Shakespeare’s mistress


“My mistress, when she walks, treads upon the ground.” – Shakespeare, Sonnet 130

I don’t so much ‘tread’ as trip over my own feet.

Yes, once more I have managed to fall head over heels not in love, but in sheer, unadulterated clumsiness.

If I didn’t know better, I’d think I were pregnant.

Don’t laugh, I knew I was pregnant with my daughter when I flung, in slow motion, a glass of orange juice over a client.

This time I know better. It’s the third fall in three months.

After 10 years of bliss, the next vertebrae in my spine is crumbling into dust trapping my sciatic nerve. Don’t feel stupid if you don’t know what this nerve is, I didn’t either until the first time this happened.

Basically, my left leg is numb. So, I don’t always feel the ground quite as intimately as I should. I can hop on coals in other words and not feel a spark.

This time my epic, not quite as graceful as a swan dive, ended up with me looking like I did a round with Mike Tyson, limping like Hop-along Cassidy (again) and with concussion.

I balanced like a ballerina en pointe as I gracefully placed my son’s boat into the crystal, cold water of Victoria Lake.

I sprung as graceful as a gazelle and then didn’t. I managed to land half in and half out of the water.

Hit my head on the only concrete block along an expanse of soft mud.

Snap my glasses in two.

Split my lip.

Bleed like a stuck pig.

Bruise every point of my body.

Rend into shattered rags the fragile cloth of dignity.

And when does this all happen?

When I’m about to jump on a plane and head to the bloody beach.

That’s when.

The Universe, John Travolta and the Nia Class

Oh dear, I think have I concussion. I am the type of person the universe has to hit repeatedly over the head with a 2×4 to make a point. By the time the message hits home I have a pounding headache and have to thank said universe for the invention of Myprodol. Tonight the universe must be sighing with relief and saying, “At last! I thought she’d never get it!”

This morning I took myself to a Nia dance class. On the spur of the moment and not at all like I’ve been tripping over Nia dance instructors for months. My colleague’s partner happens to be one. She happens to be friends with a friend of mine who is one. I happened to read my friend’s Nia blog and repost a quote. All of a sudden a Facebook friend who is a journalist about all things cool and amazing in my city happens to mention that she’d like to cover a class. “Oh hell!” said my subconscious, “It’s about time you went back.”

My subconscious was right. I went to a few classes a year ago, but my back was so painful at the slightest movement I didn’t return. Now that I have a new lease on life, it is high time I started thanking my body for healing.

The thing is, after years of nursing back pain I’m not exactly the fittest person out there. Neither am I particularly well co-ordinated. But I do love to dance, usually when the children are asleep and I can pop in my iPod and cavort across the garden in the moonlight like some erratic and slightly mad Wiccan priestess.

I arrived at the class today with some trepidation only to be warmly greeted by Mia, the instructor for the morning. Suddenly, I didn’t feel quite so uneasy. There is something very disarming about a heartfelt welcome by a woman who uncannily resembles Minnie Driver.

The rest of the class was equally as charming, all age groups, all body types and all of us a little too self-aware at the start. And those mirrors? My God, I never realised I have such skinny little toothpick legs – GAH! I looked for all the world like a stick man among real, flesh and blood people. Or an anaemic giraffe, only with less grace.

Periodically my husband quotes Shakespeare at me, with varying degrees of success. One of which he is particularly fond is “My mistresses eyes are nothing like the sun”. For some reason this does not make me feel good about myself at all, but I digress. To quote a line, “My mistress, when she walks, treads on the ground”. Nia instructors don’t tread. They glide. They ooze like golden honey over a hot waffle.

With all these hang-ups why did I choose Nia at all? Because it embraces people with hang-ups and instead of competing with terrifying leotard-clad aerobicisers, it’s all about finding your body in your space. I’ve been so hung up on my lower back that I seem to have forgotten I have a body at all. It’s not exhausting, it’s exhilarating. It’s like yoga in movement.

Although we all started cold and very conscious of everyone else, it wasn’t long before we were relaxing into the music and the movement. It was with something approaching envy I watched the other more seasoned veterans embrace the space they were in and they fluid movement of their bodies. Beauty has nothing to do with being thin and everything to do with accepting your body, imperfections and all.

By the time I left John Travolta had nothing on me. I was feeling limber and joyful. I didn’t feel like a great awkward galumph anymore. My body aches, but pleasantly, because it’s all about listening to what your body needs, how it needs to move and when it’s had enough. Admittedly, around mid-afternoon I succumbed to the need for a long nap and in a little while a long, hot bath.

It beats Bootcamp hands down. I am damned if I’m going to pay some muscled lothario in combat gear to yell at me. I am very aware of my fitness shortcomings thank you very much and I don’t need them yelled across the Northern suburbs. Although, my boys seem to thrive on it and by the time I picked them up were on an adrenalin high that has yet to wear off.

Today Nia.
Tomorrow So You Think You Can Dance?
Or maybe Strictly Ballroom?

If you feel like giving it a try, click on this link to Nia Glow.
Come on, it’ll do you good to try something new.

Is this your dagger I see before me?

One thing they do not teach in advertising schools

Is how to gladly suffer fools

Of course advertising is my entire life

And I’ll happily cancel my plans for tonight

Don’t worry about my family holiday

I didn’t really want to go anyway

I’m deeply sorry for your pitiful life

But if you take away mine I’ll take yours with a knife

My ass is yours from 9 to 5

After then you take a nose dive

Down my list of high priorities

Right down there with other minorities

The next little rant I think stands true

No matter what type of job you do

There are those, with thanks here to Shakespeare’s vision,

Who can smile and smile and be a villain

Who while seeming friendly are on another track

Just waiting to put a dagger in your back

The sad thing is they lack the courage

To say their piece right to your face

They are quite lacking in social grace

So some today I shall venture down there

And ask this young lady her issues to air

I know we’re heading for a showdown

It might become a bit of a hoedown

But harking back to what I said yesterday

Karma’s a bitch when she’s out to get paid

Am a cynical, control-freak bitch?

I’d rather be Glinda the Good Witch

With sparkly red shiny shoes

With magic powers so I can’t lose

I’d wave my wand and make it so

Like a Star Trek captain off I’d go

Next week I’m off to the sun and the sea

For long sweet cocktails and time for me

My phone will be off on a permanent basis

I’m going to spend the week in stasis

If you’ve got a crisis call 911

Don’t call me, I’ll be on the beach having fun!

I’ve been stuck meetings all day long

If I don’t fall asleep I won’t take a step wrong

I’m tired of hearing the same old thing

I’ll copy and paste your next BIG thing

You want a cherry on the top

A Tangerine, pop pop pop?

I think I’ve reached a critical mass

And lost my cool in this morass

Of crazy briefs with timing lines

Based on a quantum physics guideline

Where all things exist at the exact same time

I’d better shut up if I’d got nothing to add

And smile and nod as if I’ve gone mad

Glad, sad and bad bad bad

It won’t change the world it’s only an ad

I can’t sell things that just aren’t there

I can sell ice to Eskimos, but not empty air

All the creative in the world just won’t cut it

If you don’t have the actual physical product

I’ll tell you what, let’s approach it like this

We’ll put in PowerPoint and then discuss it

Ad bloody nauseam. You write the agenda

I’ll put in the final addenda

So, what we are going to do for PR?

It turns out she hasn’t a clue thus far.

Don’t panic that we’re seeing the client tomorrow

I’m sure there’s some other strat we could borrow

To cover our asses and make her smile

So we can buy ourselves some time.

I love the woman I sit next to

She loud and proud and her name is Tsepho

Here’s her catch-phrase in case you care

“That’s some schizophrenic shit right there!”

It’s almost time to get on the road

If I meet Buddha I’ll let you know