Yeah I know, the title makes it sound like I only had a short break from the gym but really I think it has been over ten years since I stepped foot in a gym. Now the last gym I actually had a membership for was (get ready) Only Women's Fitness and I met some really great ladies there. There were no men so it was immediately apparent to everyone that I was a butch lesbian and I received the same kind of disgusted sideways looks in the change room that I received in any other public washroom only now there was no question of my gender because I had already been pre-screened.
I worked out and went to fitness classes and started to get into pretty good shape but then I moved out of Alberta to BC and the prospect of going to a gym in a small town was a little more intimidating. There was only one gym and it was of course co-ed. So instead of the gym I joined the ladies recreational hockey team since I knew some of the girls that played. Then I busted my hand off the end of my arm and had to wait two years to be able to play again.
Now my first visit to ladies fun league hockey was really not too bad. I was stared down in the dressing room by one woman who decided not to return after a few weeks. I am still uncertain if there was any talk I was unaware of, you know the kind, the things you say behind someone's back when they aren't around. Anyway, I played hockey and got into better shape, started eating better and had quit smoking after my third wrist surgery. I was becoming more fit and had to invest in a whole new wardrobe. It was here that I also met two of my very dearest friends.
So now that I am back at the gym I have a couple of things that are really of concern. First, I can't exactly use a change room since I only have two to choose from and neither one fits right now. Thank god it's summer and I can pretty much show up in shorts and leave without anyone being any the wiser. Having said that the next problem will be the winter, which comes painfully early here in Yellowknife I'm told, so by September or October for sure there will be snow and I will not have the luxury of showing up and leaving in the same workout gear. I will eventually need to use a change room and the thought of that makes my heart pound. But not in the good cardio workout kind of way.
Secondly, until I have my top surgery I feel very self conscious at the gym wearing a bra and wearing a binder is likely unsafe, consider the chafing and blisters, not to mention its too tight and uncomfortable and stupid hot. I am afraid of suffocation and death. Right now I kind of feel like I did when I was twelve and went to bed knowing all my clothes fit but when I woke up the next day none of them did. I am at that awkward in between stage.
I am not a part of gym culture, I don't understand all the girl/boy etiquette. I am unsure of the machines and the weights and where to look or not look when a hot girl is jogging on the treadmill. I really want to work on my pecs before surgery but I don't want to feel so self conscious that I no longer want to go to the gym. So for now, I will go in my shorts and ride the bike, avoid the change rooms and try not to talk to anyone. I will wear my ipod and pedal, watch the tv, sweat, and leave hoping that I don't ever need to pee.
This transition is giving me the chance to live in the boy body I have always wanted. Until the Tesosterone starts to work its magic and the surgery removes the final spoiler, I will have to sneak in and out of the gym without changing clothes, or showering, or talking too much to anyone. I hope that come winter I will finally feel like I have a place I can change out of my parka and into my gym shorts so that I can finally work my way into the body I have always dreamed of having.