On goes the high-end leggings, you know the really expensive ones that supposedly makes you look fabulous while you workout, or at least that’s what I told myself when I spent over $100 on these fabulous leggings. On goes the sports bra, the cute tank, headband and to finish off this fabulously expensive workout outfit, the perfect pair of rose gold tennis shoes. Now I am ready to go to the hot and happening workout spot that’s all the rage!
I have been told that all of the people that workout here wear these expensive leggings- so I am certain I will fit right in. I am super excited to go, and I have been pumping myself up all week about how wonderful this workout is going to be for me. I swore that I would lose 10 inches in one workout. I am super amped and pumped to go. On my ride to workout I listen to some of my favorite 90’s hip-hop to get me in the mood for this great workout I plan to have.
Excited, I walk in and this place is all that I have imagined. Super swanky, hip, fabulous and everyone looks like a million bucks. “This is definitely the place for me,” I tell myself. Then it happened. Damn it! It happened. I got the side eye, the whispers, the odd stares. Then came the “Are you sure?” comment as I signed in. I shrugged it off, and thought this isn’t happening, not here, not at this place! This couldn’t happen here. This is the hottest place in town to workout, surely, they have seen a few of me workout here. I am sure I am not the first. So, I let it go. Hang up my bag in the locker room. Grab my weights and my ball, and I get ready for this awesome workout that I know I am going to have.
I am slightly early for my class, so I head to the back of the room to make sure I get a good spot that’s out of the way, but still in good eyeshot of the instructor. Then it happens. Again, damn it. It happens. The instructor gives me the side eye, the all too familiar “are you lost, are you sure you are in the right place?” look.
But I shrug it off, maybe she’s just not use to seeing new faces in the class, so she’s trying to make sure that I am familiar with the workout. This is what I tell myself, to make myself okay with the odd discomfort I feel. Then it comes on full blown, one by one, the awkwardness, with the other people as they enter the class. Everyone’s greeting each other, hugging, catching up, and then it’s an awkward stop as they get close to me. They don’t make eye contact, in the “she won’t see you” kind of pause and walkaway.
Wow, this can’t be. I am dressed in the right gear, excitement in my eyes, and gumption in my spirit to try something new, but that wasn’t enough! It simply wasn’t enough to be a part of this unspoken workout society. Overall, the workout was great, all that I imagined, but the discomfort and uneasiness of the awkward elephant in the room killed my mood. My heart was broken! I was devastated. I built this experience up, and thought that it was going to be all that I imagined, and then I was let down.
When I signed up for the class, I didn’t sign up with a buddy, nor did I expect to see a familiar face. What I expected was to have a great workout and meet new people that I assumed were like me. I assumed they were like me, because they liked the same expensive leggings, they had the same great style and eye for fabulous workout gear, and interest in going to the hip, happening hot spots in town to have fun. But I was let down. I was let down because they weren’t as ready for me, as I was ready for them.
I think that I am pretty darn fabulous! This fabulousness didn’t happen overnight. It took some time for me to get there, but once I decided that these curves, these full lips, thick hair and this caramel brown skin was something to be reckoned with – it has been pretty darn hard for me to turn back and forget that. That is who I am!
When I walk into a room, I am pretty darn certain that I am there because I belong there, and that I am there for a reason. I own who I am, and I am sure of who I am and who I represent. So why is it so hard for you to see that? Why is it so hard for you to be okay with me being okay that I am the only me in the room? I am not asking you to over compensate and make it known that I am the only me in the room! I don’t want you to feel awkward and obligated to engage in a conversation with me. What I want is for you to understand is that I understand I am the only me in the room, and rest assured, I am there because I choose to be – you don’t need to question it!
What I want is for you to eliminate the phony small talk, and be genuine. I want for you to treat me like you treat anyone else. I want you to not make me feel awkward, or for me to feel obligated to try to break the ice first. That I have to tell a joke about who I am to make you feel comfortable. I am just me, good ol’ fabulous me!
And I like all of me, with my curves, full lips, thick hair and caramel brown skin.
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