Gym-Specific Social Phobia

I’ve had a gym membership for three months.

I have been zero times.

Initially I couldn’t go because the new location opened RIGHT in the midst of the end of a quarter at work, a semester at school, and holiday traveling. The weeks following those consisted of me avoiding resolutioners galore.

But then as the month of January wound down, I found myself with the time and desire to return to my beloved workout circuit. I geared up, hopped in the car, drove the five minutes over, and……….

……….. kept going because there were approximately 1,894,600 cars in the parking lot. It was panic-inducing even from the road, and I realized the resolutioners were still around, not to mention that it was a peak gym hour. I couldn’t go inside unless I wanted to faint without even touching a weight or five.

The next couple of weeks consisted of me playing cat-and-mouse with the gym’s parking lot.

“It’s still too crowded. I’ll try really early instead.”

“It’s crowded in the morning, too! I’ll try in the dark of night instead.”

“Where did these assholes come from? Hasn’t everyone worked out already? DOES EVERYONE AT THIS GYM DO TWO-A-DAYS?!”

I realized there would never be a time there wasn’t a Mall of America-level population at the gym. It would need to be a problem I conquered instead of avoided, so I started asking people to go with me. My friends, my roommate, my boyfriend. “No time, no money, no workout clothes because YOU DIDN’T TELL ME BEFORE I CAME TO VISIT YOU, BABE!” were their respective excuses perfectly acceptable reasons.

A fellow soldier was out of the question, though I knew if I could find one, that would honestly do the trick. I realized that my best friend S, though in Texas, could be my gym accountability buddy. I could text her whenever I felt the urge to run and she would say “NO, RACHEL! WE HAVE TO GET IN BATHING SUITS IN LESS THAN A MONTH FOR GIRLS WEEKEND. GO TO THE GYM!” Perfect. I would be working out in no time!

No time is an accurate description in that I have spent no time in the gym. I talked to S tonight and admitted my sins. She cut me some slack before I admitted that all of it has centered around this inexplicable gym-specific social phobia. It’s not that I care what I or my workout look like to others; it’s just that being around that many strangers makes me want to vomit all over the shiatsu massage chairs. We both lamented the fact that our benzos make us too uncoordinated to workout properly because there would be no issue if I could just dose myself and dive headfirst into the sweaty crowd of exercisers.

I have around 20 days to redeem myself before our aforementioned girls weekend, and I’m running out of ideas. That is, until I came here, typing so desperately that there is now some sort of Macbook burn on my forearms.

Here it is, folks. Isn’t the first step to recovery admitting you have a problem? HEY, READERS! I have social phobia of my perfectly fine gym. Please send paper bags and whale noise soundtracks.


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