My day crescendoed with picking up my dog’s ashes from our vet. I couldn’t even speak — I just pointed with my eyes at the shelf in the front office where they put the remains of beloved pets. I knew where it was because only two months prior I had picked up our other dog’s ashes. I rushed home, stayed long enough to argue with my husband, and then headed back out the door to a meeting intended to update parents on the flood damage done to our son’s new school. This was all after spending most of the day at Lexington Hospital becoming slightly radioactive so they could map blood flow and complete a bone scan on my foot in an effort to address a long-standing injury. So yeah, I was knee-deep in it.
I lugged the vacuum cleaner into the living room because I had a list of a million things I needed to do before I left town for a overnight trip. I plugged in my headphones and turned this on:
My body started to sway back and forth and I turned up the volume. My swaying moved deeper, louder, longer. The release I was feeling in moving my body was powerful. By the end of the song, I was sweating and crying and breathing deep. I played it again. And then once more. I was drunk on movement.
It didn’t take long for the realization to sink in that the movement restrictions my podiatrist had recently placed on me (once again) was taking a toll on my mental health. I miss punching and kicking in my Body Combat class. I miss shaking and shimmying in Sh’Bam. I miss feeling powerful and shedding frustrations with sweat because I am a person who likes to move her body. And it has taken me decades to become confident in moving my body.
Which is why it freaking galls me that when I drive home from town I see this damn sign.
Stronghold Gym is MY gym. It has been my gym for 2+ years. A gym where I see a huge variety of clientele and body types (very few of which have the abs modeled in the ad — BTW, who’s abs are those?). A gym that has some of the most incredible and encouraging instructors I have ever experienced. A gym that has a wide variety of classes and equipment that cater to various levels of fitness. A gym that has free childcare! A gym in which I have carved out a place of respite and release — a sanctuary.
And then one day, my gym became a place with enormous body builder posters and body-shaming advertising (not that there is anything wrong with bodybuilding — seriously that is devotion to a craft). The ownership changed after the floods due to some unfortunate finances, and I am forever grateful that our little gym was reopened. But I will be damned if I will stand aside and let the new owners take my sanctuary from me.
I will not be shamed for my body.
I will not be shamed for my flabby arms or when my belly bounces after I jump kick or my breasts wiggle my shirt up when I am punching out 50 uppercuts in a row. No. No. No. I have worked too damn hard to get to where I am and no one is going to make me feel shame about my body or my fitness journey.
So take down that damn sign Stronghold. This gym has so much more going for it. Advertise THAT.