I haven’t publicly talked about the real reason I started lifting weights. The reason that kept me coming back day after day to train. It was grief. A dark fog pulled back the curtains and turned my world upside down. Every day I cared for my partner during a dark time and every day I went to the gym. I needed to be a care giver and unfurl my own pain and see to disinfecting my wounds. I wasn’t stable enough to sit at a desk for 8 hours a day and smile at stressed out undergrads. I was so overwhelmed. ⠀
Grief is a lot of waiting around and remembering to eat. Grief is also white hot rage encased in guilt and shame. I was so fucking mad. I had never felt such acute anger. My anger was classic text book even. Mad at myself for not knowing what to do and mad at the unfairness of life. I was mad at everyone. The only thing that seemed to ease my complete discomfort was lifting heavy and listening to heavy metal. It all had to be heavy. A driving drum beat and the sound of my own guttural screams was oddly soothing. Being able to drop the bar, grunt, and make myself bigger was the salve I desperately needed. ⠀
Since then darkness, depression, and trauma have visited my inner and outer circles of community. Death and suffering have visited us on the national and international stage. September is bursting at the seams with haunting memories and painful anniversaries. I return to the gym to remind me that I am very much alive. I watch my muscles strain against the weight of the barbell and I remember that I’m still here. I have to keep fighting to hold back the tides of a society hell bent on imploding. This fall let’s lift heavy together, break glassware and yell at the top of our lungs. I need you to remind me to fight and I’ll remind you.