These weren't really my problems
This has been something I have intended to do for some years now, believing it was the last remaining option for me to lose weight and develop stamina. I was always put off, however, by awkwardness, self-consciousness, and the fear of men. Well, I had to crash through all of those.
I remember when I learnt to drive (about 12 years ago now), I felt ridiculously self-conscious about the possibility of looking like an idiot while being propelled by an engine. Similar fears beset me about the way I may have appeared while exercising. I am not sure where this comes from. Anyway, like a lot of these things, I have ended up completely forgetting to worry about it while attending to the task at hand.
What amazes me is that I am also almost OK with the changing rooms. This is of course my greatest fear. I am disgusted by men's bodies, which I suppose comes from certain dimly recollected childhood experiences that I won't go into today, or in fact probably couldn't even if I wanted to, which I don't. I am sort of simultaneously appalled and almost admiring, though not really, of the way that many men are entirely unconcerned about taking their clothes off in front of other men. I never look, but I am aware that this is happening. It is very stressful. Negotiating hairy arses to get to your locker is never a joy.
Last week (but not this week) there were young boys (10? 11?) in there too. This weirded me out in a different way, I suppose since the media is so filled with the assumption that youth are prey. I guess a critical mass in the changing rooms stops anyone doing anything too controversial there and everyone remains unaroused. Clearly the problem lies with me and the strange education I have received in what people (men in this case) do around other men.
Of course, I have not yet lost weight, and the general slight rise in my feeling of wellbeing is probably a placebo, but I think I am going to stick with it for the time being, and I am not yet regretting anything.