Problem 5: Boys
Last spring, I was at practice for Solcana’s Olympic Weightlifting team, when I got a text message from my boyfriend. The team had just finished warming up, beginning our sets. I went to check my phone to see what weight to start with, when I read the words, I need to talk to you.
I froze (which was ironic because the snow was finally melting), unsure if I should throw the phone across the room or not. I showed the screen to Hannah, asking her what she thought. And in her classic resolve, she simply told me, Do what you need to do, right now.
Of course, that afternoon he broke up with me, in a public park no less.
But since then, I’ve been left with the question, What if I just stayed at practice? Not because of the relationship — that was a failure regardless. I’ve been stuck wondering, What if the thing I needed to do, right now, was take care of myself first?
You can ask all of my friends, at any point of life, and they will reassure of one thing: I am way too focused on boys. Even when I came out in high school, I had the laser-attention when it came to the same sex. (And I am pleased to report, that absolutely nothing has changed.)
I am, hands-down, one of those people that stops working out when I have a boyfriend. Which, is a tricky thing right now, because I am currently in the longest relationship that I’ve been in. Even though he is pro-bear body type, I’m starting to realize that, right now, I need to be in the gym.
Like most teenagers, when I first started trying to date, I was not hung up on all of the reasons someone would want to be my boyfriend. Rather, I was obsessed with all of the points that he could make to remain in the friend zone. Honestly, at the time, I did not see these moments as potential insecurities, or reasons to feel bad about myself. Instead, I referred to them as director’s notes, and if I could only synthesize all of these perspectives into one, then I would become the most-dateable human ever.
I want to be clear: throughout my teens and early twenties, when a boy that I was crushing on showed disinterest, I would explicitly ask him what it was specifically about myself that I could change. Most of the time, it actually was helpful feedback, with a resounding note of, You have a lot of personality, or more often, You’re too much.
But one winter, a boy admitted that I was too overweight for him to find me attractive. So I made it my New Year’s resolution to lose 30 pounds, and that spring, I asked for my Weight Watchers membership. And we all know how that journey went (see Problem 4: Food).
Problem 6: New Year’s Resolutions
The first boyfriend I dated broke up with me, the day after Christmas, as a New Year’s Resolution to be single. This event isn’t necessarily relevant to anything. Just thought it was a fun fact that might help the transition.
I’m sure that I am the only person to this, but every December, I take time to look back and take stock of the year. Focusing on where I spent my time and energy, I recalibrate my intentions for upcoming twelve months. There are the perennial favorites that make the list: Write more, Drink less, etc.
But this year, I am trying something new: keep the goals outside of the abstract, while not comparing myself to anyone other than the person that I already am. So rather than trying to attain the whimsical, Keep apartment clean, I am going to Clean apartment every Sunday like your mother is coming over. Which is, honestly, a lot of putting clothes back on the floor of my closet.
It helps, though. I do not need a list of all things that I could do to change myself, when I’ve done everything I can just to get here. After all, I’ve decided to leave the notes to the real editors and directors of the world.
The most tangible and realistic goal for 2017 that I want to share with you all, is something that I already completed in 2015: Run a marathon.
I know, I’m rolling my eyes too. Running a marathon is like the most-20something resolution a person can make. But it’s important for me, right now, to know that I can do it again.
My first go-around, two years ago, I was very sure that I was going to fail. But because I prepared myself with a few races leading up to the big one in October, I actually finished. But this time, I want to have teammates on my side training, racing and cheering.
I’ll be doing the same thing this year: a 5k in February, a ten-miler in March, and a half-marathon in July, all culminating in that final 26.2.
So the only thing left I have to say is, Won’t you join me?