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  • Writer's pictureAshley Gray

10 Things I think... soul cycle edition

I went to my first spinning class. I'm now convinced folks who spin regularly are masochists. Here's my story of surviving the wheels of torture.

1. So listen, I knew I was in for it when 16 white women squealed in excitement as they walked in the door. Not that I can't relate to the squeal of womanhood, but um... yeah. They were all size 2-4. I am not. Also, I had some assumptions about the "soul" in soul cycle. I was hoping for 2 Live Crew to come out and we'd bike twerk.

2. The shoes are like reverse high heels if that's a thing. Like your toes are on the high part. I felt like one of those high fashion models who can't quit handle the shoe so they over compensate with hand motions that are really disguised balancing techniques.

3. The instructor walks in. My life shatters. She's this petite, sweet Black woman with a growing baby bump. I just know that this baby bump works to my benefit. Like, how fast can she really bike with that obstruction of joy? This sweet, tiny woman proceeds to turn the lights of and turns the trap music up. I feel regret. Immediately. What the hell have I signed up for? Those pregnant legs start lapping mine by 4 times. She is yelling out. Waving her towel. This is song one.

4. I didn't think I was gonna make it through song one. No lie. I regretted every bad decision I ever made in life including the coconut pineapple ice cream I ate the midnight before. After song one, I was hoping for a breather. NOPE. She clearly wants to kill or embarrass me. Also, I may or may not have to vomit.

5. There's this fine ____ human next me on the left. Black man, nice build, facial hair just so, and a smile that results in me turning beet red. I can't let him down. Maybe he has no expectations of me, but I for sure created some for myself. We are two of a few Black people in the room and since Black Panther, I just can't let us down. Wakanda Forever. But like where is the strength of the Black Panther right now? I need a spoonful.

6. All seats are not created equal. Like what in the gynecological torturous hell is that seat? Right now I would normally insert some sort of visual imagery for you to imagine my pain, but words fail me. In this moment menstruation sounds like vacation.

7. There is sweat everywhere. I am dripping from scalp to feet. Have your shins ever been sweaty? Everyone is the room is sweaty and there is some strange, gross exchange of fog that I am so uncomfortable with. I call it body essence. It's not a consensual sharing. The mirrors are fogged, walls sweating and I am wondering who this benefits. If I wanted to do bikram yoga, I'd sign up for that. I don't do shared body essence. It's way to personal. It's like getting water from a water fountain and someone comes to drink out of the one next to you while making eye contact. Or like a shared ice cream cone. I don't want to share a cone. The dude sweating next me doesn't look that bad though. Like maybe my sweat with glisten like unicorn dust or something and he'll be like, "Oh hey beautiful."

8. I swear I normally have rhythm. I cannot bike on beat. I'm watching all these non- melanated sisters rock to the beat and I am beginning to question everything I thought I knew. I did not cheer for Herbert Hoover Boys and Girls Club and make up dances at Girls, Inc. to be out here looking crazy. I mean I watched the fly girls and emulated them for years. Also, Martin Luther the King did not live and die for me to be out here embarrassing the race. I must be letting Maya, Billie and Zora nem down greatly.

9. So I make it to the end of class. EVERYTHING HURTS. I got off that bike walking like a baby giraffe attempting its first steps. Why won't these legs work? UGH. I don't want this fine ___ man to see me and think I'm weak. Like if this were mate selection in the wild, I'd need to hunt a few antelope or something to show him I was a boss lioness. Throbbing starts in my thighs and so I say screw his thoughts. I basically just saved the world whether he knows it or not. He'd be crazy to not acknowledge the food I've kept down and the extra dip in my hips when Beyonce's Standing on the Sun remix came on.

10. On a serious note, health is wealth. Maybe I'm a masochist too, because I'm going going back back to the bike. I will not be out pedaled when my ancestors created rhythm. I got something to prove. At some point I have to accept that temporary pleasures like ice cream at midnight and hot cheetos on bad days are sometimes more harmful than helpful.

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