It’s not about the leggings

Last week I started going to a workout class with my mom. It was the first time I stepped into a gym in a long time. My normal exercise routine consists of workouts in my basement in pajamas. I really enjoyed the class—getting out the house, moving my body, an hour that iwas my own—and plan to continue going. Still, on my drive home from that first class, I instantly thought “I definitely need new gym clothes!”….

but do i?

I basically live in athleisure wear when I’m not in the office. The fullest drawer in the dresser is the one with athletic shirts and leggings. I’ve managed to maintain an exercise routine in PAJAMAS. And, other than the one class a week at a gym, I will continue to roll out of bed and stumble to my basement to get movement in.

So, no, I do not need new gym clothes. 

Where was this knee-jerk reaction to wanting, no needing, new clothes coming from? “The woes of consumerism,” I thought. That didn’t seem right, though. I have been, somewhat successfully, curbing mindless spending for a few years now. It was something deeper. 

That first class had been hard. It felt harder than I thought it should. I wasn’t pleased with my reflection in the mirror. I felt like a “before” photo. I’m not as strong as I used to be and much softer around the edges. The last four years—pregnancy, postpartum, pandemic—have done a number on my body. Plus, I love working out in a group setting, but I’d have to wait another week to do it again. I was longing for the days my sweat sessions were predictably at 5:30 p.m., five nights a week, with a booming community.  

As I drove home against the sunrise, I was sitting in this place of immense pride (getting to a 5:45 am class was no easy feat), while also feeling a bit disappointed. The new clothes would fill this void (or so I thought). I was looking for a way to wiggle myself out of discomfort. This place where I’m still grappling with the realities of my life as is it right now. The life that is much different than it used to be (in good ways and bad). The one where I simultaneously don’t like the way I look, but equally annoyed I even care.

The leggings would have been the quick fix. I have plenty of them—quick fixes that is. Shopping, sugar, screen time, to name a few. Many times (most times) the quick fixes win out, but not this time. My cart stayed empty. I think that’s called growth. 

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