Chapter 11: Dear Jennifer Lawrence

I despise the word “fitness”. It awakens in me an adolescent dragon I’d rather leave to slumber in the sub-cockles of my past.

Equally obnoxious trigger words like – “active wear” and “burpees” give me the voms (who felt compelled to name a torturous maneuver after re-fluxing babies anyway?) and images of taut, healthful looking aliens lifting crazy shit or contorting themselves into poses requiring earth defying feats of strength?

No thank you.

Not for me-me.

Nothing against the amazing people that are into all that cargo ship rope lifting – it’s the thought of me partaking in it… just so we’re clear. It’s all peace here active people. Read on…

This detestment has not derived from being an excuse-making hater of physical exertion, rather from a lifetime of training for sports I was woefully ill equipped to achieve in.

News flash – just because you are tall – does not mean you are going to be good at basketball.

When you’re tall you’ve got further to fall and when you’ve been falling/tripping/stumbling for the majority of your life – it’s just sensible to remove yourself from situations that promote said acts.

Like cross fit, or cycling, or running, or weights, or cardio, or absolutely anything involving competition because it is an unkind reminder that you are the poster girl for failure and injury is imminent. Why risk a boobie-trapped pathway lined with an un-ended amount of disastrous scenarios – when you attract that shit like an unco magnet. I’ve accepted this trait. Why test fate?

Years of running laps around ovals and courts and drill after drill both indoors and out in the wretchedest of elements. Battered and bruised from falling onto wooden floor boards, hard ass concrete, grass (which no matter how easy footballers make it look – when you go down it still friggen hurts) and my all time favourite flesh tearer – bitumen. It really should be illegal for anyone – let alone children – to play sport on gravel. For the uncoordinated it’s a bloodbath waiting to happen.

So, after exhausting all of these non-options, the choices to improve ones healthful well-being, were slim. This was my issue after the birth of my daughter when I was forced to “shape up” after I had been employed as an instructor for a children’s dance/fitness class. Oh the irony.

It was also around this time that I watched Silver Lining Play Back and while it lived up to its hailing hype, the takeaways I took from it were life changing.

Jennifer Lawrence’s line –

“I’m not that great of a dancer, but who cares – it’s therapy and it’s fun”

was the hook I finally needed. It seriously changed my life and the way I viewed myself within it.

It’s awesome to reflect on poignant moments when a magical switch lights up your brain pushing you to take up challenges that once seemed beyond your capabilities. And seeings as the majority of my life choices have been fairly shit, it’s gratifying to look back and appreciate the ones that actually panned out semi-successfully.

I know she was acting a part, but it was so believable and hearing those scripted words come out of her black haired, five foot nine familiar frame – was what I needed at that moment in life. It enabled me to ponder my own love of dance and to summon the courage to google local dance studios and enrol in a class.

The first night of my first ever adult dance class there was a storm from hell going down. I could barely drive the car. I made my way through it to arrive at a backyard studio, plastered in Bollywood paraphernalia and a bubbly instructor who was deliciously intoxicating.

I was immediately addicted and it was one of the most wonderful and exhilarating nights of my life.

What started as a random hobby became my passion and opened up a world I had denied myself since childhood. A world of self-belief and a shit tonne of bling.

I often wonder had that movie not resonated with me in that moment, or had I missed it – would I have still gone down that path with the same gusto? Probably. But I’d like to thank Jen anyway and when I write my So You Are… A Dancer! I’ll be sure to credit her.

Dancing helped me dust off dreams from the archives – including writing – and it is my go-to for writers block as well as that dreaded word – fitness.

So, sincerely…

Thanx heaps Jennifer Lawrence for the greatest gift of all – dance… and Katniss. Sorry. Too legendary not to mention.


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