Pulling up my big-butch britches
So far this blog has been mostly focused on the aesthetics of being a dapper butch and there are MUCH better examples of blogs (see “cool clicks” sidebar) that delve further into gender and identity politics, issues, and questions surrounding what it is to be butch. That said, I’m not immune to being slapped in the face with realities of being “different” in a world that is decidedly pedestrian.
Over the course of the past year I’ve become increasingly interested in making my body as healthy as it can be. I spent the first 10 months of 2009 being a total reclusive gym-rat, and worked out almost daily. I really liked my local gym – it was fairly non-pretentious, close to my house, and cheap. Additionally, I generally work outside of a typical 9-5, so I would end up working out a couple of hours after most people had gone home for the day. This worked out well for me. In the beginning, I’d change into my gym attire at work just to avoid an uncomfortable changing in a locker room situation. One thing my gym lacks is any private place to change, outside of a toilet or shower stall. Mind you, I live in the frozen tundra and in January it is effing cold. Very quickly I got over my “stuff” and started changing at the gym – which was ok because it was sparsely populated, and I could change in a corner of the dressing room with my back to the door. I mastered changing REALLY quick.
As time went on, I got more and more comfortable changing at the gym – even going so far as to SHOWER there on a few occasions as “test” runs on my days off – middle of the day, NO ONE there, and well. It was ok. Not great, but I could handle it and it was nice to not have to go home to shower before getting on with my day. The gym was fast becoming one of my favorite escapes from life, and I really liked the results I was seeing in my health and my body.
And then in October I came home with the Sartorialdog. And going to the gym was one of those things that kind of got put by the wayside. The SD and I would go for hour long runs in the morning, and half-hour walks at night. It was great. She was getting exercise, I was getting exercise, fall in New England is beautiful and life was good. And then winter hit full force. It started being ear-numbingly cold out. And icy. And snowy. And windy. And neither SB or SD really wanted to be outside longer than it took for business to get taken care of – which STILL was about 40 minutes a day, but it wasn’t anything that was going to keep me in the shape I’d gotten myself in to. And I started to feel soft. And this was sad.
So yesterday, the Sartoriallove and I started our winter work-out regimen at the gym. We went at my normal evening time but….everyone’s resolutions are still intact and the gym was a madhouse. And the dressing room was PACKED. And we could only find dressing room space RIGHT in front of the door with about a million other women who were changing. And I felt all of their eyes burn a white hot “what the fuck are you” hole into my flesh as my shirt-and-tied self walked in. This may have only been my imagination, mind you, but it was a little panicky. I remembered that I had on a very colorful pair of Ed Hardy boxers on and felt….ashamed? Worried? Fearful? Some combination of all three? My usually very confident self felt about two inches tall. I actually considered leaving. And I took a deep breath and changed into my gym clothes faster than any human has ever changed.
And then it was fine, and we worked out, and I felt good and everything was ok. And I know it will be much easier next time, and I know that the crowd will thin as the resolution traffic subsides but still….I HATE feeling like that. I hate that I feel so negatively about who I am sometimes that it could actually keep me from doing something that I love. And then I feel bad about not being secure or strong enough that I let myself feel that way. And it’s this vicious circle of self doubt/hate/whatever that I’d really really love to learn to be above. But sometimes, as hard as I try? I’m not so good at this.
What are the things that YOU do to make yourself feel better after stuff like this happens? Or, if it doesn’t, how have you made yourself immune?