Can we all agree that gym classes were the worst?
The screaming, the sweating, the mile, and worst of all…THE MONKEY BARS!
Okay, I know I’m in the minority here, but I really did hate gym class. I had no desire to be active unless it was parachute day, and let’s be honest, parachute day didn’t require a lot of physical activity. But the day I hated more than any other was relay day. In my elementary school our gym was also our cafeteria. After lunch we would fold up the tables and collapse them into the walls, and our gym teacher would lug out the orange cones, hula hoops, or whatever other torture devices he had for the day, and class by class, we would take our required 45 minute session in the gym.
Relay day was always my most dreaded day because unlike the mile, I couldn’t hide behind the trees and pretend to be on my 4th lap. Several stations were set up around the gym, including a climbing rope, hurdles, and a scooter race section, and we had to complete each station before moving on to the next. We always started in alphabetical order which meant I was fourth or fifth to go, leaving the rest of the class to stand and watch behind me.
As I’ve mentioned before, I was a fat child, so my sweat pants and I had quite a significant amount of anxiety surrounding gym class, especially performing tasks in front of others, which made relay day TERRIBLE. Watching the kids in front of me complete station after station made me feel sick. I knew what was coming, and I knew it wouldn’t be pretty. The first station, hurdles, weren’t too bad. I could do a little jump and clear most of them, and the scooter race was a breeze. But what came next was my worst fear; the monkey bars. They folded out from the wall stood at least 4 feet over my head, taunting me with their chipped green paint; I hated them, and they hated me. Step by step my chubby little body climbed up the ladder, knowing very well that my arms would not support my weight and I could not cross the bars. I’ll never forget looking behind me and seeing all my classmates waiting on me for their turn. The sweat gathered into my palms and I rubbed it off on the side of my sweats, praying that death would be quick or that God would send a stream of fire to save me. My gym teacher blew his whistle and yelled at me to get a move on, but I just stood there, sweating up a storm.
Anxiety welled up in my stomach and I thought about throwing up in a swift attempt to get out of gym class, but I knew I had no time, so I reached my arms up and grabbed the first bar, slowly lifting my feet from the platform. Stifled giggles began to fill the room behind me and I knew I must be quite the eye sore.
Karisa the fat girl, dangling 4 feet in the air with sweat dripping down her forehead.
With all the strength I could muster, I reached out to grab the next bar with my right hand, and in an instant, my left arm gave out. I tumbled to the floor and a cloud of shame settled around me. The stifled giggles turned into heavy roars of laughter and I remember praying for God to strike me dead. I heaved myself up from the floor and tried to laugh it off with the rest of my classmates while I fought back my tears. Luckily, my gym teacher didn’t make me do the climbing rope that day, although there would be many embarrassing attempts in my future.
So, what does this story have to do with my weight loss journey? Well…nothing really; it’s just a memory that haunts me. I remember the feelings of shame and guilt that came with my weight, even as a young child. I remember the laughter from my classmates and the look of pity from my teacher as I stood up from the floor, trying to hide my embarrassment.
Being fat is hard.
It is hard to be laughed at and it is even harder to look yourself in the mirror and realize that you made yourself this way. There is no one person I can blame for my size other than myself, and I am also the only person who can fix this problem. Part of the solution to my eating habits is looking into my past and examining those moments of shame that led me to binge eat, and I hope you come along with me on this journey. If you can only take one thing from this post I hope it is this:
Monkey bars are stupid.