"New Year New You! This will be the year I get "healthy"!"
Yea, not my style.
It's always uncomfortable being the fat chick at the gym. I feel like a fraud of sorts, like I clearly I don't belong: 'if I was here regularly or doing the 'right' things while I was here I would weigh substantially less than I do and everyone here knows it'.
I've spent a substantial amount of energy shaking the deep rooted layers of visual superficiality from my mind. It finally clicked to me that I am not 'less than' if I don't weigh a certain amount. I am not 'less than' if I don't run every morning and instead choose to sleep in. I am no less human or worthy of joy because I prefer ice cream to organic home grown greens. As a plus sized woman it's been of the most freeing realizations of my life. It's such a wildly simple concept that took forever to sink in.
But I joined the gym this week, and my happy body positive bubble instantly burst. Races to lose weight. Mention of summer bodies. Talk of working to be sexy - to look 'GOOD'! There is no escaping it. If I got a dollar every time someone talked about how they look, or want to look, while at the gym, it would pay for my membership many times over. And while the motivation of visual appearance is certainly why many people join and go to the gym, and is not inherently bad, I don't want that reason to seep back into my mind, or perhaps more importantly my heart.
I joined the gym because I am a mom of three tiny humans. I have been home with kids for the better part of seven years. And honestly, I need a break from them. I don't have family within hours of town or any friends lining up to watch them on a regular basis. And the gym offers two hours of childcare a day. As a line item on the budget it's not cheap, but I need a break and compared to day care, or babysitters it's a steal.
I joined the gym because I work from home. I was extremely fortunate to have the growth I did last year, but with it it became harder and harder to meet the needs of both my clients and my kids. I'm taking breaks every 7 minutes to help them and getting distracted and frustrated. As a single mom I now need my income, it's no longer a luxury. I literally can't afford to keep letting clients slip through the cracks or not provide the best customer service possible in such a highly competitive field as photography, things that are both struggles when trying to juggle working with two toddlers and a kindergartner. So I fully plan to field emails, write blogs and update social media accounts while I ride the bike half assed and someone else meets the needs of my kids.
I joined the gym because anxiety is a bitch. I generally suffer from anxiety, but given all the big changes in my life and in the world it's popping up at a higher frequency. I don't want to fall down the depths of the hole that I know exists within me, and if a few squats will keep it at bay count me in. I'm not the best on technicalities but exercise releases hormones that make you feel good, and decrease anxiety.
I didn't join the gym so a stranger walking behind me on the street can be impressed by my backside. I did not join the gym so I can lose weight.
So if, like today, you see me eating glazed doughnuts as I pull into the gym parking lot, know that my value isn't calculated by the amount of dimples on my ass. And neither is yours.