Not as real as this though.
Very recently I have joined a gym. The 24 Hour Fitness in my town was having a summer sale that brought the price of a membership down considerably, so I asked for it for my birthday. I feel so upper-middle-class having a gym key on my keychain, like a woman in a TV sitcom who is always whining about how she doesn’t want to work out.
Although this sort of thing is quite a problem among that set.
Some might assume I have joined a gym because I am getting married in a few months. Not true, actually, although it helps. Really, I’m doing it because I’m at a point where I can. I’ve had some very sucky things happen to me in my life, and I’ve also had a lot of sucky physical problems. Now, I know many other people have also had sucky things happen to them and I am I no way unique, nor am I playing a “my problems are worse than yours” game! In fact, I've had quite a lot of awesome stuff happen to me, too.
Anyways, we all know cats have it worst.
Still, my particular sucky things have insisted on following me around for years. They have cost probably hundreds of thousands of dollars, affected the way I think, the way I respond to everything, what I can and cannot do, and what I have allowed myself to do. When you have certain types of experiences or challenges you become “trapped” in them, and to some degree that’s unavoidable.
This guy gets it.
Like this one.
But! That stuff is not my life; that stuff should not define me.
Unless I choose to become a serial killer.
There are two accomplishments which give me great pride and satisfaction: Working to learn a new technique to use in my art and, now, completing a workout, no matter how rudimentary. I’ve always been the awkward tall kid with physical problems and crippling anxiety, chronically picked last in gym class.
This shirt is my life, right here.
I have had many people—teachers and other supposedly supportive and respectable individuals included—make comments about things such as my weight and athletic ability. And I don’t deny that my skill set does not run towards active things as it does for some people. I can, for example, write a ten-page paper with few problems, yet ask me to play soccer and you might be totally and completely out of luck.
Even though I am no longer upset and scarred by what the school nurse said to me during weigh-in in third grade or how much I got teased in middle school or whatever (I've got bigger fish to fry, trauma- and otherwise! Plus, I'm an adult, or so I've heard...) I still often let myself behave in the ways I developed to deal with it back then, and I still let myself fall into the patterns of thinking I was taught.
This would help a lot too.
And guys, that’s what makes this so freaking cool. I got an asthma inhaler so I could actually breathe while exercising, I signed a gym contract, I beat a lot of anxiety to get in the door through sheer force of will over several days, and for what might be the first time I am doing something neither I nor anyone else ever thought I could do.
And that is a wonderful feeling!