It used to be that I found myself surrounded by a lot of ‘friends’ – you know the type. Fun at happy hour but not the type of friends you could call in a pinch if you needed them. For a long time, I have had a hard time getting what I needed from personal relationships. And that was okay, until it wasn’t. These days, lots of things have changed in my life, aside from the obvious if you’ve been reading this blog. Some of the biggest changes include how, where, and with whom I choose to spend my time now.
Here’s a confession: I am someone who struggles with real and true intimate relationships – mostly of the friendship kind for various reasons. For most of my life, I used an array of defense mechanisms to keep people at bay and protect myself. Humor, extroversion, body weight, and/or a jam packed schedule which allowed me to keep my distance from any kind of real intimacy with people in my life. I’m not talking about the adult kind of intimacy here, kids. I’m talking about deep vulnerability in friendship that is met with great respect, caring, and compassion. Intimacy has always been a terrifying thing to me for a multitude of reasons – the most problematic being that I have a hard time feeling that I deserve to be valued and cared for. Because of that, I have always been too scared to see if I was right. The positive here is that I have been working hard for the past few years to change this about myself. It’s a slow going road, but I’ve made some progress. Hell, I’m writing about it here for you. Baby steps.
I think this struggle also has to do with why I’m so glad that I have a home at Solcana CrossFit. Aside from the obvious physical benefits, I have found so much more.
Just last evening, someone asked me how CrossFit was going and I simply said, “I love it.” The friend I was talking to also asked if the fact that I loved it was the thing that surprised me the most about my experience. I don’t think it is. What surprises me most is the level of support I feel from my CrossFit friends. Having been so used to going to the big box gym where I always kept my head down to try to avoid eye contact with anyone and everyone for fear of actually having to have a conversation with a person, my experience at Solcana is a welcomed opposite. I feel like I am a part of a community. I feel like I belong. I know that might sound lame, but as someone who has never really felt part of anything, I have to tell you these new feelings are welcomed and appreciated. Even better, is the realization that the support I feel is completely genuine. GENUINE!!!! If you’ve kept up with this blog, you know that the WOD’s I share with you can be tough. Sometimes I’m even the last one to finish them. Even when my Solcana homies blast through these killer workouts and I’m still chipping away at it, they are right there encouraging me to the finish. At first, I found that annoying because I couldn’t fathom that this came from a real and genuine place and it made me feel dumb. And then it became obvious that my thoughts were way off. These people were really championing me. And I let them help me make it to the end.
That’s the beauty of CrossFit. It is a community, both inside and outside of the box. I had a pretty big week last week outside of the gym and I cannot tell you how my heart swelled (omg, yes I have one!) to have my CrossFit peeps on my team even when there was no sweating involved. They showed up for me. That means a lot. I don’t know, maybe there is just something about the bond you create with people when you push yourself physically together. To go through the ringer and come out on the other side together is a pretty amazing thing – not to mention having a crew of people celebrating each physical milestone you’ve been able to accomplish. I used to feel so weird encouraging people at the gym for a bunch of reasons – my own physical limitations, and my own struggle with accepting encouragement. But now, I understand the benefits when it comes from a real and true place, and you’ll find me right up in there getting vocal for my peeps. It’s so cool to watch them push harder when I am. It’s the power of community.
I choose to spend my time at Solcana CrossFit. With these people. Fostering these relationships. I’m good with that. It feels healthy and positive. My experiences over time have taught me that it is way more valuable to have a few real and true friends than a bangin’ social network that only seems to deplete you. Friendships are a give and take and I’m thankful to be learning more about this through my CrossFit experience.
It’s funny how you can begin one journey and make headway on another, isn’t it? I guess if you think about it, it all goes hand in hand on the path to health – physically, mentally, and emotionally.
Thanks for sticking with me, friends. I really owe you one for this.