In 1990 I took part in the very first step class ever held in Finland. The Gulf War was underway, thus causing delays to deliveries, including our step boards. So there we were, stepping up and down beer crates in stead.
We learned the ‘basic step’, ‘the L-step’, the ‘New York’, and probably the ‘split step’ too. But not much else, in that first class. After all, we were all new to it, even the instructor.
Over the weeks we were taught more difficult steps like the ‘around the world’ and ‘mambo’, bit by bit combining these into initially shorter, then longer sets.
Soon, most of us were stepping up and down and around our steps (now made by Reebook rather than the ‘Sinebrychoff’ brewery) in tandem, as if we’d surfed out of our mothers’ wombs balancing on a step board.
For me, step was my new love, and the step board my anchor. If I happened to mis-step I could always find my way back in to the rhythm of things, because everything took place around this compact rectangle. Over time the terminology became second nature and my feet instinctively knew what to do, so much so that last year, after a 20 year break, I was able to resume step from where I left off.
Today I watched a complete newbie take part in her first ever step class. She must have been following a ghost instructor invisible to the rest of us, for not one step she took was correct. It looked as if she had not two but fourteen left feet. Yet, she kept going where I’ve seen others collect their garb and walk away.
At the end of the class she told the instructor how she was at the beginning of her fitness journey and just had to grind her teeth and get on with it, and I thought ‘Yes, girlfriend, you’re gonna make it!”.
The funny thing is: so often we think we need to be maestros from day one. And we give up because we don’t paint like Michelangelo or write like Hemingway on our first try. We forget that even the greats were once novices, thus possibly never discovering our true capacity.
As I celebrate my 200 day soberversary I thank the Universe that I accepted those first fumbling steps as the moves of the beginner I was. That I didn’t run to the first pub after a tough class. That I sought help from other beginners and those who had more experience than me. That I learned an all new terminology, and that I used my research as my anchor.
Today I am proud to say that I find alcohol free life instinctive, second nature. “No thank you, I don’t drink.” rolls of the tongue as if I’d only ever uttered those words.
A lesson in tenacity that I will now utilise in my writing. So I welcome you to my new style blog of short and snappy musings. My training ground, where in good time I aim to find my groove, my rhythm, my anchor. For I now realise that it is only through practice that I can reach my true potential. Like the lady with the fourteen left feet, after all, I am only just at the beginning of my journey.
200 days on. I suspect that I don’t need to point out which image was taken today.