I am no stranger to exercise and work out classes. I have attended many – I know what to expect, I know what to wear and for the most part I know I can handle it. The first time at a new class is usually a bit daunting but never really caused me any major stress.
Late last year, I received a flyer in the mail advertising a Pilates class in my local area. And I thought – well that’s a good idea! I’d done some Pilates before and knew it was great for your back. And my back desperately needed some low impact strengthening as it continued onto its journey back to 100%.
So off I went.
Ok, it wasn’t as simple as that.
Because suddenly I was overcome with fear. What if I went to the wrong place? At the wrong time? What if I looked stupid? What if I didn’t understand anything? What if everyone was really unfriendly? I mean, this is a local class in a small town, so it’s a lot harder to go in incognito.
I felt ridiculous. Here I was, hours out from my first class and I was overcome with nerves – sweating in the middle of winter. How old was I, exactly? How many exercise classes had I done in the past?
Hubby had told me where to go but I was so worried that I drove there half an hour early, just to make sure it was the right place, and there weren’t any surprises awaiting me. Then I returned home to stand around for another 20 minutes wringing my hands until I decided it was better to be early.
Hence I then I hid in the car for 5 minutes or so until it was close enough to 7:30 to not be too early and I’d witnessed other, mat-toting ladies emerging from their cars. I was like a scared teenager on the first day of high school. What was wrong with me?
But I gritted my teeth and walked in, exuding confidence but feeling as small as a mouse. I managed to introduce myself to the teacher, give her the necessary information about my back, and also mention that German was not my first language, so she knew what was happening if I looked blank. As if she couldn’t work that out herself from my badly formed German sentences!
And then I settled on my mat, breathed out, and felt a lot better. And everyone was friendly, and the teacher helped me understand the things I didn’t, and I did do some stupid things and everyone laughed at me. But hey, it’s Pilates, people are doing weird things all the time and laughing at one another (in a friendly way) is part of it.
And now I look forward to it. Instead of feeling nervous, I feel only the occasional laziness that emerges when one must leave their warm house to go out into the cold at night. And my back thanks me profusely. I may not understand everything all the time, but I certainly understand enough. I’m glad I was brave, even if it didn’t feel like something I should need to be brave about at the time. Because it’s ok to be scared, as long as it doesn’t stop you doing the things you want.