Remember your first years in middle school, when you had to change your clothes in public. Walking into that locker room. You saw those locker rooms in numerous movies, but it’s nothing like stopping by for the first time in real life. Watching this on TV was not nearly as nerve-wracking as this solo adventure. Remember your first time?
You walk in with your brand new gym clothes neatly folder. You were assigned a locker combination so you go searching for your locker number. As you look around the room you notice that this place has sinks, toilets and…..showers?! Hold on……Is it mandotary that we take showers? All of a sudden you feel your heart pounding. Showers!…..what’s the point of washing up in class. We didn’t have to do that in elementary school. What makes this place so different?
You start to notice other individuals progressing towards lockers near you. You’re no longer the only kid in your row! Your heart starts to pound just a little bit faster. All of a sudden you hear the gym teacher yell out “You have five minutes to get dressed and be out ready for class!! Hurry it up!!!”. Why is that teacher telling me to hurry up? Are they watching me!?
You start to undress and stare straight ahead. You don’t want anybody to think you are staring at them because YOU don’t want people staring at you! You’re so use to getting dressed by your self in privacy. Well maybe in front of your brother or sister, but not this many strangers. Not in front of Joey or Joanna who you’ve had classes with every since you were six. This definitely wasn’t the same thing as nap time together!
Looking back at that scenario, could you envision the stress and panic? Could you remember your own “first time” in a gym. No matter your age, it always seems that we all have had some sort of nervousness about being in a locker room. It’s just something about it that scares the bejesus out of the majority of folks. It all comes down to being insecure with our bodies. When you’re a young teenager going through puberty there’s nothing worse then your peers knowing about the changes to your body. We are terrified about being judged for being fat, skinny, hairy, short, tall, etc.
That fear doesn’t stop in that middle school locker room. It carries over to us as we become grown adults. When you go to the locker room at your local gym, how many folks still have flashbacks to that middle school mentality? How many still try to go to the back of the locker room to hide from being seen?
Don’t be ashamed, the majority of all us still do that! Even the person with that perfect chiseled body, still thinks badly about their own bodies and is scared of others opinions. YES, that person that you envy! That person that seems to be straight out of the latest Dwayne Johnson action movie. He/She thinks exactly like you.
I wrote this so that next time you enter that locker room, I want you to remember that you’re not alone. Most of us had a bad initial locker room experience. Without even knowing it, it affects how most of us view working out or just going to the gym in general. We shouldn’t let something so trivial in our past dictate how we feel now.
Next time you enter your gym and you see a 80+ year old man/lady proudly walking around buck naked, give them a silent MicVinny salute of approval. If they’re not afraid of judgement why should YOU!