Tag Archives: relationships

How CrossFit Ruined My Love Life

'I loved you--until I saw your kettlebell!'

‘I loved you–until I saw your kettlebell!’

CrossFit ruined my marriage.

At least, that’s what my estranged husband might say.

Before CrossFit, I was mild, docile, and never wanted to cause trouble.

But CrossFit changed more than my lats.

It gave me the courage to do things that were hard. After all, CrossFit, like great sex, is mostly in your mind. When you apply pressure to a person through a challenging WOD, their real nature comes out–for better or worse. Quite often, how a person reacts to a WOD is how they will react in everyday situations.

There are enough blog posts on why you should date a CrossFitter, and most have to do with the body and sex and so on. But what makes a person great is the mind and soul and character.

So, what do you see at CrossFit?

  • Faithfulness: Do you want to roll your eyes when someone tells you that [INSERT ANY EXERCISE PROGRAM HERE] is just as good as CrossFit?
  • Dedication: When you miss a WOD, or go to a different class, do your friends worry about you?
  • Endurance: Do you walk through the door, having quit already? Or do you give it your all until the clock runs out?
  • Social Skills: Do you talk to the people around you? Or do you sit in the corner, hoping nobody sees you?
  • Personal Responsibility: When you screw up do you admit it or blame it on your shoes/calluses/ponytail/big blue stupid kettelbell…
  • Healthy pride: It’s okay to yell or fist bump or collapse to the floor smiling when you PR.
  • Humility: Actions make a person great–not words.
  • Attitude: It doesn’t matter how fast or strong you are; or if others are faster or stronger–but what kind of a person are you, really? How do you attack your WOD? That’s the proof of your character. That shows how you live life.
  • Strength of character is the most attractive quality a person can have–and CrossFit can help develop it.

Now that I’m discovering who I am and who I WANT to be, I think a lot about these (and other) attributes. Life should be a steady work-in-progress, where we are always striving to improve some area of our lives. Whether it’s to relax more, to have fun, to pay more attention to detail, to be bolder–whatever it is for you, these things play out daily in the box. There is a body/mind connection, nearly indescribable, that shapes our character. Nobody’s perfect, but at least in CrossFit, we’re working towards something better.

And this is why CrossFit has ruined my love life–past, present, and future.

The past, because it gave me the strength to capsize the boat.

The present, because I’m currently in a new boat, and it’s a lot smaller (like…only room for me).

The future, because I’m convinced only another CrossFitter could eventually help me paddle upstream.

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Different is Good

bw fountain

My birthday is perilously close to Mother’s Day, which means I only get one cake. On the bright side, the kids never forget my birthday because every store window reminds them to get something for their Mom.

This year had a different feel to it; and when things have been pretty much the same for twenty years, (to quote Groundhog day): “Different is good.”

My birthday landed on a Thursday–a non-Crossfit day–which meant no birthday burpees for me. Instead, I took the kids to Wurzburg to my favorite Thai food place and afterwards for the best coffee (at a nondescript little hole in the wall) and ice cream in Germany. Interestingly, both places are run by Italians. I’m thankful they brought their beans and gelato north of the Alps.

The difference this year was that there was no spouse to take pictures of me with the kids. It was a strange feeling.

As we walked through the palace garden, it was hard to watch couples strolling along holding hands, or to see a kid riding on his dad’s shoulders. You start to ask “Why can’t we have that?”

Why do I only have a strong espresso in my hand where fingers should be laced?

But questions that don’t have answers only set you down the road to self-pity–not a good place to go.

It’s far more productive to be thankful: for the unique individuals I call my offspring; for the laughter; for the coffee; for the ability to walk and run and lift heavy.

I’m even thankful for the trials because they are forcing me to become the person I want to be.

But I don’t want you to get the wrong impression: my life is not The Notebook (which, for the record, I only saw once and could not stand it).

My life comes with tears that work my abs and moments where I have to pull the car over because my sweet little family is unraveling in the rear view mirror.

I have come to understand that my life ‘before’ wasn’t life at all–it was existence. I did not have some incredibly amazing passionate marriage in which my partner suddenly had medical problems, and I, as the ever-loving, patient wife would care for him and see him through. The hard reality is that things had been messed up for a long time; and I though I wanted things to be better, I was smart enough to have already begun the long journey towards independence, well before the medical problems complicated matters.

I AM a Taurus, which means when something isn’t working,  you either fix it perfectly or smash it all to hell and start over.

That stubbornness, a quality I had loved about myself,  had been covered with twenty years of dust before Crossfit came along to clean house.

I’m thankful it did.

I’m starting to figure out what kind of person I really am–even though I sometimes don’t like what I see. I want to be like ‘good’ people–you know, the ones who always seem happy.

My kids are feeling this too. My youngest and I were talking about how ‘different’ we feel these days–and how it’s almost painful to be around ‘good’ families. I guess part of this whole process is discovering the joy of being a family exactly like ours: figuring out how WE roll and not comparing ourselves to others and sure as hell not WANTING to be like other families.

Our scars show that we’ve been actively engaged in life, not merely witnessing it from a protective bubble.

Different is scary.

But different can be good.

So, we press on, move forward, and scrawl out the first word of the first chapter of this new life. 

 

 

 

 


Love Like a Barbell

barbells

Sometimes I wish love were more like a barbell: something you could wrap your hands around and make it do whatever you want. It could be heavy and slow, or light and fast.

You could hold it to your chest or feel the cold weight bruising your bare shoulders; you could throw your entire body under it, and if you have the strength, it wouldn’t crush you.

If you drop it, you can pick it back up and try again. With steel, you inherently understand that the more you work with it, the higher you can go. Your technique and strength improve with practice.

The barbell cannot be destroyed and is unlikely to be taken away from you while you’re holding it. Nothing anyone says can make it vanish. It’s never hidden or cloaked or suppressed or masked. It cannot die or dwindle or be extinguished.

The barbell is predictable. It does not change. It is always there for the taking. If you get hurt, it’s never the barbell’s fault.

But love is  a different beast.

Unless you’re clinically narcissistic, love involves another living, breathing human being. And human beings, as we all know, tend to make messes wherever they go. But that’s what makes love, love.

Its unpredictability thrills you or breaks you. You never know which it will be.

The interplay of mind, body and emotion is far more complicated than the sleek, sturdy silhouettes of iron.

That’s probably what draws me to the iron. Whether it’s the barbells or the kettle bells, the heart races, the blood flows, chemicals are released in the brain that make you feel good, elated even. And isn’t that what love is supposed to do?

The barbell is simpler.

Cold, yes. Unfeeling, yes. But simpler. And sometimes we need a break from the emotion, the drama, the heartache, the uncertainty of love.

Sometimes we just need to lift heavy shit.

For all the differences, however, there is one way in which love IS like a barbell: if you are lucky enough to have it in your hands, you can hold on tightly and do something great with it. 


Why You Should Not Crossfit

cat

1) Crossfit is hard. Why be uncomfortable?

2) You’ll look stupid. Even if you perform a move correctly, who wants to be outdone by someone twice their age and half their size?

3) Crossfitting is extreme. It’s only for pro athletes and former Olympians.

4) You’ll start using ‘Crossfit’ as a verb–or worse yet, a gerund (see #3).

5) You’ve already tried insane workouts, and you didn’t get six-pack abs in six weeks; in fact, you got injured–Crossfit is just the same as all of those other fads.

6) You’d prefer something fun and pain-free, like Zumba.

7) Your hands will get dirty.

8) Squatting is obscene. (Someone might see your butt).

9) You’ll need to invest in a new wardrobe. Places that were too snug will be too loose, and places that were too loose will be too snug.

10) You might start looking sexy (see #9), and who needs that kind of attention?

11) You might start feeling sexy, and who needs that kind of pressure?

12) You might become more driven, energetic and focused.

13) Your athletic body and new mindset will cause all sorts of problems in your current relationship (see #9-12).

14) Your old friends will send you links to online quizzes, to see if you belong to a cult. They may even host an intervention for you.

15) You won’t be able to hide anything from your new friends–you’ll have to be yourself.

16) You’ll stop believing myths about Crossfit.


Love and Bullets and Happy Holidays

Gun club

I once had a dream when I was pregnant that someone tried to harm my child, so I bludgeoned him to death with a club.

My pregnancy dreams were notoriously violent.

As the holidays approach, I tend to think about the people I love, those I can hold tightly and those I’ve had to let go–and ponder this nebulous feeling/idea/emotion: love.

We need more words for ‘love’ in the English language because one pitiful monosyllabic word cannot possibly encompass all aspects of it.

It is ferocious and wise; unwavering and temperamental; it is boisterous and quiet; fragile and strong; ferocious and gentle; it is rapturous and painful.

In my life lately, love seems to be mostly painful.

However, I’ve learned a valuable lesson because of it: to truly love a person, you need to love them exactly as they are.

If you can look at a person packaged in all their ‘faults’ (or things you perceive as faults) and not only take a bullet for them, but also grab the gun and beat the perp until he can’t stand up, then you are loving someone unconditionally.

But what happens if someone you love wouldn’t take a bullet for you–and you both know it? Or worse yet, what if YOU get tired of taking bullets?

I wish I had an answer for this.

Love CAN be the thing that makes you walk on air. I understand this intellectually, but currently, I can’t envision it.

The only thing I can do is to put on the kevlar and go out and keep loving and being loved where I can.

No matter what.

My kids love me fiercely; and I can’t think of tougher friends than the ones I’ve made at Crossfit–not just physically (though they WOULD be handy in a fistfight or zombie apocalypse) but it also takes that certain mindset, which motivates you to stand up when the weight is so heavy it bruises your shoulders. These kinds of friends love the real, honest me–and they never ask for what I can’t give. Now that’s unconditional love.

If you are blessed enough to be with people this holiday season who would take bullets for you and/or beat someone to death for you, wrap yourself up in it until the painful, achey kind of love subsides.

I wish you a happy holiday. 

Joy.

Love.

Peace (if applicable).

And friends who kick ass.