I was in 6th grade, and getting dressed for gym class.
As I left the locker room, something felt off.
As far as I could tell, I had everything I needed. Sneakers, shorts, tshirt... check, check, check.
Alright, I'm good to go.
I recently made the transition from tighty-whities to boxers, and I still wasn't used to the way boxers felt.
But hey, I'm sure I'll get used to the new underwear situation with a little time.
I opened the doors to the gymnasium, and with all the fake confidence an 11 year old boy could muster, I strutted into the gym.
Time to dominate some dodge ball games.
"That breeze..." I thought. "....it's nice."
I kept walking.
"But... do I normally feel it this much?."
I stop in the middle of the gym, look down, and see something was missing.
I wasn't wearing any shorts.
My boxers felt so similar to shorts, I forgot to put them on.
There I was, in the middle of the gym.
My hockey stick legs covered by nothing but Christmas print boxers, and size 12 sneakers.
My face turned beat red, and I booked it back to the locker room and put on my shorts.
Sheepishly, I headed back to the gym where I was certain I'd get the teasing of a life time.
But I didn't get teased at all.
In fact, it seemed no one even noticed.
Everyone was so concerned with getting on a dodge ball team with their friends, or trying to look cool, or do whatever 6th graders do, they didn't even notice the gangly kid walking through the gym in his underwear.
To this day, I've only shared this story with my immediate family.
I decided to share it with you because gym intimidation is something that holds far too many people back from attacking their goals.
But like the kids in my class that day, no one is paying attention to what anyone else is doing in the gym. They're too worried about what they're doing.
It's normal to be conscious about how you'e perceived by others.
But when you realize everyone else feels the same way, you understand they aren't worried about you at all.
They're too focused on their workouts, and how they look to worry about you.
And those super fit people that seem to induce a little extra intimidation- they all remember their first year or two in the gym, and they're probably excited to see someone making the same powerful changes they once did.
And sure, there are some assholes out there. But not as many as you might think.
So, if you've let a little intimidation hold you back from doing certain exercises, venturing into the free weight section, or going to the gym at all, just remember...
... I walked into a gym in my underwear and no one even noticed.
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