I had time between classes today, so I decided to check out the gym. It sounds so casual to just say it like that, but it was a big deal for me. Next week, I plan to start working out for an hour 5 days a week. I haven't been in a gym since I was 16, back when I would cry myself to sleep on nights before P.E. class.
I rant a bit from time to time about the soul-destroying culture of body perfectionism that either springs from or at least feeds the fitness industry. Not that I don't still believe that, but all that bluster also functions as a great excuse not to be in better physical shape. And I've come to see that a big part of my aversion to gyms is simply fear. I'm surprised -- I shouldn't be -- to realize how traumatized I still am by the experience of being forced during puberty to parade naked in front of, and compete in athletic contests with, boys whom I was just discovering a (horrifying and deeply shameful, but powerfully stimulating) sexual attraction to.
So I just walked right in that gym today, puffed up my chest a bit, and sniffed around. It's gargantuan. Lots of big rooms full of big machines. And a cafe.
My friend the Gardener, who knows all about physical fitness (did I mention he was a helicopter rescuer?), offered to come with me to the gym a couple times and show me what to do, and that's exactly what I need. I'm a little reluctant to put myself in such an uncomfortable and vulnerable position with a very new friend. But I'm gonna do it.