Much as I love my old gym with its rooftop pool, gleaming chrome, and banks of state of the art machines, I’ve made the switch to a women’s only gym.
This is not a statement about how much I like/dislike the company of men.
This is nothing more than a self-preservation.
I need a gym that draws me too it, one that gets me, one where I don’t need to polish my carapace before I walk through it’s pristine glass doors–one where I know the kindness is real.
I’ve finally found it.
My new gym is simple and it is clean.
It has no windows to the outside world. No one stares in.
It has some machines and many light free weights suitable for women.
There is no bad smell.
No condensation from sweat clings to its mirrors, and in most places, I’m not forced to look at my reflection.
In yoga class, teachers are kind, students are non-competitive and friendly. Yesterday, an Indian woman I didn’t know brought me a roller, offering it to me with gentle ceremony. I could sense my newness and uncertainty showed, was accepted.
I am new, but welcome, like I came through the door and someone brought me tea without being asked, like my human needs were anticipated by women who understood.
I don’t need fancy surroundings.
I don’t need faux enthusiasm for my middle-aged condition.
I could bask in this nonjudgmental haven.