Sliding Scales

Damn it, Relax already.

I had my first posing lesson and I’ve been trying to process it ever since. (This post is more for me to work this through)

The day leading up to it went better than I imagined. My demons were in full armour the moment I woke up, but I executed them by dawn. It became a game keeping them dead the rest of the day, but I succeeded. I was fine until I started walking to the appointment. With my first foot step my lower back knotted up. I cranked up my music and  increased my pace to flush it out. I was pleasantly surprised that I wrestled the pain away by the time I arrived.

I had never been to this gym, nor did I know my coach. I had briefly meet him in passing. Everything was arranged via text. I was in a new place with a new person doing a new thing. Appropriately, I was terrified.

The studio he wanted to use was a fish bowl exposed to the entire gym. I was prepared to do whatever he suggested. He asked if I would be comfortable in there. I was extremely relieved when my hesitation was greeted with an alternative, the men’s locker room.

By the sinks he had me undress down to my shorts and he evaluated my physique. As he did I oddly became more and more comfortable. It wasn’t me as a person being discussed, it was a project we were collaborating on. He pointed out some admirable traits, leanness and legs and summarized “nice physique”.

He had me put my shirt back on and proceeded to teach me the quarter turns. But the mirror was to small and we headed back out to the studio. Though I was committed to doing whatever it took, I was praying for a fire drill to close the place down.

On our way we settled on a stretching area that was a bit off to the side. Contrary to my determination, I wanted any protection I could get. Working in the weight room I have become more accustomed to being seem in free space. But the work we did this night wasn’t stretching or strength work. I was obviously learning how to display myself. Every cell in my being crackled with objections; this is not something a modest person does! But I stood my ground and practiced the turns in full view.

He is a good teacher. He found ways to communicate the key objectives through my terror frozen brain. At the end of the session he gave me homework, stop hiding my body in a hunch, practice everyday for 15-20 minutes and send him a video every 3 days. But the most important thing he wants me to do is relax.

The following day I asked my therapist how can I do that. He brilliantly suggested I develop a persona, a character I pretend to be. I’ve been busy finding his name and flushing out his back story. But mostly I’ve just been asking how he would walk down the street, stand on stage. How would he do the quarter turns?

I had a pretty complete picture of my alter ego when I shot the first video*. But when I watch it, I don’t sense the other man at all. I see a truer me. It’s vague and faint, more of a wordless feeling. But there is a truth. Can the two scales, reality and fiction slide by each other? Can they occupy the same space? Is it in pretending we find ourselves?


*I posted the video on Tumblr

3 thoughts on “Sliding Scales

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  1. Relax. Sometimes the answers are right in front of us. I have to admit that my new favorite phrase is going to be “…I was praying for a fire drill”. Brilliant!

    Liked by 1 person

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