I never used to change in the gym locker rooms, at least not the communal area. I would go in to that side room. You know, the one with the door that locks. Hiding away from everyone who I was absolutely certain was judging my body and all its imperfections…
There was one exception to this. Last year when I did a 30-day hot yoga challenge, I was actually starting to feel that I was toning up my body and felt slightly more self-confidence. So for the last couple weeks of my challenge, I changed my clothes with everyone else. Guess what? It wasn’t that bad. I miss having the time to practice yoga in a class setting. It was powerful, seeing women (and men) of all different body types completing amazing healing poses, supporting each other by breathing together. It was undoubtedly the most positive space I’ve been in for as long as I can remember. I felt genuinely happy and a definite sense of belonging.
Since I’ve returned to the world of the gym several weeks ago, I haven’t hidden once. Although I’m more uncomfortable with my body than I have been in so long, I am working hard not to punish myself for that. There are so many unhealthy thoughts that scream at me when I look in the mirror, but all I can do is work at improving myself and of course changing my harsh perception.
Physical confidence comes and goes for me. Most of my self-assurance comes from knowing that I am really smart and kicking major ass in college. My education is what pushes me forward, always. I’m hopeful that someday I’ll look in the mirror and the positive thoughts will outweigh the negative ones.