I realized I am coming up on my 5 year anniversary mark for my membership at Labarre and have been so inspired by the blog posts of fellow members in the community, that I thought I would share my own story. I don’t even like writing, so that tells you a little bit of what Labarre means to me.
When I was pregnant with my son, Eugene, I noticed this cool looking studio in our new neighborhood that I knew I wanted to check out, the moment I got cleared to work out post partum. I had tried barre a few times in the past and wasn’t completely sold but something about this studio was welcoming and warm plus they offered child care. Needless to say, I was intrigued.
Literally the day Eugene turned 8 weeks old and I was cleared to exercise, we were at Labarre Studios! I needed this for my mind, body and soul. First time parenting was hard for me. I was struggling with nursing and pumping full time, feeling all of the emotions as my body attempted to regroup and stabilize and while I enjoyed and acknowledged I was privileged to be at home, on paid leave, I really missed conversations with adults. I was talking to our dog, Bishop, a lot, and he does not make a great conversationalist.
My first class, with Sara Rosa (labarre's studio manager & founding instructor) kicked my ass in every way and I loved it. I remember wondering how the hell am I supposed to balance my behind on this unstable ball and not break a body part? There was a lot of jiggling. There still is. I was impressed with the child care attendant. She had six kids back there with her and Eugene was the youngest by far and it was all good. Throughout the years, sometimes Eugene wasn’t so “good” and I say it with quotation marks because let’s face it, he is a kid and kids act out but the child care staff always were caring and accommodating. I always stayed and got my workout and self care time in.
Labarre is so much more than just a place to sweat. It is a second home. I loved walking there (now I have to drive as we moved), and knowing I was doing something for myself, amongst other people who were showing up for themselves and each other as well.
In 2018, I got a scary new diagnosis related to my heart. I always knew I had irregular heart rhythms since college, and being a nurse, I was pretty well versed in what it meant and what my limitations were. This was different because this was structural and it gave me some anxiety as I read my cardiologist’s message. He was actually overseas when he messaged me so I was even more concerned (also appreciative). I have this vivid memory because I was on my way to Labarre for an esthetician appointment with Lorena and I happened to check my phone right before. As Lorena and I started to make small talk, I started to cry, because I was scared and not sure what this diagnosis meant, not only for me but also my son. She was so sweet and endearing. I am sure it wasn’t the Brazilian wax she had in mind.
It turns out, I needed to have a pacemaker/ defibrillator inserted for preventative measures. While I was ok with this plan, I wasn’t crazy about having a procedure as my last one(at a different hospital) wasn’t ideal. I remember asking Lisa Alberino (labarre's owner/founder) about pausing my membership since I couldn’t work out for some time after the procedure and again, the tears started coming, right at the front desk. Lisa came around and held my hand and reassured me that everything will be alright and they will be there for me when I can return. It made me feel so much better. Fun fact, I randomly learned another member also has a pacemaker as we were randomly discussing moves we had to modify. Again, the community welcomes you.
When COVID hit, I remember being at Labarre and Lisa having a calm presence at class, letting us know we were all in it together. Labarre really did everything they could to continue offering services to the community and I appreciated it because we needed to connect. I remember the barre happy hour zoom classes and the soccer field classes when part of the fun was making sure you didn’t get hit by a ball. Labarre was and is super committed to its members.
I also felt supported by Labarre during the violent crimes in the US against black people. Labarre didn’t stay quiet. I really respected it. They put out a message and commitment, which they hold true to. I noticed other local businesses chose to remain silent and they lost my business.
Above all, the time I felt I needed labarre the most was when my brother in law passed away last summer. DJ was killed by a drunk driver at the age of 26 and needless to say, it shook our family to the core. I leaned into my Labarre community for help. Lorena, the esthetician, actually became our part time nanny during COVID and she graciously stepped in, to help with our son Eugene, so we could make plans. Lisa reached out to me right away to offer her condolences and services as well. I felt truly supported by this group of women.
A day or two after his death, I took Claudia’s class virtually, just to try to clear my mind. It was mostly me laying on the floor and crying. It still felt cathartic and needed to happen.
Instructors always say random things throughout class and sometimes it invokes such an emotion in me because it is exactly what I needed to hear- it’s like therapy.
DJ, as well as several of my family members and friends, have been to Labarre with me and I am grateful I have this memory of us, enjoying something together as I can share a piece of my community with them.
If you are curious about classes or services at Labarre, do it! You will enjoy it and become a new member of a wonderful community; maybe I will see you there.