Community: A journey of courage
I have a list in my notes app full of motivational phrases, topics, etc that I started when I became a spin instructor. My favorite part about teaching on the bike happened ¾ the way through class after the biggest hill of our ride. I would turn the lights down, have them pull off all resistance, and share something meaningful. That song is just for them. To take 3 minutes to reflect and come back to calm. My favorite instructor used to do it, so I knew that I would make it part of my practice as well.
I haven’t taught in 5 months. And I’ve only been back on a bike maybe 3-4 times. It’s weird, because I thought that I would easily find a studio and start riding and maybe even teaching again right away.
Finding community in a gym came so naturally in Manhattan. The only two gyms I stepped in became my family. I grew so much at K.O. Boxing and Orange Sky. I learned how to defend myself, I started a yoga/mindful practice, I learned that group fitness lights my soul on fire, I learned how strong I actually was both mentally and physically.
I think having such luck right away is what makes me feel melancholy about not yet having a gym community in Fort Wayne. I’ve always wanted to try Crossfit, so I did that for 2ish months until I realized that I was forcing myself to do movements that I didn’t even like (turns out I really just hate lifting). I’ve tried a boxing gym, but it’s hard being the only woman in a gym. I got back into running, but as the seasons get colder and the sun isn’t out, I just don’t feel safe on the run during early mornings or dark evenings (especially after what recently happened to Eliza Fletcher). I’m feeling stuck. Group fitness has been my sanctuary for 3 years, and I’m lost without it.
Perhaps I need to grieve the loss of the community I held in MHK. Now I understand why people stop working out. Community is hard to find. But just because it’s hard does not mean it’s worth giving up on. I’ll keep searching until something sticks. Because I know that I am my best self (mind, body, and spirit) when I get a sweat in a couple times a week.
I leaned into writing after I stopped instructing. Because when I was on the bike, I could share stories, inspiration, and a piece of myself with the world around me, knowing I had a captive audience whose lives I could make a difference in. After I no longer had that group I knew that I wanted to create one through text. I’ve been struggling with writer's block for a while now. I’ll write something, or start a prompt and not feel like it was articulated perfectly enough to send into the world. Imposter syndrome creeping back in, telling me no one cares about the messages, no one cares to read your work. Then I remembered my motivational list, and read the phrases “don’t let perfect be the enemy of effort” and “choose courage over comfort”, and I knew that none of those negative thoughts could stop me from doing something I love.
I will choose to be courageous in my writing and my search for community. I will not let perfect be the enemy of my effort. We are all worthy of having something that sets our soul’s on fire.