Dafaniels, 2019 has been a whirlwind (hwurrl-wind) so far. I promised that I would make these blogs a monthly thing and, in true Daniel fashion, I completely ignored that resolution and did my own thing. But to be fair that was a really on brand thing for me to do, so it’s your fault for thinking I’d keep up the monthly blog. Just kidding, I could never blame my faults on my Dafaniels I love you all too much. BUT there is a really off brand resolution that I’ve actually managed to keep up so far in 2019. If you’ve been keeping up with me on social media or just listening to anything I say, you know already…SOULCYCLE.
Y’all. I got bit by this bug hard. I was dragged to my first SoulCycle class last August/September with my cousin, Jet. I was feeling cocky because I used to do spin classes at my college’s gym. We had to wheel in our own bikes, we were in a dance studio with blaring fluorescent lights that were on the whole time, and our instructor was tucked away in the farthest corner so she could connect her iPod to the sound system. But I remember getting such a good workout in, and feeling great for the rest of the day (I used to go every other morning at 6am). So when Jet asked if I wanted to go, I was like “how hard could it be?”
So when I walked up to my first SoulCycle class, I was expecting a janky situation like the one at USF. No, no, honey. My school’s gym was the community college version of SoulCycle University. First thing I noticed was that the studio looked and smelled amazing. The staff were nice, but I was first intimidated when they handed me my shoes with the cleats for clipping in and I panicked even more when I tried to walk in them and I couldn’t walk straight (the bikes at my college’s gym had regular flat pedals with a basket thing to hold your feet in place). I saw my instructor, Casey, and she looked like the EPITOME of SoulCycle. I swear, if SoulCycle were a person she would be it. She has long thick flowy red hair that goes down to her booty, she rocked lululemon leggings, and she greeted every rider in the studio with eye contact and a smile that made you feel welcome. It was totally not the vibe I was expecting because I’ve heard SHO many people talk about how snooty SoulCycle people are. But I felt so welcome! The studio itself was intimidating because it was completely black in there save for some candles, the red exit signs, and the light from outside pouring in as the door was propped open. The music was blasting so loud, so I couldn’t hear Jet when he was explaining to me how to set up my bike properly. I blacked out, and then I was clipped in and sitting on the bike. The class itself was HARD- I was blown away by how difficult it was. Everything I thought I knew about spinning went out the window. I had fun, but I didn’t feel motivated enough to go back on my own.
Until January when I was still on the high of optimism as the new year began. My other cousin, Miranda, was still in town on Christmas break for another week and she needed someone to go to SoulCycle with her. Having already done one class, I offered to go with her. I knew what I was getting myself into, no big deal. Miranda and I went to SoulCycle about three to four more times while she was in town. Y’all. I tell you what. I. Got. HOOKED. We took all our classes with Casey, the instructor with the long red hair that I met back in August/September. And she was just as delightful as I remembered! Her spirit got me motivated in a way that I never felt before, and I found myself WANTING to go back and workout some more.
After Miranda went back to school, I kept going to SoulCycle. I carved it into my weekly routine, and it was all I could talk about to anyone who would listen. I was a girl gone mad!
But the moment SoulCycle really ~clicked~ for me and I had “my moment” was when I took a class with this new (to me) instructor, Luke. Before I explain more, you need to know that each class at SoulCycle has a weights section. The song immediately after the weights section is usually a “look inside yourself” song- meaning there’s no choreography, the lights stay off, and the instructor blows out the candles (the really special instructors will bring a candle to a rider and have them blow it out- it’s like a rite of passage, it’s so beautiful), anyway the room is basically pitch black during this song and you just ride your bike and think about whatever you think about. It’s like a retreat. ANYWAY, Luke’s class. We finish the weights section and the next song starts to play- it’s “You Will Be Found” from the musical Dear Evan Hansen. Y’all. If you’ve never heard this song- go right now and YouTube it. Listen to the OBC soundtrack. Listen to it. Are you listening?! First of all Dear Evan Hansen already gets me supes emosh, but hearing that particular song in that particular moment, in that dark room pedaling on a stationary bike in a workout studio that I choose to come back to because I actually enjoy it? It was a huge moment for me and I MAY HAVE shed a tear! A huge part of my mental struggles have stemmed from insecurities about my weight and my self-image. I never went to a gym because, first of all, I hate exercising. But more than that, I hate feeling like people are staring at me and judging. In SoulCycle, I truly feel like I can be 100% myself, scream as loud as I need to when we’re climbing a hill or sprinting, and nobody’s judging or making fun of me for it. We’re all there for the same goal and we’re all there to support each other on our journeys whatever they may be, and I truly started to feel that confidence building in that moment.
When I started going to SoulCycle on my own, I would always get the bike in the furthest corner of the back row, away from everybody else. Lololol self esteem issues. But another pivotal moment for me happened when Casey, my instructor, came back to me and said “I think it’s time you move closer to the front!” So the next class, I sat in a bike in the front row. Casey gave me a shoutout in class when she noticed, and everyone was cheering and being all supportive and cute and it was such a boost! To know that people you don’t know are supporting you, and we’re all pushing ourselves mentally and physically, it feels so damn good! Things happen to you in that room, I know it sounds so culty and I don’t blame you for thinking I’m crazy. I’m just passionate, y’all! I’ve gone to SoulCycle every week of 2019, so far and this week I hit my 50th ride milestone. I’m seriously so so so indebted to my go-to instructors, Casey Hirsch and Maddy Post. I’m so thankful for my family who have listened to me go on and on non-stop about SoulCycle, my cousins Jet and Miranda for introducing me to this in the first place, and my friends who have all come to ride with me.
I know we’ve been in 2019 for a while, but this year is off to a great start and it’s shaping up to be my favorite year yet. Dafaniels, thank you for your patience in all this SoulCycle content. Thank you for reading my story, and sending your likes and words of encouragement through social media. I couldn’t do any of this without y’all’s support. ‘CAUSE I AM NOT ALOOOOONE.
Another Dear Evan Hansen reference. If you haven’t heard the song yet, seriously what the fuck are you even doing? GO FORTH, DAFANIELS!!