Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Asshattery and the Anti-Anti-fragile

Dear Asshat at the Gym,

You don't know me. You don't know I once lost 130 lbs. You don't know I was a trainer, spin instructor and kickboxing instructor. You don't know I just came off a couple of weeks of major self-loathing and I'm fighting to stay above water. You don't know that this is a lifelong battle of mine. You also didn't know I was feeling pretty damn good yesterday. I took a pic of myself in only one shot and I didn't hate it. I had a singing lesson that made me not quite as certain I'll be making a fool of myself in 11 days time. I had some wonderful compliments from friends - one in particular who said she still saw my strength. I got my workout in and felt strong and saw that I still had muscle definition in places, though more hidden than before.

You didn't know any of this. You could have paid attention to my form and knowledge and seen that I was not a newbie. You could have also seen I had my headphones in which is the tell-tale sign of "Don't even think about talking to me". But you didn't. Instead you walked up to a "fat girl" at the end of one of her sets and said, "Hey, would you like some inspiration? 6 months ago I weighed 267 lbs. Look at me now. I know you can do this. Keep going."

I let you have your moment. I let you have it because I know logically it was not about me but about your excitement over your accomplishments. And I know you meant well. And that first big weight loss is a drug you want to share with everyone. So I let you have it. And I high-fived you, even.

What I won't let you have is the "good day" I had yesterday. You can't take it away by reminding me that to everyone else I probably look like a fat girl who is just starting. Yesterday was mine.

But I swear to god, you douchebag, if you ever approach me again you will receive a lecture on how you don't know where any one is at in their own fucking journey. And how if you want to say something to someone at the gym it should be, "Hey, nice set" or "You're form is great". Or, here's an idea. MIND YOU OWN GOD DAMN BUSINESS!!


(The girl who will roundhouse a mother fucker the next time he interrupts her workout.)

I wrote this out to vent.  Actually the first draft had many more expletives than even I am comfortable with posting here, but the intent is the same.  Because this really hurt.  More than it should have.  And I realized it was my pride that was hurt.  And it was shame that I felt in his "inspiration".

Never in my wildest dreams would I have ever approached anyone like this at the height of my weight loss. Did I share it with people if it came up in conversation?  Yes.  Did I tell clients who were struggling and feeling like it could never be done? Yes.  But only after it was already a point of conversation.

The fact is I probably do look like someone who just recently started going to the gym.  And, while I can spot someone who really knows how to lift a mile away, not every one can.  So he didn't know who he was talking to and I can't blame him for that.  Though I may still blame him for his passive-aggressive compliment fishing.  That's my right.

I'm a big proponent of the "Mind Your Own Fucking Business" protocol.  I'm pretty sure that if more people would adhere to this it would solve all the major problems in the word - Politics, Religion, Human Rights.  Just Mind Your Own Business.  Please.

But when it comes to our bodies and what we do with them, I guess that's still everyone's business.   We're all sitting ducks for someone else to tell us how we should move, what we should eat or how we should be forcibly inspired.

No thank you.  Just no.  I get to decide how I'm inspired.  No one else.  That is also my right.  You know what inspires me?  People who stand up for what they believe in.  People who take risks in the name of personal growth even though they are scared shitless to do so.  People who know what their passion is and do what they can to chase it.  People who make a difference to someone else.

I don't give a shit what you've done for your body in the name of weight loss alone.  I never have - not even as a trainer.  What I hoped to give to clients then was a sense of control, of strength and empowerment.  I couldn't change their bodies in just one or two sessions a week.  That's impossible - a good trainer knows the real work takes places outside of those sessions. What I hoped to do was help to change what they believed about themselves in that time.  To show them they could do anything because they were already strong enough. I don't know if I ever accomplished that goal but it was what I set out to do.

Another friend mentioned that maybe this experience was my chance to work on being anti-fragile.  I know this is a popular phrase right now but it's not one that I really embrace.  I guess it really depends on what your definition of being fragile is.  Fragility that allows you to be broken and defeated? I don't want any part of that.

There is a huge part of me that is still fragile.  Fragile enough that some unknowingly insensitive jerk could hurt me at the gym yesterday.  But that fragility inside me is the place where I learn the most about myself.  It's where I feel and think it out.  It's where I continue to develop compassion and strive to never make another person ever feel that way because of my actions or words.  And when I am hurt that little bit of fragility eventually heals over to create a new strength I didn't know I had.

Thank you, Mr. Asshat at the Gym.  Today I am stronger.

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