I gave up the overpriced classes for the recreation center

I enjoyed how hard I worked out, but there was so much seriousness in these classes – fitness was a chore to take on, a challenge to take on. These environments made me see it this way too: just another checkbox on your way to the “ideal you”. It was only made worse by the inevitable feeling of inadequacy that came over me in these spaces. Even though there was no mention of losing weight, I was still less fit with my workout gear dirtier than sculpture. I was always the sweatiest and hairiest in the room, and often the biggest. After working diligently to feel neutral to my body, it was shocking to see old insecurities and fixations wandering through the back door when I was sweatiest and most vulnerable. While I abide by many socially defined norms of acceptable femininity (white, able-bodied, feminine), my chubby, hairiness, and overactive sweat glands would make me feel out of place.

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