What Does It Mean to Move?

What I'm finding is that most women use the word "movement' synonymously with "exercise", and that's really the last connection that I hope you make.

What is movement to you?

When you hear that word, what images does it bring up? What I'm finding is that most women use the word "movement' synonymously with "exercise", and that's really the last connection that I hope you make from me. Because, while exercise is movement, there's a whole lot more to movement than the exercise we engage in each day (or think we should engage in). I believe that our inability to separate the two is what's causing so much stress in the lives of women.

We feel like we are chained to this idea of needing to exercise, and if we don't do it or miss our workout, we are somehow lesser people. We have failed, and all of these expectations that we fail at are weighing us down. I'm suggesting that if we can look at movement outside of our workouts, no only will we be healthier in general, but we will also be free.

I just went through this process (again) recently. Since my daughter was born about seven years ago, I've felt packed into this idea that I am a fitness professional, and that I need to play that part. This was so difficult after finding out about my prolapse because it took a long time for me to retrain my body to be functional enough to handle the demands of the types of exercise I enjoy. I circled through them all - a traditional physique program, rowing, running, Olympic Weightlifting - and while I enjoyed pieces of them all, I was never able to fully engage in any of them. I just don't have the passion and I am tired. And I am frustrated because my body doesn't reflect that image of a fitness professional.

About five years ago I opened a small fitness studio for moms. It was nice. I led small group classes and we build a small group of moms who came in with their kids to workout, and more often, to gain support for the daily drama of mom life. I ended up shutting that studio down after a year and had planned to relocate, but then I realized that it was more of the community that interests me, and not the classes that I was designing and teaching. This push to build a community has continued to follow me since I closed my studio and you all have seen a lot of that exploration.

The past few years have been hard.

And while I don't show this much, I've been in a pretty low place. I've been grasping onto ideas of what I think I'm supposed to do with my life, including how I'm supposed to be moving. Because I've taken the courses and attained the certifications, and of course I'm supposed to be implementing them and displaying them for you. Isn't that how it works?

But what if what I learned is no longer bringing me joy? Am I still required to share?

It's this perceived definition of exercise and who I am supposed to be that literally stopped me in my tracks. I've become stagnant.  I don't know what and I'm not enjoying how I was taught to move and so I do nothing. Add on the stress of trying to build a business, pay off debt, be there for my family, and now COVID-19 and I'll be the first to admit that I'm in rough shape. Physically and mentally.

I think one of the main reasons I've stopped moving is because I miss having a community to move with.

I miss connecting with like-minded women where my movement sessions are also my therapy. I have this a bit in my Taekwondo class and the women there, but I want more and I can't seem to find one that I gel with. That lack of community has had me spinning, but I've finally been able to stop and collect some thoughts about what I'm looking for in my own movement practice and community needs.

  1. I don't want to join a gym. While there are some amazing communities that are built-in gyms, I know this isn't a good fit for me. I don't enjoy the workouts enough to stick around.
  2. I need variety. I'm basically a "Daily Play" mover, meaning that what I want to do changes each day. I may decide to lift one day and run on another. Some weeks I want to follow a plan and schedule, and other weeks I just want to throw things around at will.
  3. I prefer to move outdoors. Get me on a hike and I'm one happy girl. Playing on the playground with my kids is amazing. I'm looking forward to doing some SUP this summer.

It's really like I need to revert to my elementary school days where I met my friends on the playground and we answered the question "what are we going to do today?" Maybe it was the monkey bars, maybe it was soccer, or possibly a crazy game that we make up on the spot.

When movement was play and not part of your social status.

This week I've made a big shift. My debts have been paid off. My school year is coming to a close, and possibly my teaching job with K12. I'm in a place where I have no responsibilities outside of keeping my family and myself alive. I've been wandering around wondering what I need to do now, and the answer has been in front of me all along.

I just need to move.

I just need to allow myself to play again and rediscover the joy of movement that brought me to this work.

And then I need to find my group of friends to meet on the playground and ask them "what are we going to do today?"

How about you? Can you come out and play?

Categories: mental health, identity, social, physical