It’s never been work…

In my life, I have had a selection of professions. Some of them fun. Some of them interesting. Most of them… just… not for me. Without calling out any company names, I have toiled in retail. I have finished my days smelling of dead cows (to my now vegetarian lifestyle, this thought fills me with horror…), helped job seekers as a support worker, been shouted at in the finance sector, joined the international travel industry just 3 weeks before the tragic events of 11th September 2001, served 5 hard years in call centres (I was released early for good behaviour), hit an all time low when I sold sheet plastic on a daily basis in a building that was more mould-spores than bricks and mortar (no…. it was even more depressing than it sounds!) and then worked in social housing. I tip-toed through the estates, hoping and wishing I didn’t hear those magical words, shrieked by someone with no social awareness: “Oi! I want a word with you!”. Happiness is certainly not listening to neighbours arguing over unruly and unsightly growths. No one ever needs to speak to strangers about cultivating their bush. I found myself sat at my desk, doing the absolute bare minimum for a boss who wanted the moon on a stick. I swear that even to this day, if I hear the word ‘robust’, my eye starts twitching and I have to reach for a fresh Tena-lady. I recall sitting at my desk staring out the window at the towns magistrates court which was stones throw from my postage stamp sized pane of glass, with Facebook on my computer screen, watching 2 pigeons make babies on the roof (why don’t you ever see baby pigeons?? … I digress…), I realised at that very moment that this would not be the calling in my life.

It is with thanks to the ineptitude of management of the last social housing organisation I worked for however, that I decided to spread my wings and fly into the warm and sweaty arms of the fitness industry.


Q1 2015 A0 Portrait BODYCOMBAT

Circa 2006. Overweight. New to the alien environment of a ‘gym’. Rows and rows of people running and going no where. Lycra. Lycra everywhere. My then-partner told me about a group fitness class called ‘Body Combat’. The very name conjured up images of people being beaten, thrown around the room, St Johns Ambulance on stand by for the end of class to tend to the wounded. I was nervous to go and do it, but do it I did. It was fun! I thought I was going to die at 2 minute intervals, but I ultimately survived. If you are not familiar with this class type, it is a 10 track class, each music track being approximately 5 minutes long, with varying intensities and moves. I had to stop every couple of minutes in fear that I would spontaneously combust or dramatically fall over, with the inability to haul my chunky butt back off the floor, because my arms were too battered from all the punching. I sporadically attended further Body Combat classes throughout the following couple of years, until I joined a big fancy-pants health club in York. ROKO Health Club. To this day, I still thank and respect the instructors there who have shaped and influenced who I am as an instructor today.  I became a regular class goer, and decided to speak to one of the aforementioned instructors to see what was required to become a Body Combat instructor. My ex was stood next to me at the time, and I clearly remember him stating with confidence “…why are you asking? You won’t do it!”. Happiness is certainly not being told you are not good enough to achieve something. As a stubborn and head strong Aquarius, that was actually the push I needed (PLEASE NOTE: I have no idea about supposed qualities of signs of the zodiac. For all I know, the defining quality of an Aquarian could be the ability to identify a type of cheese at 20 metres or spot the colour RED in a rainbow quicker than anyone else). I made enquiries to take my Exercise to Music qualification, which was simply the most fun course I have ever participated in. A pivotal moment was being in a small group towards the end of the course, and 5 of us ‘moo’ing and giggling. I do not know why or how this came about. Maybe it was our sugar depleted bodies desperately just trying to keep moving (or MOOVING! My God! I’m on FIRE!) Upon successful completion of the course (I think I passed based on my obvious ability to perform farm yard noises for no justified reason), I decided that my next challenge would be the Body Combat Instructor course, which I took in July 2009. It was a 2 weekend course in London. Physically demanding doesn’t quite describe how intense the course was! Symbolically, in the week between the 2 weekends, my 6 year relationship broke down. Despite this emotional upheaval, I focussed – pushed myself – survived – and I passed! I have now been teaching the class for the last 8 years. Between then and now, I have taken a huge number of fitness courses, with varying levels of enjoyment and longevity, as well as completing my Personal Training qualifications in the early 2010’s – so I get to talk about my dog to people on a one to one basis. (The latest conversation point is how big my tadpoles are growing). Happiness is talking at people when they are working hard.

The next challenge I am working on, is my qualification to become a course tutor. I cannot express my excitement at the prospect of having a group of people, stuck in a room, forced to listen to me for a number of days at a time! This makes me VERY happy! (Talking is my favourite)

I have definitely found a job that is not a job. It is far from a chore. It is a joy. I get to workout, and get paid for it! I get to strap on a head-mic and sing (questionably) to a whole room of people that have no option but to listen. I get to run around and dance (or wiggle with vague ability at a ‘dance’). If you read my first blog post, I have felt in the past that I needed to be surrounded by people in order to be happy. In order to fulfil my job, I need to have people around me, and the people who come along to my classes are legends, but since I have been teaching, I no longer feel the need to have people around me regularly on a social level. Maybe this is as a result of my career? Maybe it is because I am content in my life and no longer feel the need to self affirm? Maybe it is because in my career, I talk, giggle, sing, shout and chat to epic people all the time? Maybe it’s just because I’m ageing and becoming anti-social? Either way, I currently have the perfect balance of human interaction!

So looking back on my varied jobs, I think they have all played their own parts in making me happy today. I can truly appreciate the magical elements of my chosen career, because I have experienced courses that revolve around safety of dealing with asbestos, and how to safely use generic-brand washing up liquid. (True story). Maybe you need to be unhappy at points in your life in order to allow you to become aware of what your soul cannot cope with?


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