I don't know how I'm even typing this right now. The amount of effort required to lift your arms and hover your fingers above the keyboard is often taken for granted. Every inch of my body hurts and when I got out of bed this morning, the sound erupting from me was not unlike that of a sick cow falling over in the mud.
All this goes to say that my good friend Alex, Khaleesi of Transatlantic Dance Fitness, is back with her new HIIT routine devised solely to torture my abs, among other things.
I first met Alex in 2017 while attending a Zumba class she was running. Forcing myself to get out of bed, put on workout clothes and participate in her fun, lively class is one of the things that really helped me with my depression back then. It was a big step for me to choose to workout in an interactive group environment because at the time, I worked from home, had low self-esteem, and unreasonable anxiety when it came to talking to strangers. A friendly, warm, and inclusive space that made me feel like I was getting better and stronger every day is precisely what I needed.
And when I find something that works for me, I stick to it like shit to a shovel. This explains why I got married at twenty-three to a boy I met at nineteen, and am still best friends with a girl I met eighteen years ago. So, since June 2017 when I first imprinted on her, I have attended at least one of Alex's classes every week and also managed to convince her to hang out with me outside of her work because she's an overall amazing human being.
But in June of this year, Alex went on an adventure. She'd been living in Scotland for almost eighteen years by then. She had a husband, family, work, and a stable social circle here so you can imagine the courage it must have taken to uproot her entire life and travel five thousand miles to start something new.
Her childhood friend had opened a vegan resort in Belize and Alex travelled to the jungle (literally) to suss out whether teaching fitness classes to the residents of the resort while running the in-house vegan bistro was something she wanted to do long term. And while she was on this big adventure, I was slowly but steadily descending into the second (and biggest yet) depressive episode of my life. I assure you, these two events are mutually exclusive although I won't lie, I was weary I would miss my dear friend.
As someone who likes stability and routine in her life, one of my biggest triggers during this time was my work as a freelancer in the period between my previous full-time job and my current one. I didn't have enough notice or control over what my day-to-day existence would look like. I was stressed about money and on the verge of giving up one of the loves of my life - travelling. I was afraid to book a holiday because what if that's the period when I got some important freelance work that I'd have to turn down to go on a stupid holiday that I couldn't afford to take anymore?
This was also around the time when a lot of other shit went down in my life that I don't want to get into for now. But the three main things I lost were stability, the joy of writing, and a fitness routine that both worked for me and I enjoyed.
Over the past few months as I have healed, I've regained that stability (I know exactly what my to-do list for each day looks like and it's GLORIOUS - I imagine this is what it feels like to impregnate Shakira myself), I have started writing again (with a gentle nudge from my lovely husband - that surpasses sex, even if it's with Shakira), and miraculously, like watching a vibrant double rainbow form over a wet and gloomy Scottish horizon, Alex danced her way back into my life and forced me to do five pushups and a burpee before sitting down to have dinner with her.
She was the last piece of the puzzle, although neither she nor I had realised this at the time. And it feels like balance has finally (and painfully) been restored in my universe.
I wish I could travel back in time and tell a sad little me that all the things I thought I'd lost would come back to my life and fall into place like little magnetic puzzle pieces that find each other and complete the picture. But this is important. Knowing and remembering that everything eventually works out is very, very important. And if you're able to hold on to or reunite with your friends while things figure themselves out, you can't get any luckier in life :)
By the way, does anyone know if magnetic puzzle pieces actually exist? If not, I call dibs on being the one that kills the joy of assembling puzzles with that infuriating non-hack. k thnx bai.