As a person with an invisible disability, it is often somewhat challenging to make your body do what you want it to do. If you then put that body on a piece of machinery, machinery that has its own built-in intentions of what it is to do, you can end up looking like a meme in action.
I have been going to the gym for a while now. And what I’ve come to realise is, though you often feel like the eyes of everyone are upon you, the more you go, and the better your get, the less people notice that you look at bit funny as you attempt to use the equipment, particularly the treadmill.
At first, I could see that people were watching because I was holding the central post as I walked, and during my attempts at a short run. But one of the days, last week in fact, I actually took my hands off the post and ran properly for the first time. It was the most freeing thing I’ve done in a while. And instead of looking at my legs, and worrying about my alignment and whether anyone could tell what was different about me, I looked straight ahead, at myself in the mirror.
When you realise the power of your own body, after spending years worrying about people’s perception of your weakness, it is the most empowering thing.
So if you need me, I’ll be on the treadmill, looking ahead, instead of looking down.