Working Through It

I took a little online break after the events of the last week.  I backed off of Facebook and email, except to exchange details about wakes and tributes and memories with folks.  I stepped away from Twitter for a bit and re-learned to communicate in more than 140 characters.  I hugged my kids a little tighter and watched them play a little longer.  And I remain shell-shocked by all that transpired.  Add in a significant health scare that my mom had a few days ago (she is much better now) — and I think I could use a nap, or a reset on the karma button, or a time machine.  Or something.

My head hurts.  My heart hurts.  Even my body hurts.  But three things tend to make me feel better when awful things happen:  Keeping busy, connecting with people and writing. 

So here I am.

I can’t promise to bring the funny just yet, but I’ll try — maybe in some small doses.  So bear with me.  It’s a little like trying to stand up after getting the wind knocked out of you.

Since I’m on the topic of pain, I thought I’d share with you some of the physical torture I’ve been inflicting upon myself in the last few weeks.  Its name is Pure Barre, and it is the face of evil.

You see, sometime during the long, long winter we had, I guess I subconsciously started to believe that I’d never have to wear a bathing suit again.  That I’d been unknowingly relocated to the Polar Ice Cap, followed by a springtime transfer to the Rain Forest.  It appeared that I now lived in lands where shorts and tank tops and bathing suits had no place, where open pools and beaches could not possibly beckon.  Until they did.

And so I had this moment a few weeks ago:  “Holy Crap.  Summer may in fact actually come.” And this led to my quest to step up my fitness regimen. 

{By step up, I sort of mean begin.}

I hate running.  It just makes me feel bad about myself and turns me into shades of purple that make strangers want to seek out medical attention on my behalf.  I wanted to try to enjoy working out, instead of feeling bad about it, and I also needed to be held accountable.  And so I decided that a group class dynamic was the way to go this time.  But not Zumba — it has a certain Charo-meets-Dancing With the Stars quality that scares me.

I started doing Pilates.  I figured that my 12 years of pretty serious ballet training would serve as a good foundation.  Never mind that those 12 years ended over two decades ago {details, details}.  So I have been loyally showing up to Pilates and getting my ass kicked.  At least I thought so.


Recently, Pure Barre came to town.  The way an evil traveling circus shows up one day — all enticing and full of promises, luring everyone in, but sort of strange and twisted in the end.  Again, I thought the “barre” part, plus my ballet background — and fledgling grasp at Pilates — would make it all fine.  I had high hopes that this would be my fitness calling.

And it is. In Hell.

I jumped in feet first and showed up to a 5:45am class.  This, alone, should have provided some reward, I felt.  I figured since it was their first week open and it was an ungodly hour, I may even be alone in this class.  Because who else besides the desperate, fitness-deprived would be there?

Triathletes, apparently.  About 25 of them.  Decked out in lululemon.  Whereas I rocked a Target fitness ensemble. 

I looked at these girls and I started to get nervous.  They didn’t look desperate like me — they looked toned as hell.  And perhaps a little hungry.  Maybe I was in over my head.  But, no, I figured — everyone has to be a beginner at some point.  And that ballet barre, it was an old familiar friend. 


A woman with a headset told us to grab weights, a ball and a piece of red tubing that resembled a torture device.  From there, I don’t know how else to explain the events of the next 55 minutes to you, except for these highlights:

  1. The first ten minutes were so intense, so beyond my fitness level {which we can all agree leaves something to be desired}, that I was terrified.  Terrified to stay.  Just when I considered leaving, the instructor says cheerily:  “OK, that completes the warm up.”  Holy shit.
  2. The fact that they invoke the word “barre” in their name is false advertising, as far as I’m concerned.  Because the barre is inconsequential.  You don’t use it, as I’d hoped, for ballet-like exercises.  You use it to grasp on for dear life while you try to complete some sadistic set of ab, thigh and seat work.  It doesn’t have to be a barre.  They could call the class Pure Live Electrical Wire or Pure Waterboarding.  It wouldn’t make a difference.
  3. I feel that certain elements may have been taken from Cirque de Soleil.  

When it was finished, at 6:40 that morning, I could barely accelerate my car to drive home.  I was useless for most of the day.  And the next day.  Which works really well with a one and four year-old. 

Two days later, when I could walk, I went back.  It was not any easier — but, at a humane, less triathlete-like hour of the day, I was not the only one who looked like they had 911 on speed dial next to their water bottles.  They also rocked the Target workout gear.  There were others like me — they were out there.  The circus had lured them in.

So I went back a few more times.  And I hated the woman with the headset a little less each time, even if she does play Ke$ha before 6am. 

Now I sort of like it.  They way you can like something painful. 

There’s some pain you can control and some, as I learned over the last week, that you just can’t.  So I’ll concentrate on grabbing  that live wire barre for a while and see if it makes me feel better in some way.

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  1. Patty says:

    Impressive! Just the name of that class scare me 🙂

    • fordeville says:

      You would be far less impressed if you saw how absurd I look trying to walk out of that place.

  2. Kristin says:

    It’s amazing what a difference a couple hours makes in clientele. Good for you for returning after that first class. That alone deserves applause!

  3. Julie says:

    I wonder if the torture circus will make it’s way to KC. I’d like to check that out.

  4. Ummm… I’m also a former-ballerina and the word “barre” totally would’ve lured me in. Now I can’t tell whether I’m intrigued or afraid.

  5. Glad you’re back. The new exercise routine sounds like punishment. Oy! Whatever works for you, I say. Just don’t push too hard when you’re in the beginner stage. Work up slowly so you don’t get injured.

  6. Jessica says:

    You are a brave woman to return to that class but I think it is great that you did.

  7. You managed to bring the funny! I too need to step up (I mean, begin) a fitness regimen. Not sure what to sign up for. Definitely not Pure Barre. What won’t kick my ass (Pilates) or make me feel silly (Zumba)?

    • fordeville says:

      Definitely don’t ask me for workout advice. I get my ass kicked and look silly through most of life, so don’t let me guide you in any way.

  8. seadragon says:

    I’m so sorry for the recent past events, but I gotta say, you defintely had funny in this post! Also I’m impressed you’re sticking with it! It sounds horrible.

    If you’re ever looking for a way to ease into exercising I recommend Couch-to-5K. You know I am not a runner (or any sort of athlete), and this is the only program I’ve ever actually enjoyed. I will confess I gave it up when I was pregnant (uh, over three years ago), but now – two babies later – I’d like to get back to it this summer.

    • fordeville says:

      I have considered Couch to 5K many times. But it’s running. And my body just hates running — unless it towards a good sale or the ice cream man.

  9. Erica says:

    You seem like an amazingly resilient person!! God bless! <3

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