So, the gym doesn’t feel safe anymore. Who cares? You don’t need to go to the gym to get healthy. You have so many options at home that you don’t ever need to go back to that gym. Why do you keep mourning it? What the big deal anyway?
It’s a valid question. I haven’t received any emails. I haven’t received any nasty comments that were discretely removed from the site. I just sit here imagining you people who read my site every single day telling your significant others something along these lines, “That Pick Me girl will not shut up about the gym. She had one little problem with a girl at the gym and she has been whining about it for about two weeks now. Jeez, either stop going and live with it or start going again and live with it. What’s the big deal?!”
The big deal is that I’m in transition right now. I’m undergoing a transformation. I’m a caterpillar in a cocoon. I’m a polliwog. I’m changing into a new person. I was a fat girl. I was a fat girl my whole life. I remember being about four years old and watching Sesame Street on the television at my grandma’s house before she moved to Billings, Montana. She and my mom were having a conversation in the kitchen and they didn’t know I could hear them, but my ears perked up whenever they talked about me. I was listening.
My grandma started the conversation, “I noticed that she has another roll on her stomach. We really need to do something about her.” My mother responded, “I’m not going to bug her about losing weight. She’s only four years old.” She defended me, but it was obvious that they both thought I was fat. That is the day that I became a fat girl. I was four years old and the two most important women in my life had decided that I was fat, so I must be fat.
I didn’t know that my grandmother was unhealthily obsessed with weight. I didn’t know that my grandmother was unhealthily obsessed with me as a child. I was the oldest grandchild and the she considered me the daughter that she never had. After having three sons and a hysterectomy, I was the only person who could fulfill those dreams of what it would have been like for her to have a daughter. I was the only one who could do the things that she couldn’t do when she got pregnant at the age of fifteen. I didn’t know that she somehow had a strange connection to me that almost made my body her body. If I wasn’t perfect, she had somehow failed and another roll of fat was definitely not on the ticket for perfect.
I know all this now, but changing from a fat girl to a healthy girl is still difficult. I can look at myself in the mirror. I can run a 5K race, shaving five minutes off my best time. I can eat healthy every day for months. I can go to the gym religiously, trying all the new and interesting things. All of this does little to change my image of myself.
Here I was, doing my best at an exercise class at a gym. I was doing something that a fat girl would never do. Not only was I trying a class with a weird half shaped ball thing that I had to balance on, I was at a gym. I was going to the place that thin people go and doing the things that thin people do. For a brief moment, I was a thin girl. Then I saw that brown-haired girl point and laugh at me. I watched her try to get her friends attention so that her friend could laugh at me too. Suddenly, I was right back to where I was before. Suddenly, I was a fat girl again.
I felt like someone opened my cocoon and all the caterpillar goo oozed out onto their fingers. I felt like someone pulled off my little new legs, growing alongside my gills and fins. I was so proud of those little legs and now they are gone. I couldn’t hop with them yet, but I was so excited to use them when I lost my tail and gills. Now I have to start growing those little legs again and I have to hurry before my gills close up.