Wednesday, December 18, 2013


I've started going back to the gym. Must do something to work off the coming onslaught of Christmas cookies and candying the yams, etc.. before my butt swells with adipose tissue roughly the size of the Titanic.

Stopped going back about 18 months ago when I had back and neck problems but I've wanted to go. Once we started our gym membership post-Evangelical church I found I loved being able to use the circuit training machines to build up my biceps and other muscles. It was oddly satisfying to be able to slowly increase the weight on the machines and the number of reps. It helped with the asthma too.

But the most challenging thing wasn't the pool, walking against the current, lifting weights or even days when my oxygen levels were low and all I could manage was trudging around the indoor track. Oh no, the biggest challenge was (drum roll please, and cue the dramatic music) The Dressing Room! (Eeeeek~ Insert scream sound effect)

It had taken a lot of overcoming the old voices in my head to even consider going to the gym. Self-improvement activities, like going to the gym or the hair dressers or anything just for 'you', good Christian mom you, was frowned upon as 'selfish'. Selfish, imagine that! Anything that you might do that wasn't geared towards family, God or church could be labeled selfish. But going to the gym was also something worldly people did, worldly people that cared about how they looked instead of looking to God for their personal validation.

I got over that quickly enough, but the dressing room was a hard one. There were nekkid people there, walking about without a care in the world, all shapes and sizes and it freaked me out. I'd blush and look at the ground and make sure I came from home with my bathing suit on under my workout clothes and have a loose swimsuit coverup packed to wear in the dressing room.

The journey out of the false modest/look-at-me of the jumpers or loose dresses had faded away but I still could not wrap my mind around the idea of traipsing about around strangers with nothing on, just what I'd arrived in when I was born.

But gradually I started to look around, look around with an artist's eye and see the beauty and diversity in all these different female bodies. All so beautiful in the weirdest ways and none two exactly alike, like snowflakes and my fear of being nekkid in that place started to fade.

It's still not the most comfortable thing for me to be, nekkid, but I've started taking baby steps towards accepting and loving my body as it is, right down to painting a nude self portrait.  And yes, I can finally walk around the dressing room wearing nothing but my own skin. It's taken long enough for that to happen.

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