As I started doing the round, I slipped into this almost trance-like state of communing with my body -- it felt amazing. As I used the machines (hydraulic, using your own force against you which is such a natural form of exercise), listening to upbeat music and feeling the flow of energy through my body, I remembered what it felt like to be strong and energetic and flexible. How I used to feel like I had no limits, like my body would do whatever I asked of it. The second round got harder and I started to feel tired, and halfway through I had to go sit down. My head was spinning, everything was blurry, and sounds were faded by the buzzing in my ears. I started to get a little scared when it didn't go away, but the supervisor brought me some water and crackers (and asked if I wanted her to call 911! I said no), and after I managed to choke down one of the crackers I started to feel better. I did the stretches and left.
I actually came up against the limits of my body! I've always been strong -- even when I was little I often carried around others who weighed nearly as much as I did. I think part of the reason I haven't gotten started was that I was a little afraid of finding my limits, especially when I have never met them before. Now I know them, I think I will just do one round for a while, and work my way up. And I will listen to my body before I get to the point of passing out. I'm disappointed that I've gotten so weak, but at the same time I'm excited because it means I will actually FEEL the difference in my body as I get stronger.
When I was a child my parents taught me a hatred of exercise by forcing me to do the kind I despise -- running on a track. It hurt my shins, it was horridly dull with no room for imagination, there was no goal beyond working out (such as connecting with one's body or the earth), and they made me do it for the wrong reasons. I equated exercise with my male bio-parent's criticism and mockery of my body. He made me exercise because otherwise I might 'get fat' or 'fatter' and made me run because that was the type of exercise HE enjoyed. Had they allowed me to dance or swim instead, I would have developed a love for exercise, I believe.
Now that I have learned that exercise doesn't have to be drudgery or self-hating, that fat is just a body part, NOT an enemy (and a very soft, sexy body part at that), and that I am beautiful no matter if I am voluptuous or slender, I actually like it. I doubt I'll ever take to running -- E-cup women aren't really built to run -- but I love that feeling of creating new strength, being truly one with my body.