Things I’ve Learned

10 Sep

The last few weeks have been a real eye opener.  I have learned the following things:

– No one wants to hear about my injuries

– My body is completely out of alignment (however see point above, so no more on this)

– Talking to people is hard work

– People like to talk about themselves

– I have absolutely nothing interesting to say

So, umm.  That could bring this post to a grinding halt!  But instead let me tell you why.  I am not good at making friends, and I am told that the way to make friends is to practice talking to people.  So for the past few weeks every opportunity that I’ve had to socialise with other people I have made an effort to talk and to ask others about themselves.  But once you get past “what do you do?”, “how long have you been doing that?, “where are you from?” and “are you on twitter?”, what else is there to ask that isn’t too personal for someone you’ve just met?

About half the people I’ve spoken to have happily carried on the conversation by themselves with very little input from me.  When they say something interesting I grasp onto it like a life raft to ask a follow up question.  The conversation flows smoothly.  But that involves me concentrating hard on listening to what they’re saying (something I’m not too good at).  So far I’ve succeeded with this approach.

The other half, however, give very short answers, no context and nothing away.  I try to fill in the gaps by saying something about me, which is met with a stare like I’ve grown another head (hence why I feel I have nothing interesting to say).  These conversations die a quick death and then it’s, well, downright awkward.  I have found myself backing away slowly from these types of conversations.  Literally.  I put it in the too hard basket.  But what if they’re the only person to talk to?  How do you carry on a conversation with these types of people?

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Rhythm and Pain

29 Aug Exercise

“Ready? Lets go!” the instructor yelled with far too much enthusiasm. “And left, two, right, two!”

The whole class commenced movement in unison.  It was a sea of bodies attempting to demonstrate rhythm that most of them just didn’t have.  She looked around the girls surrounding her to try to get a glimpse of the instructor and follow along.  It reminded her of the aerobics classes that they used to do at high school, it was something she enjoyed.  It was also fun and a way of doing some cardio that wasn’t monotonous and repetitive.  There was a whole group of them sweating and gasping for breath together.

She didn’t have trouble keeping up.  Dance training as a child had given her coordination and rhythm that had served her well throughout her life.  This wasn’t her first time trying this class, and she was feeling good as they came to the end of the first track.

“Good work everyone!” Their over enthusiastic leader shouted, “Grab a drink if you need, join back in when you’re ready. Lets keep the momentum going!  Jogging on the spot!”

She jogged along, pleased with how high she was able to kick her feet and keep in time with the music.  Keeping to the balls of her feet, she moved forward with the class, clapping in time, then followed the instructor as he did some jumps before starting the journey backwards.  This repeated for the next several minutes, and several of the participants were starting to breathe hard, including herself.  This was good, this meant they were working!

Track four was up next.  A new age version of star jumps that’s a cross between a jump and a squat started them off.  She joined in.  One.  Two.  Feeling good.  Three.  Four.

Pain shot up the back of her left leg.

She stopped for a second, thinking she had imagined it and then tried to keep going.  Pain again spread out from her calf all the way up her leg. No, no, that was definitely hurting, and not good.  She stopped again and bent over to try to stretch the calf out.  Around her the class kept going.  “Oh no,” she thought.  “I hope I’m not going to have to walk out of the class.  Come on, get past this”.  She pulled her toe up towards her knee and felt the stretch down the back of her leg.  The pain eased slightly.  She tried to join back in but quickly realised that she couldn’t place pressure on her toes without the calf tightening.  What was going on?  This was going to take some creativity.

Tentatively she tried the steps on the flat of her foot.  That was better, she could handle that.  Slowly she picked up the steps with the rest of the class, taking it down a notch so as not to aggravate the calf.  It meant not doing any of the steps on her toes, but this way it was at least bearable to keep going.  She could do this.

Another step, another shot of pain.  She frowned.  This was a new pain, hopefully something that wasn’t too long-lasting.  The song ended.  The class moved to the side to get drinks and wipe themselves down.  She took the opportunity to stretch her left calf, leaning heavily into the wall as her toes pressed against the wall.  Stretching wasn’t helping.  It felt like a knot had formed in the side of her leg, and only stopping was going to give her the pain relief she needed.  Unfortunately that wasn’t an option.  She was already dealing with a sore shoulder and hip, adding a calf to the equation was not going to stop her.

The class moved onto other exercises, ones that didn’t require as much jumping around, which meant moving with flat feet was not a disadvantage.  She could keep up.   Track after track they moved around the room, once pretending to be tennis players, once running in a circle then running to the centre, just like the hokey pokey.  The instructor was beaming like a Cheshire cat, enjoying every minute of the workout they were being put through.  She wished he would stop ginning at her, it was hard enough to concentrate.  She gritted her teeth and tried to ignore the pain.

After what seemed like hours, but was actually only 45 minutes, the class came to and end.  They lay on mats to stretch, and she felt for the lump that had formed on the back of her leg.  “I hope it’s nothing worse that a knotted calf,” she thought as her fingers massaged the flesh of her leg.  “It can’t be that bad, I can still walk!”  That thought was comforting.

“Well done team!” the instructor called as they packed up.  “See you all back her next week!”  She sure hoped that would be the case as she turned and limped out of the room to get some ice for her new injury.