“Dear Skinny Girls,
The possibility of you judging me in public is making me an exercise hermit. Please be nice or at least keep all comments to yourself when I leave my solitary existence.
I did something late last week that I’ve been putting off since starting Weight Watchers – exercise in public. No doubt a holdover from the cliquish and kill-or-be-killed days of high school, I found every excuse in the book to avoid allowing other people to look at my massive form as I jiggle off the pounds (literally).
It’s rather egocentric of me, really. I’ve always just assumed that all eyes are automatically drawn to “the fat girl”. Even more scary than the looks I might get while shaking my stuff is that I can’t possibly know what the person staring me down is thinking. Are they making mental derogatory remarks? Comparing me to various larger members of the animal kingdom? Feeling better about themselves by comparing themselves to me? The unknown is definitely more terrifying than the observable.
So last Thursday I cautiously entered the local exercise facility with a member of the club, literally and figuratively – my very athletic (and non-judgemental) roommate Rachael.
I sweated, and yes, even jiggled on the bike. I cranked up the intensity as I went on, hell-bent on proving to all the exercise junkies that I could workout just as hard as they could.
In this particular facility, exercise machines are set up around a track. People walking or jogging did look at me as they walked past. Even as they did, I looked back, almost a dare to say something, give me a look, twitch an eyebrow, or look away. I almost fell off my bike as I realized – I didn’t honestly care what they were thinking.
At that moment, all I could think about was that this is my journey. No one else enters into it. No one else is going to discourage me or make me stop. If they want to stare, let them, but each week I’m literally going to shrink before their eyes, and the last laugh is going to be mine.