Her cheeks flush a blushing pink like a peony petal, opened up and covered in dew, as poreless as a baby’s. Her hair curls in damp wisps around her face as she lifts a water bottle to her glossed lips and my gaze flicks away from her to the full length mirrors lining the walls of the gym.
My New Year’s resolutions started with a gym membership where a man with biceps the size of my toddler’s head took my picture and managed to capture an angle that gave me at least two additional chins and the skin of an acne-ridden teenage boy, printing out a small laminate key chain fob. I was supposed to put this on my keys? For real? He gave me the customary tour of the gym and the class schedules, highlighting which ones were for beginners.
My face is cherry splotched and my pony tail hangs limp and greasy. My oversized t-shirt is soaked through and I can see where it’s now clinging to the bulges beneath my industrial sized sports bra, one I had to struggle to wedge myself into with hooks and clasps and enough velcro to stick a grown human to a wall, one that might require the jaws of life and some serious intervention to release me from.
I won’t be showering at the gym. I’ll load myself into the minivan and drive home after class, stripping down to immediately step on the scale, willing it lower with my effort, counting calories in my head, feeling the ache and burn of my muscles, punishment for my weakness.
I have visions of goal weight and my goal outfits, before and after pictures that wow, which float like a dangling carrot as I Google recipes consisting mostly of kale and tofu. Every stomach growl is penance for misplaced desire.
I am a grasping soul, never settled in peace. Always striving to make the outside look better because I know the inside is churning and chaotic and filled with jealousy and self-loathing.
I push myself to be what I fear I will never be, good enough…Continue Reading over at (in)courage