The Come Back – Part 1

The following is the first in a small series of posts aimed primarily at those of us who have taken time off  from the gym – for illness, for injury, because life happens. It could also be those of us who still come sometimes, but sporadically, and with a lot of chatter in our head about it.  And maybe this even reaches a few of us who are still showing up, but are holding on to some of our own stuff when we get there.  We hope you see a little something in it that you can take with you.    – Kitren

Once upon a time, there was a girl who took a leave from her gym.  Not too long, with a set end date.  “See you soon!” she announced upon her departure, and looked forward to her return.  But as that leave ran its course, she happened to get sick – whatever germs were going around at the time – and she took another week or so to recover.  No big deal. The following week was so busy at work and she was just exhausted – no time for the gym this week, she decided, but next week for sure.  As next week rolled around, her kids had so many obligations she needed to drive them to, and dinner wasn’t going to cook itself. Hey, she thought, it has been so long that a few more days aren’t going to kill me.  And finally the next week arrived (or was it the one after that?), and as she thought about putting on those leggings, she was overwhelmed by the critic within – I’m out of shape, I’ve gained weight, I can’t go back like this. People will see me, people will judge. 

Sound familiar? We can all probably relate to parts of it.  I know I can.  I’ve been away for almost two months for recovery after abdominal surgery. Planned? Yes. But, if we’re going to be honest, and we should be, it comes on the heels of a bigger picture. This surgery was supposed to happen two years ago.  But an unexpected shoulder reconstruction and a knee repair later, 2022 just kept on giving.  So, really it has been almost two years since I have brought my “real self” to the gym – the one whose heart was in it, who reveled in a challenge, the sweat, the PR.  I worked here enthusiastically, but I was working out here with far less enthusiasm, and with a whole lot of that inner critic. And so here we are. 

But this week, I made my return.  So, what I want to offer is this – a real talk, real time reflection on what The Come Back can be like. And maybe, it will help somebody else to make their long anticipated return – to walk back in the door, or to invite back their own “real self”. It’s not easy, but it’s definitely worth it.