Day 30 of my 40 (46) Day Blog Challenge. I thought I’d blog about my insecurity today, and where better place to start than in the gym…
I started going to the gym this week. A year of not being able to do much exercise, being middle aged, combined with the close proximity of “naughty street” (a street close to work with lots of bakeries and food outlets), has not been good for the old bulge 😕.
I used to go to the gym, I used to be fit, and in the gym, I used to be pretty confident. Now, not so much. I left home on my first day of the new regime at 6.15am. Got to the train station and realised I’d forgot my ticket. So by the time I went home to get my ticket, missed my train and got a later one, I was already pressed for time.
I quickly bought a padlock from the vending machine for my locker and then spent ages working out how to set it. Now feeling the pressure of time and particularly anxious, I was eventually done and ready to start. I stepped out into gym…
EVERYONE (or so my befogged eyes would have me believe) was super toned, trim, or muscular, and seemingly flying on the cardio equipment. I began to be aware of a mild tremor to my arms and legs.
I sheepishly climed onto a bike, not really knowing where to start, and began peddling. I chose a gentle setting and stuck with it. EVERYONE else of course, had all their equipment set to the highest levels and weren’t even breaking a sweat 💦. And they were ALL looking at little- chubby belly-middle aged me, as I feebly struggled to complete 20 minutes of exercise in granny mode.
I got off the bike and went back to the changing room feeling feeble. Now…if I was only paying attention to which locker I put my clothes in! After trying out several locks unsuccessfully and hoping that He Man didn’t pick a fight with me for trying to nick his stuff, I eventually got into my locker.
But now I had to get naked. How do I do that? I can’t exactly have a look round and see what everyone else is doing. And so, with EVERYONE looking at me I kind of hide myself with the open locker door and clumsily take off my pants and get my towel round me. I got to the shower. No shower gel! I’m sure they used to have shower gel!
After a wash with no shower gel or shampoo I’m back at the locker. I remembered which one this time. I get myself dressed and then realise I left my clean socks at home. I also realise I have put my sweaty pants back on, rather than the clean pair in my bag. But I can’t change again, because EVERYONE is looking at me. I’ll have to change at work.
Eventually I got out. My head was throbbing hot and sweat pouring off it. I then arrived at work, steam coming off my head and my hair a greasy, thinning, sticking up mess.
Here’s my point. Probably, NOBODY was looking at me. Not EVERYBODY was the buff, trim, super fit elite athlete I imagined. Most people were there to achieve their own very personal goals and couldn’t care less that I spent 20 minutes peddling in granny mode.
A client I once worked with used to say that:
“Comparison is the thief of joy”
He was so right. All the time I compared myself to others, I lost sight of what was important to me. I think we can all do this, in many different settings, and when we do, we rob ourselves of what it means to be us, and invariably end up feeling “less than”.
So from now on, I’ll resolve to stick to my own plan. I’ll work out at my own pace because it is good for me. I’ll go to the gym again tomorrow and I will remember where my locker is, I’ll bring clean socks and change into fresh pants afterwards.