I went back to my regular exercise class of choice for the first time in almost two years this weekend. It’s called Poundfit and can best be described as over enthusiastically smacking the floor a lot with fancy drumsticks whilst listening to music. It’s great for burning fat, toning your muscles and releasing all those feelings brought about by the impending/repeated loss in life of people that you really love.
In my pre pandemic days, Poundfit was my twice weekly church of choice when it came to letting my emotions out and welcoming my true self back in. Every Sunday and Thursday, as I steadily beat the fear, sorrow and anger out of me, I would feel the endorphins come and take their place, and with them my sanity return too.
Sometimes the music would empower me to approach my life challenges akin to some kind of Amazonian warrior woman, and other times I would have to fight back the tears as I thought about the people we had lost, or how on earth it would ever be possible to live without the ones I was preparing to lose.
So, when I found myself back in that same hall this week, staring at the same wall, beating out that same rhythm, I found myself holding back the tears again. Tears for the outrageous situations we had found ourselves in and for the heartache we had experienced as a family in the time I had been parted from that wall. Tears for how life can be all the same matter of routine, and yet so different in the space of a breath it feels.
In a couple of weeks’ time, we will have spent an entire year trying to live the same old life, carry out the work we have always been assigned to do, and complete the same daily chores we have always had to, but as significantly different people.
It struck me as I pounded out to my favourite wind down track – ‘Into The Wild’ by LP – that routine beyond trauma has the power to both ground you when you need it the most and, at times, to make you want to scream as recklessly as is humanly possible. It brings with it the realisation that life goes on, whether we like it or not.
Some days the ‘routine’ can be hugely welcome and, on others, you wonder how on earth it is even possible that you could still be standing there, in the same old exercise class, beating out the same old rhythms and staring at the same old wall, when so much has gone between.
It has the power to make you feel like a fraud even for trying to live some kind of normal life when you know that suffering and sadness in the world is always only ever a heartbeat away.
Into The Wild is a great song if you haven’t heard it. In many ways, I can’t help but feel like living a parentless life at a relatively young age is what LP is singing about. My favourite lines:
Are we so lost in the dark of our hearts
That there’s no light of day?
How do we not fade away?
Into the wild