Today I am working out with a DVD called “15 Minute Workouts for Dummies” with Gay Gasper. I have absolutely no idea where this DVD came from – I have no memory of purchasing it. But there it sits on the bottom of our DVD shelf alongside the other workout DVDs which were purchased over various New Years in the vain hope that I might start January and actually achieve some of the resolutions I had set myself in the lull between Christmas and New Year’s Eve – when good intentions are turned into a list and stuck on the fridge.
So, Gay. She really is. She has a permanent smile etched on her face for the entire workout. I have never seen anyone look so happy about exercise – or manage to coordinate their body, talk non stop and smile at the same time. The woman is a machine. She is all muscle – she is strong.
I’ve talked about wanting to be physically stronger. I want my body to be strong but I am also interested to see if exercise will help me feel stronger in other ways. Braver perhaps – less worried about things. Our daughters are growing up in a world which increasingly encourages them to aspire to be strong and warrior esque, rather than placing value on being “Princessey”.
I still want to be a Disney Princess. Don’t get me wrong. It’s just the nature of Disney Princesses has changed over the years – they’ve updated themselves. I don’t have a problem with Princesses who slept all day and waited for a Prince to wake them up – they were of their time – but I am excited that my daughter will grow up with Princesses like Moana.
I want to tie my hair in a messy bun, board my metaphorical boat and be totally badass saving the world. She literally took out hundreds of angry, weapon carrying coconuts with an oar and her brain. She is strong. She has moments of doubt too but she has self belief at her core. She defies the norm and leaves her island to help save the day. I want to be Moana.
Moana was one of the first Disney Princesses whose story did not revolve around romantic love. Her story did, however, still revolve around love. She loved her family and her home and she set out to save them. Because great love takes great strength. To love deeply you have to be strong – you have to trust someone else with your heart, your most precious organ. And that takes a type of strength you can’t learn from a DVD. I am lucky to love and be loved deeply – so now I need to do what I can to strengthen my heart as a muscle so it can keep me loving for as long as possible.
And all this in just 15 minute workouts, designed to “work around your busy schedule” – they couldn’t make it sound easier if they tried. And actually it was easy – or if not easy, it was easier than it would have been 5 days ago. It was easier because I felt better about exercising and motivated to get going. Could it be the start of a new love affair? Am I starting to feel those magical exercise endorphins that I’ve read so much about? Was it Gay’s insanely positive approach cheerleading my fitness journey and willing me to be strong? Perhaps. But I like to imagine it was my inner Moana, boarding her boat and sailing into the unknown – a little bit braver than she would have been 5 days ago.