Why I go to the Gym or: The Woman I Met That Made Me Want To be a Better Man.

Why did I start going to the gym? I think, like for most men, it began with a woman. I was presented with a human being so exquisite in nature I knew I had to impress her. She’s strong of mind, strong of body, intelligent, doesn’t put up with people’s shit, sees right through my bullshit, and calls me out when I’m trying to pull a fast one.

As saccharine as this sounds, meeting her and getting to know her reminded me of Kevin Morby’s opening line of “All of My Life.”

I believe in honesty, integrity, and being as open as possible, so people know you are having sincere interactions. To stick to those principles, I have to admit that the above paragraph was written about six weeks ago. I wrote it and became stricken with fear. Was I okay with her knowing this? Was she okay with me sharing this with the world? I’ve sat back and reflected on this for quite a while. I’ve decided to move forward with finishing and posting this. I’ve opted to leave her identity to the abyss of anonymity. In the spirit of Batman, we’ll call her Selena in honor of Catwoman, whom she resembles in many ways: cunning, smart, pulchritudinous, and one of the only people to get the better of me.

When I first met Selena, I realized I was being introduced to a unique human who would never admit to being impressed by anyone. This didn’t strike me as a challenge, more of a long-term goal. “If I can be good enough for her, I know I’ll have made it as a person.” It’s hard to find someone who is book-smart, humble, snarky, can build the frame to a house, can kick my ass, and make a cake. After spending time getting to know Selena, I was sold even more on the fact that this person was someone I wanted to share my time with. I find my personal time to be one of my most precious assets. It’s one of the few things that is indeed mine, and I can choose who and what I give it to. I wanted to share my time with Selena.

In casual conversation, Selena said, “I will never date a man with softer hands than me.” I vividly remember looking down at my hands, inspecting them, pointing them out towards her and saying “how’s this?” She chuckled and gave a negative response. That lit a spark. I needed manlier hands. I needed to be able to do the things she wanted to do. Go rock climbing, roll Jiu-Jitsu, go on hikes, build stuff with her, fix things for her when they needed fixing, just…make her happy.

I’ll save you all of the moaning, groaning, and lengthy gushing. I KNOW you can’t make other people happy, I know you can’t do things for other people, and you have to do them for yourself, I know fulfillment comes from within and not from others. I get all that, but Selena was/is one of a kind. She arrived at a point in my life where I needed a push, some direction, and someone that believed in me. In her own way, she was able to give this to me, and while I’ve tried to tell her “Thank You,” she’s never accepted it and thrown all the responsibility on me. You can’t deny me here!

In my time since (and because of) Selena, I’ve learned I really enjoy “Jackin’ that steel.” I appreciate the difficulty of bouldering. I love failing and trying something again, failing again, and repeating that process until I make some physical progress on whatever the current physical challenge is. I have callouses on my hands. I don’t think she’d be impressed, but they’re there! The most important thing though, is that the callouses aren’t there for her. They’re there for me. I’m going to keep going because she made me want to be a better person for her, but also made me realize I wanted to be a better person because that’s what I want.

I don’t think I ever did an outstanding job of letting Selena know just how vital she was to me, and the impact she had on my life. When I would try, she’d just brush it off. So this is the best way I can think to thank you. I’m not just telling you, I’m announcing to the world (or my mom because she’s the only one that reads this) that you made a difference. So thank you, Selena. You changed the direction my life was headed in and introduced me to a whole new world I didn’t know I loved.

May your Waste Management truck never falter.

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