Posing Panic

Last night I lost it. I lost any grip I had on this. I’m sitting in my bodybuilding competition posing class. The girls around me stripped down to their bras and thongs to mimick a competition bathing suit. They walk around the room performing their routine with the utmost confidence, their heads held high. They swing their hips and show off their bodies in the most prideful manner.

Then it’s my turn. I stand up in my tight high waisted shorts and start to remove my shirt for the first time in front of these people, exposed down to just my shorts and sports bra. (I chose the sports bra that covers the most skin.) I insecurely walk up to the front, fully aware that over 12 set of bobdybuilding competitors eyes are on me, evaluating my current state, picking apart my imperfections, noticing any strong suits.

I’m forced to perform the poses despite the fact that I don’t know the correct form or flow of movement. I’m forced to smile even though I can hardly breathe, my heart is racing out of my chest, and tears are welling up in my eyes. I force through this for 10 minutes before my coach finally sends us back to our spots on the wall. I immediately put my shirt back on and make myself as small as possible in the corner of the room while the rest of the competitors complete their routines.

After some final words of advice and critique, which included calling me out for not being confident or ‘confortable in my own skin,’ he dismisses us. I quickly make my way out and do my very best to suppress the wave of emotion welling up within my body. ‘Just make if down the stairs. Just make it to the locker room.’

I make it and head to the back of the locker room where I erupt in total release of all the horrible emotions just built up inside of me. I cry so hard that I feel sick. I try to be quite though as to not draw any attention to myself.

But I only have 10 minutes to get this out as I need to be in group fitness class along with the other competitors next.

I compose myself and make it through 15 minutes of class before I feel as if I can no longer breathe. Not because of the workout. I have the most intense cold sweat and I’m violently shaking. I abruptly leave class and run to my car where I proceed to have one of the most terrifying experiences: my very first panic attack. I call my mom unable to catch my breath, unable to talk, unable to slow down my racing heart. I hang up with her as I’m hardly even understandable and feel even more worked up because she is obviously very concerned. I cry it out for 20 minutes alone in my car and finally begin to slow down my breaths and heart rate. I drive home with the shakes and a continuous cold sweat.

I take a steaming hot shower just trying to get warm and stop the shaking. I sit on my shower floor and let it rain down on me while I cry and pray. I pray for the Lords help. I pray for his guidance. I pray for the understanding of why this is so incredibly difficult for me.

Just sleep it off. Tomorrow is a new day. Tomorrow will be better.

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