Talk about a time when i experienced being on the outside looking in?
that’s simple. every single time i go to the fucking gym. no joke. i’m not trying to be dramatic or cliche, either. it’s just that every time i take my fat to the gym, i become an outsider.
i go to a franchise gym where the slogan is that it’s a ‘JUDGEMENT FREE ZONE’- which is fine and dandy, but when i walk in, in my sweatpants, raggedy hoodie and non-designer sneakers, i get instantly judged, and might as well be put in a caged area for not being a natural born gym goer. to start, i am more than 100 pounds overweight, and although i don’t “LOOK” obese, by medical standards i am. interestingly, i am in better shape than a lot of my skinny friends, and actually can hold my own with a lot of exercise but i definitely don’t look good doing it. now, i know that no one really looks good sweating and getting all red in the face, but, most girls that i see at the gym wear more makeup than i did for my wedding. i’ve seen false eyelashes and glitter, even those glue on crystals– ON A TUESDAY NIGHT in winter. no, i’m not trying to compete, and NO, i’m not trying to pick up a date, i’m trying to drop a few tons, but i absolutely hate feeling like it’s Gym Class in high school- where the fat kids will ALWAYS be picked on, and never fit in.
people stare at me like they are worried that i’m going to have a heart attack, or pitied because my fat is flopping around. i know people will deny it, or ultimately say, “who cares? fuck em!” and all of that, but the truth is, it is a completely uncomfortable situation- from the moment i walk in, until i walk out. i am uncomfortable getting on machines and i am uncomfortable about getting off of them. i am nervous to use the weights and self conscious about using the other equipment. i rarely push myself, because i don’t like the looks i get; some that simply say, “gross” and “why are you bothering?’ and others are thinking “god, if i ever look like that, shoot me.”
and this doesn’t just happen at the gym, it’s just very obvious there. it happens everywhere. being ‘FIT’ or ‘IN SHAPE’ is as much a clique as being popular in high school. when i’m walking around the trails at the park, or roller skating, summers of softball, i feel excluded and not a part of what others are doing. Even the other day at the ski resort, i didn’t dare ski, because i hate not being able to fit in with people that are flexible and stronger, or even have better gear (i wore jeans, hoodie and some boots that i got from the thrift store that are in desperate need of another coating of waterproofing spray). i’m slower, less coordinated and not as resilient as everyone else, so it’s easier just sitting out and watching. it really sucks. the worst part is that my brain doesn’t understand that it can’t always do the same things that the thinner people, which makes things worse because i want to be out there skating and skiing, and even trying that scary cage-y bar lift-y machine.
i keep going to the gym and trying to be as active as i can, with the hope that i won’t be so big someday, won’t be so clumsy and ungainly and eventually won’t feel like i’m on the outside anymore. i know that there’ll always be the gym elite, the pretty ones, that wear expensive designer breast cancer-awareness pink sports bras, yoga pants that they bought from a speciality store online, and shoes made just for going to the gym that cost as much as my car. i’m not trying to compete, i’m really not, but, someday i would like to not feel excluded from something that most people take for granted.