We pulled into the parking lot at the gym. As we waited to get out of the car, I saw her, and groaned and rolled my eyes.
I said to my husband, “See? That’s why I hate coming here, having to see people like that.”
She wasn’t fat. Far from it. She was perfect.
We’ve all seen her. The cheerful chick at the gym basically working out in a thong and push up bra, always posing, flirting and getting the attention she’s cruising for.
Why do I hate her beauty so much? Why do I hate the attention she’s getting so much? I sure don’t want it; I don’t even like my own eyes on my body.
Why do I wish she would just fall down the stairs and break her leg or something?
Nothing too serious, just a really clumsy fall off the latest exercise contraption in front of everybody. Tragedy at Crossfit.
Has she ever been fat? Let me guess, she just had twins and “bounced right back.”
Why do I groan and roll my eyes when I see her? She probably isn’t a murderer. Unless you count my self-esteem.
I don’t know any of the women at my gym. There are some that look like me. But many look like her.
Maybe I see her as a big fat mirror, reflecting back an image of myself that pales in comparison.
Maybe she represents the discipline and self-control I can never seem to get the hang of when it comes to food and exercise.
Maybe she’s a painful reminder that my closet is full of mom jeans and that I’m close to setting an all-time record for lifetime ownership of scrunchies.
Maybe her bare midriff reminds me of my sagging belly doomed to never recover from carrying two huge babies.
Maybe seeing her makes me face the harsh realization that my kids are now old enough to make their own sandwiches, and I can’t use them as an excuse anymore.
Maybe her coiffed hair brings attention to the fact that I’m on the third day of drowning mine in dry shampoo.
Maybe I’m jealous that she doesn’t have scars on her face or varicose veins.
Maybe she’s never felt like she’s had to hide her body.
Maybe she’s never had any reason to believe her body isn’t a sacred temple.
She obviously doesn’t have kids wrapped around her perfect legs when she’s trying to walk.
Maybe I’m making the mistake of thinking that just because she’s in perfect shape means that she’s perfectly happy and has everything she wants.
Maybe she’s miserable. Maybe she looks in the mirror and only sees flaws too.
No, I’m sure she has perfect self-esteem. She probably goes to counseling for perfect self-esteem.
And she probably has an amazing corporate job to pay for the sessions. And she probably gets to travel all over the world on the company dime and see amazing things.
She’s probably banging the CEO.
With six kids.
I step off the cardio machine. And as we pull out of the parking lot, a few more thoughts occur to me.
Maybe fit-shaming is just as bad as fat-shaming.
And maybe deep down the person I’m hating isn’t her. It’s me.