Changing for today.

Each Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday morning this week, at 9:10am, I walk into an overstimulating environment, where purple and yellow surround me.

I smile at the adorable young man standing behind the counter, trying to pretend that I don't look and feel like a frumpy, exhausted 42 year old with yesterday's make-up on. I walk to the bathroom first. Pee. Then walk by the mirror.

I wish they had better lighting so I could see myself instead bathed in warm candle light and pretend to have a few less wrinkles and the thickness that my hair had, just a year ago.

The other day I thought maybe if I 'dressed up' for the gym I would feel more confident when I was there. So I did an experiment. Instead of yesterday's eyeliner dripping down my face and the dreadlocks in my hair and the stained t-shirt cut down the center I put on clothes that I felt more beautiful in. I put a little bronzer on my cheeks. 

Who do I want to be when I show up at the gym?

I want to be strong, empowered, confident. I want to feel beautiful. Before my body changes from the lifting of the weights. I want to feel beautiful now.

I want to walk in the gym, even though I am not showered and have been awake since 6:30am getting 5 kids ready for school and feel beautiful. I don't feel beautiful unless I dress that part of myself for that feeling.

And it matters. My work outs are more intense. I look people in the eye. Smile.

This is what I need to feel beautiful at the gym. So I don't spend the 40 minutes I am there telling myself how ashamed I am of my body or the weakness in my muscles. 

This is a new part of myself, excavated from the past. The gym was the main ingredient of my life in my twenties. I am not that girl anymore. Seeing myself in the mirrors I often think she should be the one looking back at me.

I can see her so clearly. Her work out shorts that barely covered any of her legs. Her short hair, with little clips all over. Her face clear of make-up. Wearing a size AB bra. So tiny, barely taking up space.

Finding the me now inside of this new ritual has meant letting go of that past self so that I can find the woman now who longs to feel her strength again. Who knows that time has shifted her metabolism and energy. Who knows that she must work extra hard to understand this new body.

This part of me is something I am discovering. I am playing inside of. Wondering what I can wear to feel more at home in my skin when I am doing leg presses. Wondering how this ritual will shape-shift the woman I am becoming.

I want to feel beautiful as I am empowering my body and reclaiming my energy.

I can be new and change and show up for the woman I am today. Who wears a C cup but only wears a bra to the gym. Long wavy tangled hair. Leg warmers over her sneakers. Who takes up a whole lot of space in the world now.