromptu duet. I would put on some kickin’ beats so I couldn’t hear my negative thoughts. I took a session from my peers to prevent being left to my own lax devices. You may have been taught that Joe would roll over in his urn at something less than the traditional ways of working out, but if it’s broke y’all got to fix it!

Make It Fun

As a young teacher Pilates reminded me a lot of dance class. Not because the moves were similar but because I was poked, prodded, and put down for not being good enough. I desperately wanted to be better, stronger, and get the praise of my instructor just like back in my ballet days. This slowly tainted the work for me and it’s not surprising that over time I got a sour taste in my mouth. Katherine Hepburn said, “If you obey all the rules, you miss all the fun.” I finally decided to practice what I preach and make my time on the apparatus or mat fun time. If I wasn’t having fun it wasn’t worth it.

Want to help distracting yourself from a tough workout? We know just how to motivate you and get you closer to your fitness goals. Email us to schedule a quick consult with our expert concierge to help you find your Pilates match.

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Loving The Lizard

I have a confession- I struggle (I know BIG surprise!). I struggle with going to bed on time, choosing salad over nachos, not having just-one-more-drink, and especially getting my sweat on daily. This is particularly shameful since my job as a Pilates Instructor is to teach people how to be fit and healthy. The thing is- I am human, and I’m realizing that so are my clients. Change is NOT something we welcome and as it turns out- it’s actually all in our heads.

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In our most primitive part of ourselves, or our Lizard Brain, we are just concerned with staying alive, chowing down, and making babies. While this primal part of ourselves comes in handy if you’re stranded on a desert island, it can create roadblocks for our modern lifestyle. This reptile brain sits at the top of our spine and responds, instead of reasons using instinct to keep us keeping on. Change is not good for survival, so the lizard will tell you to stay home in your p.j’s and eat that second bowl of cereal. We are safe here, we have grub- what more could we possibly want?

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So how can smart, motivated, type A personalities like myself get past this prehistoric monkey wrench? My game plan is to reward the lizard (what do lizards like as treats? Bugs?). Instead of setting useless goals and plans that the reptile will just shoot down anyway, I’m gonna catch more flies with honey- so to speak. Check out my plan below:

  • Change my “have-to’s” to “want-to’s” Instead of planning a workout schedule or eating plan, which could cause resistance I will just do one thing, at least, everyday that is good for me. It could be hitting that yoga class, doing a 10 min meditation, or eating kale. Just one single thing that I’m drawn to that day, depending on my mood.
  • Implement a rewards program Instead of punishing myself for not doing as much good as I should, I’m going to reward myself everyday- just because I can. It could be a bubble bath, mani/pedi, massage, that new top I saw in the window, or even squares of good quality dark chocolate. The idea is that I don’t have to do something to get perks. I get them just for being alive and surviving.
  • Let the lizard have it’s way At least once (maybe twice) a week I aim to let the lizard lay around and be lazy. No plans, no goals, no to-do list. I will give myself permission to feel safe and sheltered on my couch, in my bed, in my den. We didn’t survive for centuries without doing something right.

What is your reptile mind telling you? How do you motivate yourself without alienating the most primitive, instinctual part of your self? I want to hear from you! Leave your comments below…

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