Barbell Therapy…

or mourning on the platform.

My father died this week, unexpectedly. Yes, I am in shock, and very much heartbroken. But, how I am grieving over it, compared to how I would have expected myself to grieve over it, had I imagined myself in this very situation, is quite different. I think the way I am grieving is much different from what many people would expect of a woman. Except for us people of the barbell. Us people of: wooden platforms, weightlifting shoes, squat racks, kilo and bumper plates, gymnast rings, and rubber stall mat floors. Us people of stop watches and 3, 2, 1…GO!

My dads passing has left a huge hole in our lives, his burdens and responsibilities were great, and now we will have to pick them up and muddle through, clumsily learning how to do those things he did with ease and flawless precision. My dad is…was a tank, and he tried to train me to be a tank too –somehow, I always felt that I fell a little short of that my whole life. And I suspect in my former life, my pre-CrossFit barbell life, because of his training I would have still rallied and risen to the occasion just the same, but only after a whole lot more doubt, hand wringing, and tears first.

There doesn’t seem to be much of that person left in me though. My first answer to problems doesn’t seem to be doubt and hand wringing anymore. Instead, it’s; “Oh, world weighing heavy on your back, burdens looming? Fine. Throw some weight on the bar. Tried? Hurting? Fine. Keep going till you get that last rep –no matter how many times you drop that bar to get it. See, all better now!” Training is no longer an option, a luxury, it’s a survival tool. If this weight can’t beat me; if this workout doesn’t stop me –then what can?

And I have come to cherish the women of CrossFit, in a world that still somewhat anticipates, and wouldn’t fault you if you chose to lie on your bed, consumed with a case of the vapors after such a gut wrenching loss, and even suspects your heart a little calloused, and your womanhood lacking if you are not. The CrossFit women understands the sanity found on the business side of a metal bar, and she’ll be the one kicking your butt a little bit, rather than handing you a hanky… And they are always cheering their heads off, pushing you to get that one last rep. Never thinking you’re less of a woman because you’d rather laugh through your pain then cry. They know the only thing calloused is your hands and not your heart.

My [barbell] is my therapist.“, the best one I’ve ever known.

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