When I used to think of the word “exercise” I used to think of it like it was a chore. Something that was not important, and why should I try? What good is it for me to pick up some stupid dumbbell or do a crunch. And running? Really, you just went there…like I could even attempt to get on a treadmill and let my feet fly behind me in the wind. What if I get out of breath and my hair sticks to my neck? Better yet, what if someone sees me? I mean, I’m not skinny and I don’t have abs. And I’ll probably just fall and look stupid. No, thank you. I’ll just sit here.
Now, when hearing that it probably sounds pretty silly that someone could even not try at something just because they’re not particularly good at it. But this was not necessarily a “lazy” defense, so to speak. This was more of a body image mindset that I had, and it led to some anxiety and depression. It made me think that no guy could ever find me attractive. It got annoying and weakening sometimes. I ended up getting a gym membership to Planet Fitness, and I hardly used it. The reason being, that everytime I set foot in that gym I had an instant fear, the perspective I had before when thinking of exercise came clouding my brain. What is she looking at? Is she judging me? Ugh..why do their abs look so perfect? Like why am I even here? So I wouldn’t try. I stopped going, and I never canceled my gym membership either. I guess I just thought that maybe some miracle would happen and I would get the urge to go to the gym and it would magically all change. I was in a limbo; I was stuck. What can I do?
Last year I moved to Pittsburgh, and not knowing many people here or having many friends I needed to find a hobby. Yes, I had “writing”. but I didn’t want to be cooped up in my apartment. So, my boyfriend and I go to the gym every day. Starting out going to the gym, I would seclude myself to solely walking on the treadmill, or using the machines in the ab room. I wouldn’t explore the idea of lifting weights, doing crunches, or squatting. It all seemed just too hard, and the results just seemed way too unattainable. I just couldn’t bear the of being disappointed or embarrassed. For months I would just use these two boring exercises, watch others actually succeeding at difficult exercises, and be ashamed of myself. I wasn’t getting the results I yearned for, and something needed to change.
Gradually, my boyfriend introduced me to exercises to work my arms, legs, and back. I even started squatting and doing crunches! The very thing I scoffed at years ago that I refused to believe I could ever succeed in. I most definitely succeeded; I learned to put myself outside of my comfort zone and embrace new things. I may struggle; I may get defeated at times, but it built my self-confidence to the point where I can look in the mirror and actually like what I see. I feel more attractive and more comfortable in my body. I also feel more invigorating; in my mind, body and soul. I could say and know it to be true that this has helped me to grow as a person and be happier.
Society needs to know that it is possible to attain the unattainable. They need to know that they can reach their goals and be anyone they want to be; they need to kick fear in the ass and say:
You know what? Yes, I can! And don’t for one second say that I can’t.