Some People At the Gym Made Me Cry Today….
Wait.. before you get all excited, let’s back it up to about November, 2013… the month that I decided that I was tired of being tired and feeling unhealthy, and not looking the way I would like.
The time that I finally decided to try going to a gym, despite all the fears and misgivings that I’ve had about it all my life.
You see, I am kind of shy in real life… I’ve never been the outgoing type, and I certainly was never any good at sports or any physical activity. I was always the last person picked for the team, and I spent a great deal of time trying to avoid such situations where anyone might actually see me working out. I tried working out at home on my own with marginal success, but it really wasn’t enough.. and so I decided it was time to try something new.
I totally expected to hate it, and so I went with low expectations. My first time going I was so nervous… my stomach was in knots and I was afraid to enter the fitness center because someone might look at me. I put on my baggiest shirt and I slowly made my way up the stairs, sheepishly looking out from behind my glasses to see what I was up against.
I walked straight over to an elliptical trainer because I didn’t know what the hell anything else was, and I climbed on it and tried to figure out how to make it work, all the while furtively glancing around the room to see if anyone was looking at me to see how stupid I was that I couldn’t even turn the machine on.
I worked out quickly that day, just wanting to get the first day over with.. and away I went. The next day was pretty much the same, but I spent a bit more time looking around and noticed that yes, there were many beautiful, fit people there, but there were also some people there like me. There were people there of all shapes and sizes and they all seemed to just be doing their own thing and not minding what anyone else was doing.
The next week I decided it was time to take my first Zumba class. Forty minutes in my body just wanted to lie down and die there on the hardwood gym floor, but I looked around and again, I saw all the shapes and sizes of ladies keeping on going, and I decided that if they could do it, so could I. After that first class I was in the changeroom wondering how I survived it and thanking my lucky stars I’d done Zumba on the Wii so that at least I had some idea of what I was doing.
I went back to Zumba because I knew that I needed to, and that if I kept going it would get to be more fun and it would eventually not make me feel like I was going to drop dead of a heart attack. In fact, I really did enjoy the class, and the main teacher that night was a blond fire cracker who was just so much damn fun, and I just had to go back again.
I’d practiced yoga at home for years before slipping away from it and again, I wanted to try out a class and so I nervously tucked my yoga mat under my arm and away I went to my first ever real yoga class. To my great surprise, I managed to keep up really well, and even left there feeling good about how well I did. I was starting to surprise myself…
I went every day (except Saturday). I rearranged my life and decided that this was it.. If I was EVER going to do this, it was going to be NOW. I kept on going to Zumba, and Yoga, and I figured out how to use that damn elliptical and I got on a treadmill and I worked, and the thing that kept me going was that it was fun!!
I adopted a whole new diet in my life. A diet of healthy food and less of the things I used to eat so much of. I downloaded a phone app and I began keeping track of everything I ate and I soon realized that I’d been doing a lot of things wrong, just because I didn’t realize what I was putting into my body. Or maybe I did but I just didn’t care enough.
Each time I went to Zumba class I fell in love with it a little bit more. I’ve always loved music and dancing, and it just thrilled me to go and dance with wild abandon and the instructors made it so much fun! I can’t begin to describe how important these people were to my experience. I never felt judged like I did so many times in the past while trying to do something physical. If I goofed up a step, we laughed at me and when they goofed up a step we laughed at them. I began to feel like I was part of a family. All my dancing sisters. I was meeting new people, beginning to make some chit chat before class, and leaving class sweaty, tired and happy.
And then something else started to happen. I started to see the results of my hard work. The weight started dropping and my body started changing. At first no one noticed it, because they didn’t know me that well, but after a while, a few people started noticing, including these wonderful, supportive people that made me want to keep coming back and working harder, and trying new classes that I’d never have had the guts to try before.
Here I am 4 months later………
Last week I participated in a yoga teacher’s training course, having been pointed in that direction by one of my yoga teachers, which meant a lot to me. Yep. I’m going to get certified and I’m going to give back. I hope to inspire someone the way that my teachers inspire me. Four months later, several sizes smaller, a whole lot healthier and energetic, and feeling better than I have.. probably EVER in my life.
And tonight.. they made me cry. They gave me this precious gift that is worth so much to me, to celebrate my success. These beautiful, amazing people have given me so much more than they know… simply by doing what they do.. Teaching. Laughing. Moving. Inspiring. Supporting…
There are times when people look at someone and judge them.. We’ve all seen and heard it. Some of us have even done it.
When I first walked into that gym I was afraid of it. So much, that I really just wanted to run away and hide myself. I don’t think that a lot of people realize how hard it is for people to overcome that fear and just do it. Maybe they’ve never been there.. maybe they’ve never felt that anxiety or fear and so they just don’t know how hard it is, and how determined someone has to be to take that first step.
So, the next time you see someone struggling.. whether it be with their weight or their health, or with a math problem or with drawing a picture or what ever it is that they struggle with.. encourage them. Be kind to them. Acknowledge that they are trying to make something better. Support them. Let them know that they are doing well. Smile at them.
A simple smile can make someone’s day. A smile is a piece of you that doesn’t cost anything to give away. You can always make more. But to the person who receives your smile, it may be priceless.
This blog isn’t really about me, but it is about how much we can affect others by our acts of kindness, and me wanting to let these ladies know how amazing I think they are.
I can’t begin to describe my feelings over this gift they gave me. If I did, I would sound sappy and nutty (which anyone who knows me, already knows that I am anyway) but I will say that each day I look at myself in the mirror and I am surprised at how far I’ve come and how much I’ve changed, and these ladies are such a HUGE part of that. For them to recognize my efforts this way.. well.. every time I think about it I feel like crying all over again.
It’s just … nice… you know?
I still have a lot of work to do.. and I’m going to keep on going for it, and I’m going to keep on enjoying it. And hopefully, soon, I’ll be able to share it by working with others to help them get where they want to go.
I’m going to hang this up in a special place where I’ll see it every day and always be reminded of the inspiration, friendship and support I’ve found along the way. Maybe, of all the things I’ve gained .. or lost.. in the last four months… that is the most important thing.