This is a little bit silly, but felt like a step important enough for me to share. I’m still learning to celebrate positive changes and growth in my life (always tempted to dismiss it and move on to the next item on my to do list). Forcing myself to take a pause now and reflect - so here it is.
I recently signed up for workout classes. Taking the leap came essentially from the fact that my therapist had to change the location of her practice, and she was basically one of the only people I was physically meeting with - which is now not possible anymore. One of the perspectives I’ve set to myself this year is to try to be more proactive in going out and seeking opportunities to meet new people, as my “IRL” social life is nonexistent besides interactions with my partner (the perks of remote working and being socially anxious). So it’s not necessarily to make new friends. I feel too old to pressure myself with that type of goal. It’s just about having a sense of live interactions with people, whether it’s casual or not. I already started to make it a habit to go to the coffee shop on my own once a week and work or journal from there. Workout classes was another item on my mind.
I learned that there is a centre very close to where I live, where they provide courses for small groups (up to 5 people by class). The types of workout provided are also right in my alley as I need to get back to shape after becoming a desk potato. Not too intense, focused on core training, streching and easing physical pain.
Last week I’ve been to my first class. I was sick to my stomach the week beforebecause of the fear of being the only one who signed up, and ending up alone with the teacher. Someone would usually be happy for that as it becomes almost an opportunity for a personalized training, while for me it feels more like a nightmare where you have no choice but to be seen. Thankfully we were a full group, and after this first session, I’ve felt safe enough to decide to take a full subscription. I’m thankful for this small group format as it’s not overwhelming and feels more intimate.
This step was important to me because social anxiety has always been a struggle and prevents me from doing things I like or wish to do. It’s gotten better over the last couple of years in specific areas, however, when I need to enter a completely new environment, with completely new people, and where I’m likely to have to interact with others… it’s a challenge. I’m also way too self-aware when it comes to my body shape and weight - which is a type of shame that has been overly present ever since I started to struggle with eating disorders during teenage years.
I think I did well for this first session though. Well - I did it, so that’s already more than I thought I could do. The only thing is that I feel embarrassed by the way we have to move sometimes, and my first reaction is to laugh… which I have to contain, lol. I had this happening years ago while trying yoga classes where I had this huge smile during almost the entire hour, because I felt so ridiculous seeing myself doing poses and seeing others at the same time. I believe it’s just about needing time for the mind to get more comfortable in this new setting and for the embarrassement/shame to be lifted away. To get a sense of familiarity and routine. I can’t count the amount of uncontrolled laughs I’ve had during therapy sessions.
It feels a bit unreal that I’m finally doing this now after it’s been on my mind for years, without daring to try.
Will write for once what feels like forbidden words… I’m proud of myself. These feel like reasonable expectations, a good alignment between stretching my comfort zone while not burning it out either. It’s already been insightful for me to pay attention to how I feel every step of the way.
Alright, now time to hide. Thank you for reading my digressions. And just a simple reminder: you matter very much.