Mise en abyme (BAL)

Sarah blows our mind each and every week with her consistency, her dedication, and her humility. She is a constant beautiful force in our NP world and after a blog like this, our admiration and respect definitely grow. This is Sarah B of Baltimore, our latest positivity award winner. This is her story.


The other day I did something I hadn’t in a while – worked out at the gym. For the past year, I’ve primarily used my gym membership for spin classes and showering between NP and work, getting most of my formal fitness activity Wednesday and Friday mornings. But I arrived too early for spin class so I absentmindedly went to do some light weights and bodyweight exercises. I realized after a bit that: 1. I am much stronger than I used to be when I had been doing this stuff on my own on a regular basis(!), and 2. That a big thing that sets November Project apart from the gym is the mirrors.

Yes, there are benefits to not having mirrors in respect to vanity and body image, but I realized that November Project’s lack of mirrors has value far beyond that. It’s natural to try to gauge where you stand and how you stack up to those around you, so at November Project we have to use each other as mirrors. Thankfully, we have the ability reflect so much more than just what you can physically see.

We’re each other’s mirrors in the bounce when you look in someone’s eyes who hugs you and says she’s “happy you’re here” and you can tell she really means it. When someone who you know is much faster than you tells you it’s hard to keep up with you today. When you feel like giving up and see the guys beside you struggling too and know you can finish together. When you get to come up to the front of the group for your birthday or to get the Positivity Award and you see everyone looking back at you and you know how great they all are and they know how great you are.

Hoisties are just squats with your arms out to a mirror

Now here’s where it gets nerdy… Do you know what a mise en abyme (aka the Droste Effect in case that somehow rings any bells) is? You do. It’s like when you get between two mirrors facing one another and kick your legs so it looks like an infinite number of Rockettes doing the cancan. November Project is basically like one huge hall of mirrors with everyone reflecting positivity back and forth on each other forever and ever. You can feel the physical manifestation of this if you’re in the center of the bounce and it’s intense.

Positivity mise en abyme

When I first started coming to November Project a year ago, it seemed like everyone already knew each other and I was pretty intimidated. But now I realize that it’s just that everyone reflects this insane amount of positivity and light and shared accomplishment between each other, whether they’re best friends or total strangers. And this all this positivity bouncing back and forth makes us all look damn good – much better than any mirror could fully reflect.

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