It was a wise man who once told me not to deny myself anything that can make me great.
I'm pretty certain that he was quoting some philosopher, or Simon and Garfunkel song lyrics, but no matter, it was sage advice. Thanks, Dad.
It was a little over a year ago that I learned how to Pole. My motivation was, well, let's just say, that at the time, I felt that I had something to prove. I had a feeling that I would enjoy it and I was right. It reconnected me to myself and it has been a hoot.
Learning something new is scary but it can also be invigorating, exciting and powerful. My latest something is beach volleyball. I can just hear my ex-boyfriend now. "You're learning how to play now? What about the 7 1/2 years that we were together?"
He was, and probably still is, an avid player. I touched the ball a handful of times with my ex- ooh, that sounded dirty- but learning from him was nearly impossible and it probably wasn't healthy for the relationship.
Thus, I was relegated to watching from the sidelines. Contrary to what he thought, I was watching. He also played for like 16 hours straight, and there was just so much that my eyes could handle.
I enjoyed watching him. The problem, however, lay in the fact that, by nature, I wasn't a sidelines sort of person; in life, sports, Karaoke. I was, and am, a doer. It felt unnatural to lay on the beach and not move.
I'm a mover, a dancer, an athlete, a Pilates instructor for crying out loud. But there I was, laying on a beach towel, reading a book, picking my bathing suit bottom out of my crack, because it was definitely too small for the Jersey Shore.
I wanted to learn how to play; not only because my ex played, and it might have been something that we could share, but because I liked learning. And moving. Moving and learning.
It makes me think of when I was married. My ex-husband was, probably still is, a musician. Being a song and dance gal, I was enamored by his ability to play each and every instrument, as well as his collection of microphones.
One day I asked him if he would teach me how to play the drums. Like the Pole, and volleyball now, it was something that I had wanted to learn. It was like pulling teeth to get him to give me a few lessons, but he eventually acquiesced.
Music was his world. I was on his turf, and it wasn't a hobby for him. After only a handful of lessons, I suggested that we start a band. I had always wanted to be in a band, and I saw this as a perfect opportunity. He did not. I thought we could be the next Ike and Tina Turner; minus the abuse. He did not.
Firstly, he was already in a band, which of course I knew; being married to him and all. Secondly, he told me that it wasn't fun for him to play with me, a novice, and that when he had downtime, he didn't want to be in the studio, teaching me about snares and cymbals.
It was a similar situation with my ex-boyfriend. He didn't have the patience, nor desire, to teach me the game starting from square one. He took the game seriously, it was competitive and the beach was his place; his sanctuary.
There were few who were chosen to join in, even though I am one of the chosen ones, but I don't think that he was referring to those chosen ones.
It was not to be during our relationship tenure. It wasn't a supportive and welcoming environment for newbies, and the regulars made that crystal clear, so I sat on the bench, as it were.
Learning the game would have to be on my own time, in my own way, and initiated by my own genuine desire, not to please my ex. I always felt a little resentment for being left out and then, metaphorically speaking, penalized for not knowing how to play.
I thought that, with a little practice, one day I'd be able to get the ball over the net, much in the same way that I knew that I'd be able to climb to the top of the Pole.
By joining a beginner class, and challenging myself, I've spun around what used to be a bone of contention, into something that has humbled me, and shown me just how hard it is to run in the sand, while picking my bathing suit bottom out of my crack.
I know that testing ones limits, and staying curious, feeds the soul like nothing else can.
Don't deny yourself anything that can make me great.