What attracted me off the bat was that the website of the gym listed the classes as being "trans-friendly". I often feel like i don't really fit in to any gender-specific box so it's nice to find something that explicitly leaves wiggle room. Well, that and the gym is close to home and boxing doesn't require any special gear, so it was an affordable option. After my first class i was sold. My coach is funny, friendly and laid-back. She has a knack for identifying exactly why people are there - whether it's for fitness, self-defense, stress relief, sport or whatever - and is completely supportive either way. It's a really positive vibe.
The workout is pretty much self-paced, but if you push yourself it's grueling - and i do. I really want to explore the limits of my body, and when it's just me and a jump rope, me and a bag, me and an opponent - i can do that. With basketball and other team sports there's artificial downtime based on what's happening in the game, but not here. I get two hours straight to focus purely on conditioning, on technique, on stamina. My body is getting an amazing workout and those changes are visible, but my mind is benefiting too. I'm learning how to focus better, how to let go of the concerns of the day, how to feel strong and self-confident in the body i have instead of feeling i've been cursed with a shell i hate. And i'm learning how to fight - i can sense myself improving each day and each class i find another little area to improve, to tweak, to work on.
I talk to my coach - S - about what's going on in my life too. After the first few weeks she asked if i wanted to sub for her as a backup coach when she can't make it into class. She said i seemed trustworthy and focused, and that with each class i could earn credit toward a pair of my own gloves or other gear. So i did! I've opened and closed a few times now, and taken some new girls through the basics. It's been a wonderful experience, building my confidence in mentoring and pushing through those social anxiety barriers of feeling like i can't talk to people in a way that gets them excited or interested. I can do it! And now i do have my own pair of gloves.
Given S knows my situation, she has let me continue training the last two months without paying. I've told her i'll pay as soon as i have the money, and of course every day i feel guilty about it because i hate having to rely on other people's generosity... but this is another lesson for me, learning how to be humble, how to be grateful and accept the help that's offered. Now that i have my work permit she's already started putting her feelers out to see if anyone is looking to hire, and she's offered to sit down with me to develop a 12-month plan - to help figure out my goals and try motivate me to attain them. I am blown away by how kind this woman has been to me - i barely know her and yet she's doing whatever she can to help me get me settled and happy here in Canada. I don't just have a pair of boxing gloves due to her - i also have a scarf and gloves for cold days, extra clothes she decided to give me when fall kicked in.
I never expected this. I thought i'd get fit, perhaps learn to defend myself, maybe meet some casual buddies, whatever. Instead it's transforming my body, my mind, my whole attitude... I haven't really met any friends in the sense of "buddies", but i've found something a lot more special and it's something new for me.
There is a lot more i want to say but this is probably enough for today, for here.