I am somewhat terrified of doing anything for the first time. Once I’ve done it I’m completely fine but I work it up to be a bigger deal than it needs to be.
For instance, I was so nervous for my first date with my beau that I was roughly 40 minutes early and sat awkwardly in a car park on my phone. I don’t even live half an hour from the bar.
I also felt sick to my stomach the first time I caught an international flight without my family. I am a grown woman and I catch planes to Brisbane at least twice a year but apparently my anxious-brain thinks there’s a difference. I even get nervous cooking new recipes for the first time, especially if it’s not just me that is going to eat it. Sometimes by the time it’s ready I’m too exhausted from worrying about it to even enjoy it. I might be slightly ridiculous.
Today’s first time I had to battle through was a boxing class at a gym.
I’ve been into the gym plenty of times before but I hadn’t tried any of the classes. I messaged the gym through Facebook to confirm what I needed to do and what I needed to bring. Their response was quick and had an excited tone so I thought, well now I’ve committed. Despite having all day to talk myself out of it, I made it to the gym 15 minutes earlier and checked with reception as to where the class was. He escorted me to the room and reassured me that the trainer would be along pretty soon. After ten minutes of very-intentionally-not-looking at myself in the two walls worth of mirrors, the receptionist popped back in to advise that the trainer had set up outside. He apologised and escorted me to the right place.
That guy was lovely. Give that guy a Good Human badge.
Unfortunately the first impression of the class wasn’t that great. I approached a group of 7 women, 1 man and a trainer. They were just about to start their warm up. Four of the women looked my way and did that *look you up and down painfully slowly* thing. I was anxious as hell but tried to brightly chirp, “Hi!” anyway.
Silence. My smile faltered. Things ran through my brain like: too fat, not welcome, maybe it’s because I’m not in expensive activewear.
I talked myself back up. Alright then. I’m here to work out, not to make friends. It’s fine.
The warm up was a jog. I suck at jogging but it was fine. I actually jogged the majority of the way, which was further than I would’ve been able to four months ago. The happy endorphins were beginning to make an appearance and I was excited to see what we would be doing.“Pair up,” said the trainer. I awkwardly turned to the closest person to me. She shook her head and said, “I have somebody.”
I awkwardly looked around. Cue flashbacks of when they let kids pick team mates one by one. I raised my hand when the trainer asked who didn’t have a pair.
A lady approached me, smiled and said, “I’ll go with you.” This lady was amazing. She was the type of chick you wish everyone was like when it came to meeting new people.
She deserves a Good Human badge too.
The boxing and exercises were really good and there were no new things I hadn’t done before. But there was a lot of running. I felt that I had battled a fair way through before I asked the trainer for an alternative. I was proud of that because I am definitely a quitter when it comes to high intensity exercise.
“Squat jumps.” Great, I can do them! So I continued.
The set changed and it included more running so I asked if I could run to a point that was closer than he had said. I figured some running is better than no running. The trainer had no issue with it. So I did that for 2 rounds.
Then one of the 4 women from earlier yelled out that I was supposed to go to the road. I ignored her. She insistently yelled to the trainer, “didn’t you say run to the road?”
The trainer responded indifferently. I kept running to my negotiated point. She made some other comment.
Can you leave me alone? I wanted to say. But I didn’t, I think I started walking.
The trainer simply said, “She can’t run that far.” Can’t. I can’t. So I stopped.
Then it got worse. She literally, obnoxiously and loudly scoffed in response!
I felt weak and useless. Like I didn’t belong there. I regretted coming.
Then the nice lady that was paired with me encouragingly said, “Just do squats, catch your breath. I get exercise induced asthma. I get it.” It was enough to make me finish the class strong.
It definitely did occur to me though that interactions like that are more than enough to make someone else stop trying new things or showing up to a group thing when they don’t know a single person.
At the end of the class I asked her name and thanked her for being nice to me. It felt like such a silly thing to say but I genuinely wanted this woman to know that if it hadn’t been for her, I would have given up and likely never returned to the class. I also wanted to turn to the Loud Woman and tell her she didn’t have to be such a jerk to new people.
Instead, I asked the trainer if he ran Friday’s class and said I’d come back to that one.