By the time this is posted, I'll be sweating away in my first hot yoga class, trying to decide if it's something I can see myself doing for the long term.
And isn't that really the problem with exercise, finding something you like well enough to actually continue doing it?
I mean, it's A problem, but it's certainly not THE problem--at least not for me. I have much deeper, psyche scarring issues. If I had a therapist, I'm sure we'd talk about them ad nauseum, and what even more profound issues they really reveal, and then she'd assign me therapeutic "homework" involving tackling and conquering these issues--which I would of course do, because disappointing people isn't something I'm comfortable with, but I wouldn't tell her that because then she'd start focusing on THAT and I'd just never be able to hide in my comfort zone again.
Apparently, not going to therapy saves me a lot of stress; who knew?
Back to exercising.
Why do I want to do it? My first (and most honest) answer is that I hope it will help me look better. Lose a bit of tummy, gain a bit of arm muscle tone, halt the formation of chin #2--you get the idea. I'd love to tell you that being healthy is my number one reason, but it's a hell of a lot closer to number four or five. In fact, let me make a list:
1) Look better/fitter/less doughy
2) Be better able to grapple with my son (he's only 2, but he's ridiculously big and ridiculously strong)
3) Stress relief
4) Do something that's just for me
5) Be healthier
You could certainly argue that less stress equals healthier, but I guess when I think of "be healthier," physical health is what comes to mind. So, yeah, sorry health. Maybe you'll earn a higher place on the list the closer I get to death, but for now, you're gonna have to settle for fifth place.
Still, those are five pretty good reasons, so why don't I do it? Allow me to lay my crazy out where you can all see.
I don't want to go the gym; I hate gyms. In fact, I hate doing any sort of exercise in public. I think that people have nothing better to do than watch me and judge me and make fun of me (hopefully mentally, but hell, why not right out loud?). I have this ridiculous notion that people will see me at the gym and think "what is someone so out of shape doing here at the gym?"
Alright mental issues, repeat after me: "The gym is where out of shape people go . . . TO GET INTO FUCKING SHAPE."
You don't magically trade in your gut and arm flab for six pack abs and bitchin' biceps the second you walk in the door. And people at the gym know that. Plus, I've never had that sort of thought enter my head--even when I was younger and much more shallow. If I saw an out of shape person trying to work out at the gym, I thought, "That is awesome. Good for him/her."
Does that mean that there aren't assholes out there who WILL think exactly what I fear them thinking? No. But they're assholes, so what does it matter what they think? I avoid assholes like the plague (HAHAHAHAHA; taken out of context, that sentence sounds like some sort of commentary on my sex life), and the reason I do avoid them usually concerns how they think and then translate those thoughts into actions. If you avoid a group of people because you disagree with the way they think, THEN WHAT DOES IT MATTER WHAT THEY THINK ABOUT YOU?
Aw, that's so cute. It's like I'm trying to logic myself out of my neurosis.
And while the judgement of total strangers (and potential assholes) is probably my primary issue with public fitness, it's not the only one.
It's nearly impossible for me to not compare myself to other people--especially other females. As I huff and puff my way through 20 minutes of 3.5 mph torture on the treadmill, sans incline, the size four girl next to me finishes up her 40 minute run at 6.5 mph, gazillion incline, and then bounces off toward the free weights. As much as I'd like to see her as inspiring, words like "intimidating" and "depressing" surface instead.
I thought about going in to more detail with that last statement, but then I had an epiphany: women who understand it don't need more detail, and women who don't REALLY don't need more detail--in fact, they need to keep not understanding it, and remain happier.
I also don't like having to use equipment I'm not familiar with and having people waiting to use the machine I'm on. It's bad enough the buff guy positioned impatiently--and oh so subtly--three feet away from me keeps jogging in place and saying "c'mooooon" under his breath, but add on him watching me trying to figure out which limb goes in what pulley and fucking SIGHING like a disappointed parent every time I have to re-position, and I am DONE--as well as a lovely shade of crimson that has nothing to do with exertion and everything to do with shame. (Sometimes there's a tad bit of rage in there too, but he's bigger than I am and I don't want to risk mouthing off to a man who may not follow that whole "don't hit girls" rule. Or even worse, the "don't tell girls how fat and unattractive they are" rule. I can't take a physical punch, but I REALLY can't take a verbal punch.)
So why not work out at home? A) I don't push myself enough when no one else is watching (ironic, right?), and B) I tend to injure myself. Home-centric yoga has sent me to Carenow once and the orthopedist twice. I can't afford to work out at home--it damages my health and my bank account. Again, ironic, right?
Wanna know something even worse? When I do manage to do a little something at home, my husband is NOT allowed to be in the same room. The one person who loves me the most and finds me sexier than anyone else does and is SO proud and supportive of me when I try to get my fitness on track, that person is not allowed to even walk by where I am fumbling through whatever routine I or some unnaturally positive fitness guru has put together.
I told you I was laying my crazy all out here.
It's not a matter of not having the motivation or the time or any of the normal excuses people give--it is straight up, hands down all in my head.
But by the time you read this, I'll have told my head to shut the fuck up. I'll have suited up in my yoga capris and not-horrid-but-not-flattering yoga top and stepped waaaaay the hell out of my comfort zone. I'll be in a room full of strangers (and one friend who is just kind of making my life lately), forcing myself to focus on poses and breathing instead of the fact that people can SEE me. And I will hopefully fall in love with hot yoga, but even if I don't, I will fall a little bit in love with myself. I mean, I love a girl with some balls, don't you?