So, in a week I’m off to Rhode Island to participate in a 5k memorial race. It’s not competitive; I’ll be walking along with most of the people I know. A 5k isn’t long as far as I know– Google told me it’s 3.1 miles, which I should have no problem with. I don’t walk as fast as my (“normal” weight) acquiantances, most of whom live in Boston and simply walk a lot more than I have as of late. A few months ago, my boyfriend signed me up as a “sponsor” at the U Maine school gym. It’s a great deal: 25 bucks a semester. A lot has been going on since I signed up, though, so I haven’t been able to make it out to do anything. Now, of course, there’s a fire under my butt to start going. I want the little boost of resistance and leg muscle to walk a little faster. Thursday night, Kevin and I decided to go. He’d do basketball pickup games while I waked on the indoor track and maybe hit the stair climber.
The gym was packed. There were ten people on the (somewhat small) indoor track, and roughly 80% of the machines were in use. Kevin said he’d never seen so many people show up for the basketball pickups. We’re walking through the facility to find a place to put our stuff. Looking around at the hordes of people, I realize: there is not a single female (possibly even male) that I did not outweigh by 180-200 pounds. Yes, I had to be double the weight of almost every person in the place. Not a single person even approaching chubby. It was incredibly upsetting. Now, I’m not really a self-conscious person. I have no problem swimming at a public pool, ordering dessert after dinner, and I always go through the world as if it didn’t even occur to me that someone might think less of me because of the fat on my body. Standing there, though, in that gym, surrounded by skinny girls and trim guys, I crumbled. I was mortified. I went to the car while Kevin played some basketball.
Sitting in the car, anger started to wash over me– at myself, at the gym. I love being active. I let myself deprive myself of that. I started thinking, though– was it really me? College girls can be truly awful. If I got on one of the stationary bikes, surrounded by them, what might happen? Could some of them be volatile enough to say something? I really did not want to take the time to verbally rip them a new one. I know that, when all is said and done, I have every right to be there, just as much as they do. On some level, the assumption that I might be there to lose weight infuriates me. I am not opposed to weight loss really, but I am not trying to and the concept of being misunderstood bothers me more than anything.
Too Fat for Fitness deals with this subject as well, sort of. It’s hard as heck to be healthy and active when one can’t even go into a gym and feel comfortable. Maybe a lot of fat people feel this way, and that’s why they don’t go. In the summer, it won’t matter so much because it’ll be warm out, but it’s not like I live in Southern California. This is Downeast Maine. It actually gets cold here. I guess I just don’t know what to do.