the gym has always been my second home here in lexington. even more so than the fine arts building. it’s where i feel the most comfortable. i know everyone who works there, i know all of the 6am regulars, and i feel very much at home and myself with them.
because let’s face it – anybody who sees you at six in the morning, no makeup on, sweating and panting and eventually wiped out, has pretty much seen you raw and uncut. so at that point i figure, hell i can go ahead and be my weird little ole self, because i have nobody to impress.
and i’ve always felt incredibly competent there. i would walk in every morning with my training schedule in mind, and would go to it. or in the evenings i would go in and teach classes, which is something i not only love but that i’m also really confident doing. i always felt like i belonged there, like i could hold my own.
and then came yesterday.
i’m finally cleared to go back to the gym, with the sole purpose of getting on a stationary bike every day. the pedaling will continually loosen up my knee, and also may help break up some of the fluid and swelling. so yesterday, after about six and a half weeks, i wandered myself into the gym for the first time.
to say it was uncomfortable is a drastic understatement. i no longer have my old routine, or my old confidence. when i got there, i went upstairs via the back staircase because the front one is a spiral and i may have broken my neck had i tried it. i stretched my knee a little bit. and then i got on a stationary bike.
it takes about two minutes before my knee is even loose enough for me to pedal all the way around. and even then, the first few minutes are not a fun time. see also: painful and really awkward. so i pop on my ipod and spastically pedal through a mile. i get off (awkwardly), put my brace back on (i am so sick of velcro), and go do some strength stuff. which takes 3.7 minutes because all i need to do are squats and wall sits. and then i get on the bike again (still awkwardly) and tool around for another mile.
and then i go home.
what the hell was that and who am i?!
i’m trying to not be obnoxious and whine about all of the stuff i used to be able to do, but this is not me and this is not my life. and for once this has nothing to do with my eating disorder or mentally “needing” to burn a certain number of calories or being afraid of “getting fat.” a huge part of my identity lies in being an athlete. i’m a runner and a fitness instructor and i get lift some pretty damn heavy weight for a munchkin my size.
but now it’s all i can do to walk around the gym without banging into shit because i tend to veer to the right like a freaking drunk.
i know that progress will come, and now that my pain is managed it will hopefully come quickly. but i feel like an outsider in a world i used to fit into so nicely. it’s moments like these that it becomes so clear how much work i truly have ahead of me, and i question whether i really will come back and be the same person.