I hated exercise. I never joined a sporting team. I persuaded my mum to write notes to get me out of PE. I joined, and then failed to attend, half a dozen gyms. I toyed with aerobics, callanetics, pilates, salsa, swimming, belly dancing and a myriad of gym classes. I stuck at nothing.
I judged sporty people.
I was a theatre person and proud.
I loved the theatre. I was taken to pantomimes, I joined drama clubs, I took part in school productions. I spent summers at drama courses. I paid to attend plays in my spare time. I chose drama for GCSE, A Level and eventually my degree. I took a post grad in stage management. I became a stage manager. I found work. I still loved it. I thought this was enough.
I was wrong.
It turns out theatre is a wonderful universe. A beautiful, awe inspiring, heart wrenchingly beautiful, soul saving universe. A universe I have crept towards, lived in and moulded myself into an adult in. I've been here for 20 years and made myself very comfortable. But there are other universes out there. And if you don't venture out of yours occasionally, you run the risk of orbiting around not noticing where you are, appreciating how your universe has shaped you or remembering why you came here.
In short I had become Haley's Comet. And I didn't want to be Haley's Comet. I wanted to be the rocket from Button Moon. I wanted to explore other universes and still be home in time for tea in my safe place in the world.
When a friend suggested I try running, I didn't realise she was offering me directions to a new universe. Although admittedly the concept was alien to me (excuse the pun, I won't promise it will be the last) I was NOT a runner. In fact I COULDN'T run. I WASN'T ALLOWED to run. I had BAD KNEES.
But something made me do it. I'd like to say it was will power or sheer bloody mindedness but that would be a lie.....
It was mainly because there was an app, with a 9 week plan, and tick boxes that got ticked. Basically an automated "to do list". And I LOVE a to do list! Completing a "to do list" is a stage manager's wet dream. Having one makes us feel secure and in control. Completing it makes us feel proud, relaxed and basically smug, superior and officious. Some well rounded stage managers hide this well, I do not! I've gone so far as to do the pose gymnasts do at the end of routines......at work.....in front of my colleagues.....for the most minor of achievements.
So here I was, a smug cow with an app that I kept bleating on about. And it turned out I could do it.
I COULD run.
I could RUN!
And....I kind of liked it.
So I booked a race. And it didn't kill me. And there was a medal and a goody bag. Yeah you heard a MEDAL! Those things that sporty people get for doing something well. Like Olympians!
So I booked another race. A longer one. And that didn't kill me either.
And the more medals I hung up, the more I challenged myself, the more races I booked and the further I could run. Until one day I stopped smugly saying "I run" and even more smugly said "I'm a runner"
And that's when I realised. I had a new universe. One that made me fit and healthy and after dragging myself out of bed pre dawn rewarded me with endorphins and not actually feeling tired. One that let me eat cake AND lose weight. One that made me feel pretty and sometimes even sexy. One that stopped me watching crappy television and gave me hours of me time to think about the world and feminism and politics and other people's points of view and the bigger picture. I think it even made selfish old me less self involved. I was part of the running community now and we support each other!
And as it turns out I didn't have to hop out of my theatre universe to step into my running/sporty universe. They overlapped and converged and slotted together like a 3D Venn diagram, in a way solo universe Me could never have understood. And the fact that new Me understood that old Me didn't understand things, allowed new ME to realise she was also flawed, but this was normal and okay.
And on a less deep note I now see a lot daylight. The theatre universe is beautiful. But dark.
And a DEER! You know, like BAMBI! He/she ran right across my path (I have no idea how to tell the gender of a deer) and I basically melted and became a Disney princess.
Also, brilliantly, when you're happily inhabiting 2 universes you realise there are more universes out there. Dozens, hundreds, thousands of them. And this isn't scary any more. It's exciting. Because these things, these new things, that I don't understand, make people happy. So maybe they could make me happy if I gave them a go. And if I stopped judging and became a better person.
Soooo in conclusion.
& I work in theatre.
& both of these things make me happy.
& if you want to come back here I'll tell you more about that.
& I'll try to be funnier, and tell anecdotes, and talk about other people
& if you liked this....
x x x