Guest post by Emer Kelly
I’m not an athletic person. I’m that person who tries out golf for the first time, tries to do the perfect swing, is delighted that the ball has gone so far and fast that she’s lost sight of it, and then turns back to the tee to see it still sitting there, smirking up at her.
I’m always concerned I’ll be tested for sobriety on the road someday, and fail because I’ve never been able to walk a straight line.
Sometimes I fall over when I’m standing still.
This is ok. I accepted my un-athletic self a very long time ago.
Being un-athletic means that team sports are just an opportunity to get yelled at, and competitive sports of any kind are an anxiety-fest. So historically, I’ve gone to the gym to stay in shape. But here’s the thing: I hate the gym. Almost everybody I know hates the gym. It’s the absolute worst.
So what’s an un-athletic girl to do?
Let me diverge for just a moment, and tell you about my big sister. My sister can be just as clumsy as me, but is certainly more athletic. She hopped about from sport to sport in school, but never found her niche, and is positively allergic to the gym. Then, one Spring night in 2010, she went to a pole fitness class with some friends for a laugh. Fast forward just 8 short years, and she’s a professional aerialist who performs all around the world. She soars tens, and sometimes hundreds, of feet above the ground on hoop, trapeze, and silks – the most graceful thing you’ve ever seen – and then comes back to earth, trips over her equipment, and walks into a door.
A couple of years ago, she complained to me that she often gets asked for fitness advice, and that she’s always stumped because she has no idea how fitness works. She found her Creative Genius joy, and somehow the balance of the world shifts when she’s in the air. Her best and only piece of fitness advice is: Find something you love to do.
Find something you love to do. This advice resonated around my mind for months. I hate the gym. I can’t dance. I’m scared of sports. Running makes me nauseous. I consistently fall off bicycles. Finding something active that I could love seemed like a lost cause.
Then one day a friend invited me a climbing gym, and I went against my instinctual reaction of ‘Hell No!” and tried it out.
I was home. I discovered I love climbing. I go to my climbing gym 3-6 times a week and am blissfully happy about it. And here’s the odd part. Climbing shouldn’t be my jam. It requires balance, stamina, flexibility, upper body strength, and little fear of heights. I should have hated my first experience of climbing up a wall. I was terrified, sweating, and shaking. I almost got stuck at the top because I was too afraid to come down. But for some reason, it activated Creative Genius me, and I was hooked.
It’s been a slow process, but after 18 months I can confidently climb, I can do a pushup, I can almost do a pull-up, and I can balance in a headstand. Not bad for an un-athletic chica.
So I would like to pass on my sister’s advice. Find something you love to do, and activate Creative Genius YOU. It might mean stepping outside of your comfort zone, and trying weird new things (Hey, did you know that interpretive freestyle canoeing is a real thing?). It took me 28 years, it may take you less or more, but having struggled through the process, I believe there is an activity out there for everyone.