the room in the upper left is where i have my exercise class

SasuSaku Month - Day 1: First Love || [Fanfic] Prospective Partners I (Sasuke)

Title: Prospective Partners I (Sasuke)

Rating: K/G

Notes: First revision done. I’ll probably re-read it again a few times just to make sure there are no more mistakes ^^ Also, I forgot to clarify a couple of Japanese terms that I used. They’re at the end of the story. I hope you like it :)

Words: 1794

PROSPECTIVE PARTNERS I (SASUKE)

Tired after a long day of meetings, Uchiha Sasuke, President of the Uchiha Corporation threw his briefcase onto the enormous desk of his office and sighed, pulling at his tie while plopping down unceremoniously on his chair. His head was throbbing uncomfortably, the prelude of a massive headache.

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On Chronic Illness, Fitspo, and Circus

Being a chronically ill/disabled athlete is a weird thing.

As someone with a chronic illness (Well, let’s be real here, multiple chronic illnesses as well as disabilities aside from chronic illness too), being physically active is hard. In the world of disability, disabled athletes generally aren’t disabled by disabilities that are chronic in nature. This is in large part because of the guidelines for which disabilities make someone eligible to participate in competitive adaptive sports. So, in order to qualify for something like the para pan-am games, the disabilities that one can have are things like missing a limb through amputation or congenitally, being blind, people experiencing paralysis, having an intellectual disability, etc. All of those things are important. It is hugely important that sport find a place for these people.  

What that doesn’t account for though is the large numbers of disabled people who don’t fit into those categories. It doesn’t make room for people whose disabilities are cyclical or variable. Those who might be able to do 20 push ups one day, but next week not be able to get out of bed. Those who have periods of extreme fatigue. Those for whom a 5 minute walk around the block is equivalent to a marathon not due to their level of fitness, but due to how their body interacts with the process. Or those who are able to participate in physical activity only if they exclude any other optional activity from their lives. For those of us, trying to figure out where you fit in the world of physical activity and sport can be a really confusing and frustrating experience.

Fitspo can be generally described as messages, quotes and images intended to inspire someone to continue making progress on a journey to physical fitness, that often includes “healthy” eating and regular physical activity. These messages can range from being body positive and inclusive to those of all body shapes and sizes, to messages that have often been criticized as promoting disordered eating and compulsive exercising behaviours. 

Seeing Fitspo as a disabled, chronically ill, aerialist is a weird mixture of motivating and shaming for me. Sometimes when I see fitspo I feel motivated. I actually do my conditioning and stretching exercises at home. I make a renewed commitment to working on the core and upper body strength that is holding me back. I look at my fitbit stats and make plans to make sure that I hit my step and other goals more often. Other times, or sometimes even simultaneously it is shaming. My circus training schedule aims for me to be training on apparatuses 3 days a week (Not counting conditioning or cadio). Most weeks if I manage to make it to class one day a week we’re doing good, two days a week is incredible, and three days a week, wow… I don’t know what higher power is looking favourably at me in that moment, but if you could tell me what to do so that I keep myself in their favour I’d appreciate it. That’s in part why I take so many classes though, I know I won’t be able to hit all of them, so if I aim for having multiple opportunities during the week to go, there is a better chance that I’ll at least manage to hit one of them. In order to do that though, there are some pretty big sacrifices that need to be made.

One of the biggest sacrifices that gets made so that I can be active is my diet. Sure, a mostly veggie-based, protein heavy “healthy” diet, would be ideal, but it just isn’t going to happen. Most days of the week between the meds I take and everything that I do, if I actually eat at all we’re doing well. When I come home from circus and still have to make dinner, putting chicken nuggets or a piece of fish into the toaster over is about as exciting as it gets. It means that I pick going out and doing something over going grocery shopping regularly and having fresh fruits and veggies in my fridge. It means that when I do go shopping, I know that I might have 30 minutes left of being able to stand up energy left for the rest of the night when I get home from circus, so dinner has to be something that requires 5 minutes or less of that standing up time. Fast food drive throughs and pick ups generally happen at least once a week too. In an ideal world, sure maybe I’d be able to come home and make that low carb squash “pasta” dish, but in my world, it isn’t going to happen.

The other sacrifice that I make is my social life. While the others that I train with might be able to have energy to go to class, chase the kids around, make dinner, go out with friends after, I don’t. If I have class that evening, I’m going home and to bed. I might go out for dinner because you have to eat, and then I don’t have to make it myself, but that’s pretty much the limit of my energy. One of the reasons why this is such a sacrifice is because the gym isn’t a great place to meet other chronically ill people. Especially not when you are training in something like circus. So, the social relationships that I get to develop in that space are limited to people who often exude these fitspo personalities that fill me with this combination of motivation and shame. While I might be in awe that you train circus four days a week, perform locally, and are taking pole dancing classes and training for your third marathon, while eating a low carb high fat diet, when I talk about how I haven’t been to circus class in three weeks because I was in the hospital for a week and then spent the next two weeks barely getting out of bed, but I missed it like hell the whole time and I’m happy to be back, I just get a blank stare in return telling me that I’ve broken one of the unwritten social rules that I don’t understand again. My social peers in this space are people who experience my existence and realities as vastly uncomfortable. So, making the choice to make circus and physical activity my social priority and energy priority, while being mostly great for my body and my relationship with my body, it isn’t so great for my relationships with my peers or my social needs. 

The final sacrifice that does need to be talked about too is pain. As someone with chronic illnesses pain is just a part of life for me. It is there, and it’s there no matter what I do. It is however important to mention that training, of any kind, comes with pain as well. One of the fitspo messages about circus is “You know you are a circus performer when you wake up in pain every morning”. I think it’s really important that chronically ill people are fully informed that training regularly at the right level for you (Whether it’s walking around the block, or hanging off a hoop by bits that most people generally don’t use to support their weight) is going to cause you pain, and be allowed to make the informed choice about whether an increase in their pain is something that they can handle. Especially if their ability to participate in this activity is going to be interrupted and they are going to have to build up their tolerance to it again and again. I can’t count the number of times I’ve built up and lost my callouses over the past year. Or a trick finally stopped bruising and I had to take a few weeks off, and it goes right back to bruising. In the days after I train I move more stiffly, and every movement hurts. I wake up in pain and go to bed in pain, and that is on top of what I am experiencing because of my illnesses. Sometimes I have to use my pain management protocols for my illness pains to manage my training pains. 

So, what I’d like to see are messages for all of us as athletes. I’d like to see messages that promote balance and self-care. I’d like to see messages that promote forgiveness, and affirm that there is no right path to getting to where you want to be. That it’s okay if your version of fitness is walking the dog to the end of the block and back when really you just want to let him out into the yard to pee. That it’s okay if you can’t get out of bed sometimes, or even most of the time. To be motivated to find ways to do the things that you want to do. By which I mean, figuring out what is physically possible for you without overdoing it, and engaging in activities that you enjoy. Even if what is physically possible in that moment is just sitting up assisted for a few minutes. I think that being able to see yourself as an athlete is such an amazing thing for disabled people, it’s such a change in perspective. Being able to look at a body that often doesn’t work, and be proud of what it is capable of doing is a hugely powerful thing. It’s just a matter of the athletic world being able to open up and accept our bodies as athletic too.  

broken glasses.

prompt: ‘i was trying to read in the park and your stray football fucking knocked me unconscious’ au

Going outside was a terrible idea, and Troye made sure Tyde and Steele knew it. In fact, they probably had heard nothing else since dragging their brother begrudgingly from his darkened bedroom and down the road to the park to play football. Troye was adamant that something would go wrong, that people like him belonged in quiet, dark, internet accessible places, not places with nature or strangers or god forbid, exercise. But Tyde wanted to try out for the new American football team the school was starting up, and Steele wanted to spend time with his brothers before going back to uni, and Troye couldn’t come up with a better excuse than filling his Tumblr queue, so here they were.

For Connor, the park was a refuge. It reminded him of home, of Minnesota, of forests and trees and fall, all things he was missing due to the backwards seasons of Perth. Being an exchange student had seemed like an excellent idea, and he knew it looked good on paper, but being an extreme introvert in a foreign country had only made him feel more isolated. His dorm was full of overly muscular jocks on athletic scholarships who, despite technically speaking the same language as him, Connor completely failed to comprehend. And while he appreciated the toned, generally shirtless residents, as any self respecting gay boy would, he simply felt out of place. One benefit of social isolation however was exceptional grades, due to a lack of any sort of diversions. So when the party broke out early in the dorm, Connor packed up his book of mid century poetry and his journal and headed to his favourite bench in the park, hoping to do one last analysis session before his literature test the next day.

“HEADS UP” Connor heard the loud, melodic Australian voice ring across the field beside him, but didn’t for a moment consider it was directed at him. That is, until the sudden and intense pain in the side of his head knocked him over, and he found himself flat on his back in the grass, glasses squashed under his shoulder and what looked curiously like a football lying a few feet away. He tried to scramble to his feet but felt a jolt of pain rush through his skull, and found himself sinking back towards the ground. A pair of hands caught his arms before he tumbled completely, and he was led gently back to the bench just a foot to his right. “Hey there. Are you alright mate?” It was the voice from before, before the nasty ball had knocked him from his reading. Connor tried to focus on the face in front of him, but other than a blurry and angular face, all he saw was two deep pools of blue that logically had to be eyes, but to him looked like the deep water of the lake he’d grown up swimming in every summer. A hand waved in front of his face and brought Connor’s attention back to the blue eyed Aussie who curiously enough was still gripping his biceps. “Your football broke my glasses” Connor muttered, still feeling a bit dazed. “What? Where?” The boy stepped back to look but stopped suddenly when both boys heard a *crunch* on the ground. “Well, if my fucking football didn’t do it, my massive feet just did. Shit.” Connor knew this wasn’t funny, knew he needed to study, but there was something about the boy’s endearing cursing and self deprecation that had him giggling. “Dude, how hard did I hit you? Are you okay? Shit. Shit. STEELE. TYDE” Connor winced as the boy started yelling what seemed like total gibberish, but must have been names, as two other boys sprinted over. “Troye, what the fuck did you do? Are you okay mate?” asked the smaller one, directing the second question to Connor, and the boy with oceans for eyes, Troye, Connor surmised, groaned in response. “Outside is always a bad idea. I told you.” The older one smiled and punched Troye gently on the arm. “You know T, if you want to hit on cute boys, you don’t have to actually hit them.” Troye’s eyes got darker and stormy, and he hissed towards the other two. “Take your fucking football and go home.” Connor smiled in hopes of convincing them he was fine, really, and the two boys shrugged and laughed before walking back in the other direction.

Troye picked up the bent metal from the ground that was meant to be Connor’s glasses before sitting gingerly beside him. “I’m Troye, by the way. I’m so sorry. I’m an idiot. No, they’re idiots. I told them I shouldn’t do this. I’m sorry. Can I do anything to make it up to you? I’ll get your glasses fixed.” Connor tried to hush the boy by putting a hand on his knee in comfort, but misjudged the distance and placed his hand quite firmly on the young man’s upper thigh. Both boys sat up straight, neither one moving away. “Uh, Troye, there’s one thing you can do.” Troye’s blue eyes widened in alarm, it seemed to Connor, and he decided to continue speaking before any assumptions were made. “I was studying. I need to read a few more stanzas yet, and since you’ve destroyed my glasses-” Troye tried again to apologize, but Connor just squeezed his leg with the hand that hadn’t moved yet, and continued on. “-maybe you could read it to me?” Connor finished up and left the question hanging there. In truth, he had a second pair of glasses in his dorm room and if Troye wanted to get out, he could probably find his way back perfectly fine, but he was hoping that Troye would have caught on, between the constant shushing and the fact that Connor was still touching him, that he wanted to spend just a bit more time with this beautiful boy. Troye leaned across Connor, bringing his neck within inches of Connor’s lips, and picked up the book that sat on the other side of the bench. Connor tried to keep breathing as Troye moved back. “This book? Sylvia Plath and other works?” “Yeah. Its for a class. Please?”

Two hours later, Connor did find his way back to his dorm room. But not alone. He walked beside Troye, shoulders brushing. Troye’s arms were full of Connor’s books, as he’d insisted on carrying everything, part of the apologizing he kept doing every few minutes. They’d read for an hour, then gone for a walk, and now with rumbling in their stomachs, were heading to the coffee shop on the main level of Connor’s dorm. Connor had yet to tell Troye that he hadn’t really needed his help, but he didn’t think he needed to do that today. The little white lie had guaranteed there would be plenty of time to do that in the future. After all, it’d only taken about five pages of poetry before Connor stopped paying attention to the words and started planning exactly how to ask out the beautiful boy. It’d been 10 pages when he got up the courage. Troye had said yes before Connor even finished the question. They’d decided to go to a bookstore next week, as neither wanted to do anything remotely athletic, for fear of further injury, and Troye had a sudden and curious urge to read poetry. For the first time since arriving in the country, Connor was very appreciative of his semester in Australia. Now, he was wishing it wouldn’t end.