Push, push, puuuuuuuush.
(for the record I’m not in labour).
If your legs aren’t burning, if you’re not crying then you need to turn it up.
Puuuuush. You won’t get fitter unless it hurts. It needs to huuuuuuurt. Huuuuuuuuurt.
If I move at all then my sweat flicks onto fellow spinners in my spinning class. I know what this is like – someone else just moved. Their sweat is on me. Our sweat is mixed, it’s intertwined. It’s like we’re blood sisters but we’re sweat sisters. United in our sweaty bath of hell.
I look at the clock.
We’ve done 10 minutes.
Oh God, the instructor has just seen me look at the clock.
Shit. It’s like being at school.
Turn it upppp. At the back. Turn it up.
More sweat. And shame. Shame for looking at the clock. Fellow spinners think it’s because I can’t hack it. I bloody well can.
I only looked at the clock to work out if I’d have time to eat in between the spinning class and racing to my mindfulness class. I’m bloody starving. There’s a pot of porridge in the car. But alas I have no boiling water. I wonder if I could just eat the oats without turning it into porridge. Focus. Focus on the pain.
Upppppppp. Harder. Harrrrrder. Puuuuuuuuuuuush.
We finish the class. There is silence. No one is shouting at me (currently).
I gather myself – by which I mean I use my jumper to wipe the sweat that stems from every pore.
I realise that my locker key has dropped out of my pocket and I bend down to pick it up. I can see it. But it’s in the middle of a massive pool. A massive pool of sweat. A massive pool of someone else’s sweat. My sweat sister’s sweat. Urghhhhhhh.
No time to waste. Grab it, wash it, run to mindfulness.
Everyone is totally zen.
The group is seated around our teacher – they all look calm, relaxed, comfortable, utterly composed. Their minds are still.
They probably even smell nice. I don’t.
I realise my hair is soaking with sweat. I pull the hood of my sweatshirt over my sweaty smelly head. I think that they think that I’m a sort of mindfulness reprobate. I’m just saving them from my sweat. I’m not trying to look cool.
“Just relax, find a comfortable position, listen to your breath, feel your breath and make sure that every single part of your body is as relaxed as possible – can you relax anything a little further?” our teacher soothes.
Shit – my leg is actually doing some weird twitch thing as it hasn’t properly relaxed. I try to breathe. I feel my body slow down. Deep breaths. I’m slowing down.
Then my spinning instructor is in my head. She’s shouting. She’s angry. She has the rage. She’s making me fitter.
“And then just find the slight pause on the out breath and watch your thoughts come in o your mind and then watch them go out again,” her voice calmly, smoothly, soothingly reassures me.
God I hope I don’t smell. Maybe I won’t be allowed back to mindfulness class because I smell. Can I lift up my arm and give my armpit a quick whiff. Surely everyone has their eyes shut – but maybe the teacher doesn’t, maybe she’s assessing me and checking I’m doing it right. I can’t really sniff my pits. Stay calm. Breathe. Focus.
I am watching my thoughts. They go at 200 mph. Flash around, build, die down, build, worry, ruminate, plan. Arhhhhhhhh.
I listen to my teacher. I breathe.
There are less thoughts.
My body starts to relax. My leg has stopped twitching.
I’m calming. I’m calming. I’m actually bloody calm. Shit – now I’ve just noticed I’m calm I’ve stopped being calm.
Try again. Breathe, count, focus.
Then I start smiling. I can’t stop.
I just find it amusing that for the last two hours my world has been from one extreme to the other. The juxtaposition is alarming. Alarming but funny. Shouted and lambasted in sweaty shameful spinning – to motionless, mild-mannered mindfulness.
I stifle my laughs and focus on my breath.
I am becoming a zen warrior. A spinning zen warrior.