Wednesday, 18 April 2012

The gym thing: Ego tripping

The gym thing again.
Ego tripping

so now we will talk about my gym neurosis once again. Since starting at the gym I have found myself to be a lot happier with myself and my life. Whilst no where near as big as I was, I have kept my pot-belly, and intend to keep it that way, people now seem to be calling me an otter cub instead of a bearcub because of that. The biggest change is that I am gaining quite a lot of muscle mass. I have definition on my arms and legs and my frame is changing shape. I'm working hard to put on as much muscle mass as I can before my holiday in San Diego this June.
This change has brought about a flurry of compliments my way. People have really noticed how my body has evolved and I often hear how much thinner I am. The best point was when I was cuddling with my boyfriend and after shifting the get comfortable he looked up at me and asked me to tense my muscles again. After flexing my biceps he looked at me with a huge grin and spent the time checking out how much firmer my body had become.

So the gym is working for me this time. I am getting a body I enjoy and people are complimenting me. So where is the neurosis you may ask? What is wrong now?
The answer is that I am worried about the ego it is giving me. For a long time now the men who regularly go to the gym I always assume are egotistical narcissistic body fascists. You know them, the clique that stand in the corner of a club posing while looking disapprovingly at those who are not. I now worry in a big way that I will become like those people. Its like the moment in mean girls where the main character realises she is talking about herself so much people are board by it but she finds she can't stop.

This is a worry to me as I have noticed myself becoming more egotistical about my appearance. Though I stop and wonder why that is worse than disliking my appearance? Are we as a culture so programmed to seek improvement on ourselves from products and surgeries and diets that when we do get to a state we can be happy with ourselves we are told to then feel guilty about it?
This worry over my ego has lead me to wonder about my own prejudices. The fact that my first assumption about people that go to the gym are probably stuck up, cliquey people says more about me than it does about them.

Recently one of the new people I have been getting to know since new years is an armature body-builder with the physique of a Greek god and the strength to throw me around like a rag doll. He is not humble about his body. He himself stated he is an extremely vain child, and also a huge exhibitionist. I suspect the latter is a large part of his motivation to work for such a big body. What has stood out about him is that he seems like a great guy. He is cheerful and nice and the opposite of what gym bunnies were supposed to be in my world view.

I guess what this boils down to at the very heart of the matter is I am not worried about becoming vain or egotistical but not being a nice person any-more. Its not the idea of liking my own body so much as judging other people for theirs. To a lesser extent it's also the worry if I achieve the physique I want then people will make the same assumptions about me that I have made about others.
These worries I know will stay with me for a long time, but in a way that is a good thing. They will act as a safeguard preventing my fears coming to pass. I just have to keep reminding myself that so long as I keep an open mind and don’t look down on others for being who and what they are then I wont become a douchbag. I know myself who I am, a person who loves a wide rainbow of body types and someone who enjoys getting to know new people and new experiences. I just have to be reminded of that sometimes.

p.s. In case you are wondering, dear reader, the muscle god has promised to throw me about a wrestling mat and do all sorts of nasty things to me. When it happens in shall be sending you a full report ;-).