Deadlifting in a Tiara

I’m a poet-princess-She-Hulk. For two nights a week anyway. That’s when I trade my glitter for chalk, and glide – ok, stomp, lifting shoes are clunky – onto the wooden floor of the gym where I do my lifting.

Do princesses chalk up with glitter?

Do princesses chalk up with glitter?

Tonight is a good night; it’s deadlift night. Actually, here, every night’s a good night.

Behind me the sound of chains – moving in a way that makes me lament the absence of a dungeon – tell me Jimmy Neutron’s got a few metres of the stuff hanging over the bar while he squats. Jimmy is one of those people who won the genetic lottery, while most of us came up with three numbers and (inexplicably) a handful of Fruit Loops and some red-rope licorice. If there was a space-ark leaving to colonise distant worlds with our buffest, most beautiful and brightest, Jimmy Neutron would be on it. But he might make the voyage in stasis, standing up: he strikes me as the kind of guy who’d offer you his seat if he saw you standing out in apocalyptic rain of fire and brimstone, and then still help to carry your bags.

This is the kind of person I lift with.

Is it easier to do push-ups in space?

I’m pondering the possibility of sneaking onto the ark, when I spot Paul Bunyan ambling across the floor. His place is probably secured too; he could push-start a spaceship.

(I am of course comparing him to the legendary lumberjack who created the Grand Canyon when he dragged his axe behind him on the way home one night. I have a flair for understatement.)

The last time I saw him was a week ago, while I was lying on my stomach attempting a push-up that was hopefully more plank and less soggy cardboard. I’d positioned myself behind a pillar in the hope that no one would see me taking them two at a time. Two is … uh … OK a lot of percentages down from what I could do before I took five months off from training. More percentages than I can count on my fingers and toes. Or mine and Paul Bunyan’s. Or mine and Paul Bunyan’s and Jimmy Neutron’s. (Of course, if I had Jimmy I wouldn’t need fingers and toes.)

Unfortunately the pillar’s girth was no match for mine, and Paul Bunyan spotted me and strolled over. I shouldn’t feel bad, he assured me, any number of “strict” push-ups are good. Really good. I should keep going. The fact that he can probably do a hundred with me – and my luggage, still attached to Jimmy Neutron – on his back, didn’t make him sound less sincere.

Never sick of here

That’s just the way it is here. I love here! And how the people are here. I love the way here makes me feel.

And of course, more than here, I love my coach! He’d never admit it, but I suspect he’s the guy who trained Mr Miyagi and Yoda.

How do I explain the kind of person he is? I remember when I was younger, hearing my gran describing, what sounded like, the most perfect woman since Eve (in her pre-apple days) to someone; only to realise she was talking about me. My coach is like that. He makes me feel like he sees potential in me that I can’t even catch glimpses of. Like if I was Eve I’d be farming strawberries on Sandy Bay with Beau Brummel, and not an apple in sight.

My coach believes in me more than I believe in myself. And then at some point, I find myself believing it too. It’s that simple. And that powerful.

What did Eve wear to her 40th?

Why am I telling you all this? Because in two days’ time I turn 40, and I’ve been giving a lot of thought to the decisions I’ve made in the last 10 years, and to where they’ve taken me. Deciding to sign up for weightlifting, and to do it at this particular gym, was one of the top 5 best decisions of the last decade!

This is the last place I thought I’d be at my age

OK that’s not true. The last place I thought I’d be was the 4th level of Dante’s Inferno. Or Oz. Or a space-ark. But for the sake of clichés – and owing to a momentary lapse of literary capability brought on by a power failure and subsequent lack of caffeine – let’s go with it.

I never thought I’d be here with a bunch of boys, sweating testosterone and slamming weights. (Go ahead and play peek-a-boo with that comma; the sentence works both ways.)

But I am. And incredibly, so are a bunch of other women my age. We’re all enjoying getting older and still being able to throw our weight around. (OMG! And now a pun? Quick, Paul, scoop up a coffee plantation and carry it over.)

Squat like a princess

This place makes me feel young. Feeling my body get stronger as it gets older is insanely empowering! Looking in the mirror and seeing muscle in new and exciting places, makes me content to allow softness to settle in others. And of course, it feels fantastic to wake up in the morning and know the aches and pains are from using my body, not losing it to neglect.

Look, I’m probably never going to score an invite for the space-ark. Unless Jimmy Neutron makes me his plus-one. I’m too old to help colonise a new world. Although I could knit baby booties for the space sproglets. Make that beanies. Oh who am I kidding? With my low threshold for boredom we’re looking at egg cosies at best.

Don’t laugh; knitting is something women my age do. In between squatting. And deadlifting. And shopping for a tiara for our 40th party. If I find it, I might just wear it to gym. Diamantes work so well with chalk!

Breasts Gone Lemming

There was a time when I needed a sports bra for doing sport, not watching it. Sadly that time is past. Of course I didn’t know it until last week when my gynea – wearing a look of concerned pity that said “at least you don’t have ebola” – told me I did.

“You’re getting older,” she announced. Apparently this means the puppies need a firmer harness; the equivalent of moving from a silk cord to a choke chain.

If this is how they plan to behave, I think they need more than that; they need linguistic reassignment! The zest with which they’re heading South suggests lemming more than puppy. I shared my thoughts with Dr R, whose muttering I took to mean that no matter which furry mammal I named them after, my breasts needed firm, functional support, not the rainbow bits of silky magic lining my drawer.

The lemmings are being a pain in the breast.

And that’s why I went to see the gynea in the first place. I pointed out to her that I hadn’t suffered this kind of pain or enjoyed this kind of plumpness since I was pregnant. She said, a little too quickly, that she didn’t think pregnancy was a possibility. Now I know it’s not, unless sperm has a 10 year hibernation period, but I expected her to be a little more optimistic. Hell, I’m paying her for optimism! And apparently for corsetry advice.

I feel the lemmings are letting me, and of course themselves, down. Not because they’re succumbing to the flirtations of gravity, but because they’re blatantly displaying the fact that my hormones are going from crazy to lazy. (Odd though how my mind still opts for the former.)

What do I wear on that side of the hill?

By way of explanation she drew a graph that looked suspiciously like a hill. She explained about oestrogen and progesterone and peri-somethings and other things I would have paid attention to if not distracted by the fact that the little red dot representing me was just over the pinnacle of the hill-graph, on the downward slope.

Dressed to travel, because it's hot on the other side of the hill.

Dressed to travel, because it’s hot on the other side of the hill.

I’m not ready for all of this. For discussions on pills that regulate periods. And wondering if it’s really hot or if it’s me having flashes. And I’m definitely not ready for sports bras that make my chest look like something that’s been bandaged up under a pyramid for a few thousand years.

So I’ve taken to walking around the house without a shirt on and taking selfies of the lemmings wearing gorgeous bras and occasionally glitter. If I’m heading to the place where I’m gearing up to go over that hill, then I claim the right to do it with awesomeness!

Yup, we’ve got out travelling clothes on, the lemmings and me. We’re admiring the view and planning our wardrobe for the downhill slalom.

Do Popstars Want My Panties?

Right now, while I'm braving the toxic waste depository that my son calls a bedroom, my 21 year old self is back stage with Skrillex.

Right now, while I’m braving the toxic waste depository that my son calls a bedroom, my 21 year old self is back stage with Skrillex.

Here’s why I won’t fling my bra or flash my boobs at Skrillex: because as the 80’s song says, “some things hurt more, much more, than cars and girls.” And bouncing around braless at age 39, with 2 years of breastfeeding in your past, definitely qualifies as one of those things.

I won’t wear anything I need a Brazilian for

I suppose there’s always the option of throwing panties instead of bras. But that’s only sexy if they’re made of sunshine and silk. Unfortunately I moved from fun to functional in the underwear department years ago. If it can’t go in the washing machine then it can’t come into the house. There was a stage when I had the time to lovingly hand-wash my delicates in lemon-scented soap. That was back when I didn’t yet know that Barney loved me … or that I loved him too. Back before I knew the joys of eating the gobby bolus my two year old spat into my hand because the art gallery we were in at the time didn’t consider dustbins modern or arty enough to feature. Back when I could still pee in peace without the Elf Lord on the other side of the door begging me to help him punch in the cheat codes on his new xbox game.

In other words, back when Skrillex was still in nursery school.

As matter stand now though, I have a choice of assorted colourful but comfortable (slightly faded by my fabulous washing machine) Woolworths’ panties. Not the sexy teeny tiny kind; the type that comes in packs of five in a cut no-doubt designed to double as birth control.

39 going on 21

Ejecting Skrillex from my laptop – in favour of someone I once owned on vinyl – I’m thinking that I lost I decade somewhere. 39 has arrived suspiciously quickly! And although my body apparently got the memo that I’m getting older, and responded with the unlikable haste of that hand-waving kid at the front of the class; my mind is still dawdling along, peeling a popped chewing gum bubble off her nose and imagining that time is meandering slowly in her wake.

The possibility that our minds exist in a different reality and time-stream from our bodies is one of those strange temporal phenomenon that quantum physicists are working to unravel. In our teens and early twenties our minds are years older than our bodies. And then at some point our minds get caught in a forever-young time loop and our bodies surge ahead at warp speed. Right now my mind is happily weighing up the pros and cons of blue versus silver body glitter and marrying either George Michael or Freddy Mercury.

The two worlds only collide for brief moments when, for example, I face the terror that is the change room mirror. Or when Skrillex is in town.

Don’t call me mommy

This makes me wonder if there’s really a chance of me braving a Skrillex concert; other than to drop my son off I mean. And I suppose not. There’s always the embarrassing possibility of a bouncer singling me out and leading me quietly backstage; not because Skrills wants me in his dressing room, but because they have moral issues with adults taking pics of the kids.

Argh, why I am even agonising over this? Skrillex isn’t even my type! I usually apportion my groupie love based on beautifully written lyrics. If a song has less than 30 words and a fair percentage are bleeped out, then you didn’t really “write” a song did you? You scored some music. (Possibly, along with some high-quality narcotics.) You know what I mean right baby, baby, baby, oh, like baby, baby, baby, oh? Still, there’s something about this cute boy with a half-shaved head, geek glasses and piercings that makes me want to dance like no one’s watching and slip the word “bangarang” into sentences.

Rest your guitar on the zimmer frame

So in an effort to coerce my body and mind into occupying more or less the same time and space, I’ve decided to stick to bands I listened to when I was 16. Back when bras were an optional extra and panties looked like dental floss. And if I see them live and I’m in the Golden Circle the only thing I’ll flash is a smile. And I’ll throw something better than a bra onstage; maybe liniment rub or corn plasters. Then maybe I’ll come home, let my 21 year old dance topless, make sure my 39 year old self has the presence of mind to close the blinds, and let both of them play the music so bleep, bleep, bleep-bleeping loud that the neighbours complain about the bangarang!