I had an experience this morning that was so unpleasant that I immediately put in in my mental “trash” bin, hoping never to retrieve it. That is, until my drive home from grad school this evening. I’m cruising past fields and watching the sun dip down beneath the treeline, talking to my sister on the phone.* My sister and I typically talk in tangents, both listening to the other but also having an internal, simultaneous conversation of our own. We’re used to it, and we can totally pick up on the other persons inner-monologue. We hear it, even though it’s audibly silent.
Sara was talking to me about important things such as her health and family, both of which I care about much more than this unpleasant experience. But she was telling me about a new pair of athletic shoes she purchased (which was an off-shoot of the larger discussion of health). We were discussing the differences between New Balance shoes purchased at Kohl’s versus a specialty store. Although it’s the same brand, the cheaper version leaves your feet welted with blisters after a mere 5 block stroll.
Then she paused and interjected, “I feel like you have something to tell me. Like you’re thinking about something else.”
She caught me. Typical.
Her athletic shoes tangent got me thinking about my own Mizunos. I wore them this morning at the gym. Which got me thinking about my workout this morning which happened to contain one of the most humiliating experiences of my gym membership thus far.
I told my sister the story of my morning: no air conditioning in the house, feeding Jackson, cleaning up, doing laundry, getting 3 bags stocked and ready for the gym, getting jack dressed and in the car, all the while getting drenched in sweat while I’m bustling about. I decided to continue with a slew of spin classes I’ve taken lately. However, in the madness of my running around the house, I realize all of my favorite workout pants are in the laundry. Then I think that I should try out the spin shorts my mom had given me a year ago. They are small, tight, and padded. Not my typically preferred workout choice. Nevertheless, I decide that my legs had gotten pretty buff by now (Jack is almost 2; I joined the gym when he was 4 months old), and I think for one day I can be like the other girls and sport tiny shorts, especially in a dark spinning room around other spinners.
I fly into the gym, drop of Jackson, scan my card, organize my locker, and race to the spin room waiting to feel the fans and hear the booming music. Silence. The only thing I noticed was a “Spring/Summer Schedule” posted outside the door of the spin room which had eliminated the 9:30 a.m. Spin Class I had depended on.
Here I am: tiny shorts and no spin class. I decide to be brave and venture out into the cardio area, confident that my legs look fine and these shorts are completely normal. I even conjure up the bravery to hop on the only spin bike in the cardio area (which, if you’re a spinner, you know this takes a good deal of preparation), which is strategically placed in the front and center of ALL cardio machines. Everyone is grooving around me, and I’m getting started on the Spin Bike stage. If I was dressed like a spinner for one day, why not act like one? I look at the clock above me and set out on a course that would take me on a 50 minute ride.
My first pedal turned, and the small spandex rim around the bottom of my shorts rolls so quickly up my leg I barely had time to notice. My next pedal turned. The same happened on the other thigh. Now my short shorts are rolled up as underwear, and I am in front of every single person in the gym. My already-insecure-bike-ride became a flash black to middle school humiliation.
I spend 20 minutes trying to get this biking experience to work. I stand on my pedals, crank up the dial, and do some climbing as a way to unroll the shorts. Then I proceeded to pull them down awkwardly low, which would buy me some time before they sprung back up. Unfortunately, they came down too low. WAY too low.
I surrender. I get off the bike, try to do a few other machines, attempt some weight-lifting, all the while feeling like the entire world is circling around my shorts. They are the focal point not only of the whole gym, but of the whole universe. If it were a movie, the camera would have been circling me in slow motion with all the extras pointing and laughing. Humiliating.
The truth is, I think I actually looked okay in the shorts. And I don’t think anyone noticed me pulling them down. Most people were watching tv or jamming to their own music or thinking about their own insecurities. Why did I feel like such a loser?
I’ve been feeling confident about most directions and happenings in my life. God is doing amazing work, and I’m watching it unfold before me. How is it possible that I let one pair of tiny shorts define who I am?
I am more than my legs, more than those shorts. Sometimes it feels like we never leave the walls of our middle schools. I probably won’t wear the spin shorts again, but if I do, I would hope that I could do so securely, rolling them down my God-created, pregnancy-stretched thigh with confidence.
*Josh and I just got new phones. They’re awesome. But I don’t know how to use it. I look like a bumbling idiot when I try to answer a call, especially when I do so while driving. I feel as cool talking on it as I would wearing leather pants.