The day I met Gym

Hello, Shelley, meet Gym. I think the two of you will make a lovely couple.

I wasn’t particularly convinced, but I was willing to give it a shot. Coming through a divorce with three small children (a boy age 4 1/2 and twin girls 2 1/2), I was tired of feeling stressed, exhausted, overwhelmed, and, let me be frank: desperately needy for male attention and affection. I won’t lie to you, my self-esteem was shot, and I was supposed to keep going in spite of it all, with a smile on my face? I felt like a mess inside, even if everyone kept telling me how amazing it was that I was managing it all.

I’m the last person you’d ever expect to have become an advocate for physical fitness, working out, hitting the gym, and whatever else you normally hear from people who are so high on themselves that they feel like they need to convert you to the Holy Church of Fit. No, folks. That is not me. If you are looking for a conversion, a baptism, or any other sort of fanaticism, you will not find that here.

I am simply a woman who had always been relatively fit and active. A former soccer player, dancer, cheerleader, and casual weight lifter, I knew about the importance of movement and staying in shape. But then, as it tends to do, life happened. “Life” was three kids in two years, and I pretty much figured: well, that was that. My body had now performed its sacred duty for womanhood and all of mankind, and the fact that it had left me with lots of places that were super squishy was, in my mind, just the way it worked out. I don’t know why I assumed that once you have kids your body is “shot,” but that’s definitely what I figured after having stretched my skin to unbelievable proportions by carrying a twin pregnancy to term (38 weeks) and having gained a healthy 50 lbs. in the process.

But, despite my best predictions, I learned that life has its own way of leading you to where you’re supposed to be.

Yes, despite all the twists and turns, the Weight Watchers, the caramel lattes, the fried goodness, the endless hours sitting lethargically in front of the computer, the ice clinking in the glass, the dabbling in smoking to try to soothe my shot nerves, and the strain of raising the kiddos through an overseas move, fit was coming back for me. I felt like crap, physically and mentally. I knew my lifestyle habits weren’t good for me, but I had lost even the strength to care. And yet Gym, my new boyfriend, was in fact waiting just around the corner.

Little did I know what he was going to do for me. All the things I had always hoped a man would do for me, but didn’t/couldn’t/wouldn’t/shouldn’t.

My dearest Gym is all that the others never were and never could be.

He’s always there for me, on good days and bad.

He never lets me down, and even though he makes me put out a decent effort for his rewards, he always makes me feel tough, secure, healthy and confident.

He shows me how strong I can be and pushes me to be even better.

He makes me sweat like no other man ever has, and gives me a sense of self-worth, accomplishment, and satisfaction that I know I’ll never find in any partner.

In short, Gym is “the one.” He’s the sure thing.

Why didn’t anyone tell me this before? Where have you all been hiding that secret? Certainly not under your pre-packaged preservative-corn-syrup-filled foods! OH no! All of you fit people, to me, were always those holier-than-thou people who had to flaunt to the rest of us mere mortals just how incredible you all were, with your super-human strength and your iron will to resist living a “normal” life like the rest of us.

And so, I march bravely forward to let you know that there’s hope for the rest of us. Not everyone who falls in love with Gym started out that way. That means if I can do it, God knows you can too. If you aren’t convinced, then I invite you to peek in on my adventures with Gym and see for yourself. It won’t always be pretty but I promise it will keep you mildly entertained and you can even have some laughs at my expense. But not for long. You just might fall in love along the way.

PS I’m not advocating actually doing anything as drastic as leaving your current partner for your very own Gym. Oh, no, my friends! Just think of me as that friend that gives you permission to cheat now and then. Actually more now than then. Gym is worth it. You’ll see.

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