Friday, September 16, 2011

You Are Going the Wrong Way

Here's my experience at a gym before a couple months ago. NONE. I've signed up for a gym membership to do spinning with my trainer and friend, she is a MONSTER. A Jillian Michaels impersonator of the highest form.

House of Pain - She even looks and sounds like her.

Meaning she is inspiring and a little crazy and really good at training and teaching spinning. I wish I had her get-up-and-go and fire for exercise. But I do not. I am not excited and I do not "wooo". I don't. I can't imagine that I will someday, never say never, but I can't imagine that happening. However, I appreciate the hype on her part to get me and the class excited about exercise, otherwise I'd still be cramming ice cream in my gob and not wearing my skinny jeans I'm wearing right now as I write this.

I now have a membership not at a Curves or a Women's Workout World, the mom places that I, in my big fat monster image of myself should go to, but nope - I go to the Chicago Athletic Clubs (and because I will do what House of Pain tells me to do most of the time and she teaches there, and I trust her to go to her classes). That's right. Let that seep into your pores. Soak in the hipster, young, fit, false atmosphere that creates and then think about how that contradicts with the pessimistic, negative, and judgemental atmosphere that I create just to ultimately mask how self loathing I am.

This is my experience. Everyone has distorted images of their bodies, some people actually look bad and look in the mirror and see a hot body looking back - I understand this mostly happens with men. I've had this image of myself my entire life. I don't know, whatever, it's not important. That hot blonde up there? That's what I look like and yet I still walk around with shame and false, I'm not good enough because I am a fat girl "I don't want to bother you" attitude. It's bullshit.

In a true and real connection at the gym, which I am the first to admit, I didn't believe was possible, my trainer introduced me to Will and Grace (real names changed to protect them from whatever this is).  Just as cute and funny as their as-seen-on-tv counterparts, I can honestly say I have a couple friends at the gym.  I look forward to seeing them, which is comforting.

When I say I've never belonged to a gym, I mean, I have never belonged to a gym. I don't have any idea what the "rules" or the rules are.

You get to the gym and the overly enthusiastic staff scans your key card in. You go past the 814 people really fucking excited to do Zumba, which really makes me think I shouldn't ever do Zumba, and go downstairs to the LEFT; the left is the WOMEN's locker room. I have gone right twice now and my eyes are not happy about it. My eyes are still not used to the assault that is women's room either. I am not a nudity person, I am not one of those, “oh it's fine I won't look”, I TOTALLY LOOK.

And I will totally slide my padded cycling shorts yes on under my dress before taking my dress off.

These totally remind me of the padded diaper things we wore when figure skating for the 8 million times we fell on our asses. Why is it I am always wearing something around my ass that is padded?

I slap on my sports bra and tank top and make sure my nicotine patch is proudly showing (which draws curious looks that I PROUDLY challenge with my own, what the fuck are you looking at? looks).  I will inevitably lock my locker with the wrong combination by mistake and have to go up and ask the nice lady to unlock it for me. I will fill up my water and get my towels -one small and one large - to arrange them on the handlebars just like my teacher told me to at my first spinning class.

I will check and re-check the sign up sheet for the spinning class to make sure I know what number bike I have. I will check and re-check the bike number when I get into the room because I am convinced I am on the wrong bike and someone will come in and yell at me for taking the wrong bike.

The spinning class is intense and loud and after 6 classes I can do the whole thing and not slow down or stop and actually really enjoy it. Part of that is my accomplishment and part of it is the teacher and part of it is that I'm actually getting more comfortable at the gym. I don't feel like I don’t belong there anymore. I haven’t gone the wrong way in a couple weeks. I actually can walk with my head up and if someone looks at me the wrong way, I can look at them with a look of “what are you looking at, I am totally going the right way”, as I exit the Men’s locker room.


  1. That's an awesome picture of me up there.

  2. Love this gym post. Isn't it nice to feel that sense of accomplishment at this age? I feel like this sort of stuff usually happens when you are 8 and learning something new. Okay, you are inspiring. I tried a spinning class once and thought I would die right there. That shit is hard- but I guess a padded butt would help a little. And no, don't try Zumba. I thought it would be fun but it's pretty annoying.

  3. 'I hate exercise but I love results'..Jack Lalane. I'll never never love it, any of it, but I'll die trying. xo happy spinning! (oxymoron)

  4. "I still walk around with shame and false, I'm not good enough because I am a fat girl "I don't want to bother you" attitude."

    I'm glad you recognize that as false. In my case, it's still true. Somewhere over the last 8-9 years I stopped looking at full-length mirrors. I avoid visual contact with myself below my nose most of the time. Hell, if it was possible to look at just my eyes, forehead, and hair, I probably would. Over the last 10 years, I have turned into the "floating head" in family pictures, safely tucked behind the rest of the group, fooling only myself.

    I haven't touched a street drug in 12 years. I have had 1 drunken 24-hour period in the last (nearly)7 years. Addiction and alcoholism isn't as stigmatized as it used to be, but being fat is. When I was a drug addict and an alcoholic, I was "having a really hard time" and people were "so glad to see that you are doing so much better. Way to go!" Being fat means I "have such a pretty face" and "have such a great sense of humor".

    After being taught that being an alcoholic isn't a moral issue, I sure wish I could apply that to food. Maybe that would help pry a few nails out of my coffin.

    Sorry for spewing my stuff all over your page. I guess I needed to get that out and it feels like a safe place since you can understand how cunning, baffling, and powerful things can be.

    Great job on getting to the gym though. You are becoming one of those inspirational people that other people look up to! Now that you have that in writing, you can point it out to those that like to keep you humble. ;-)