is on a floor higher than most buildings you’ve been in.
It takes up almost an entire perimeter of that floor, with windows looking out onto the city from a vantage point in the sky.
It is beautiful.
And way above your pay grade.
But since it’s for the tenants of your work building, where they gave complimentary manicures and blowouts the entire week before Christmas because people pay huge rent prices, while your non-profit resides rent-free, waiting for the day you will finally be let go of your non-existent lease, the cost is low.
So low you can afford it.
Except, after the initial awe of its perfection, a group of people come to look too. They are mostly young white dudes. Young white dudes in suits. Young white dudes making two, three times more than you.
They are checking out the weight machines and talking to one another about reps or some other banal shit and all you can think about is how they’re doing all of this just to disrespect their next Tinder swipe with their dumb hair and their dumb faces.
You decide to check out the women’s locker room.
There are eight showers, all with their own dressing areas. Tons of lockers.
A woman in front of you is complaining that there are only four sinks.
“That’s going to be a problem.” she observes.
You find yourself agreeing, though you have no idea why. Maybe it’s because it does feel odd that there are four sinks and a million everything else.
But you don’t want to commiserate with this complainer.
You take one more walk around, noting the spin room and the free weights, the medicine balls.
This is not your first rodeo.
You have belonged to many a gym. You’ve had a personal trainer. More than once. You’ve gone to classes. Classes called “Werq”. You’ve done that fake ballet thing.
All in the name of looking good. Or as it turns out, feeling good about yourself. Because the truth is, the only time you remember having confidence was That One Summer you got skinny.
The air kissed your bare torso. You boldly hung out at North Avenue beach in a green string bikini. You flirted so hard it’s embarrassing to look back on.
But you’ve been chasing that stupid, untouchable summer ever since.
Except now you’re kinda fat and you have a scar and stretch marks and weird loose skin from pregnancy. Your pants are tight and you’re in a double digit size. You are a mom. You have a partner.
You’re annoyed that you only feel powerful in this world when you are thin, but it’s just a fact about yourself and there’s no sense in denying it.
So maybe you’ll sign up for this gym. You’ll wear your Walmart bra that doesn’t support your boobs. You’ll run in gym shorts you found at Goodwill, in shoes that are big and clunky and not aerodynamic or neon colored or meant for running. You will not use wireless Beats by Dre or a FitBit or listen to music on your iPhone.
Because regardless of your place in this socio-economic stratosphere, the number on the scale is the only one that matters to you.