Everything hurts. The shooting pain in my left hip flexor causes me to writhe whenever I do anything as simple as standing out of a chair. The cracking in my knees belies my age – an age that seems to be increasing at a faster rate lately – and signals a throbbing no amount of ice can reduce. My shoulders, elbows, and wrists ache. My throat is thrashed from yelling; my eyes from straining; my heart…
And yet I wouldn’t change a moment of my time with you. However limited that time has become, it still represents the best of who I hope to be. My time with you makes me a better man, makes me WANT to be a better man, and I can’t stop striving.
I can’t even remember what life was like before you. I know that I existed, and I even believed myself to be happy, but I had no idea the depths of satisfaction you would take me to. And no idea the depths of pain.
You drive me out of my mind, baby: crazy and wild, infuriated and infatuated – all at the same. And I love you for that.
I’m sorry, honey.
I know things have been hard between us as of late. I have been so busy, so crushed by work, by deadlines, by articles to write, lifters to coach, a gym to manage, and a never-ending stream of new projects. I’ve hardly had time to squat, let alone spend time with you.
When we do get time together it’s harder than it used to be. We feel horribly distant from each other and it’s tearing me apart.
Everything between us used to be so fluid – natural. When I laid my hands on you, gripped you tightly, and pulled as hard as I could, it all snapped into place. Hard, catching you strongly, with confidence and power.
I’m not sure you remember this, but I do: When we were together last spring, every day, twice a day, sometimes three times a day. I was all over you as often as I could manage back then. Stealing time from my course work in my masters program. Lifting alongside my lifters at night – the gym was still rather new, and my time less demanded. Every moment I could find, I would find you.
Personal Records came easy then. The human body is a remarkably adaptive machine. Give it the right motivation, in the right quantity, and the right frequency, and it responds beyond your wildest dreams.
You are one hell of a motivator, honey. My gains with you were extraordinary.
Remember when we met?
I know you know my history with squats. And I know sometimes you get a bit jealous. The fact that I started off in powerlifting probably adds to this problem – it was my favorite lift back then before I’d found weightlifting – found you.
But while I fully understand your jealously, and I don’t in any way begrudge it, it’s important to remember if it weren’t for squats we would never have met. Squats have paved the way for our greatest moments together. I know you know this. I’m not questioning that. But it is worth mentioning anyway, as sometimes saying something out loud, despite our both knowing it, can help it sink in.
I loved back squats when I was a powerlifter because I was better at them than the other lifts. Sometimes that’s enough. You love the ones that love you back. You can go a long time on fuel like that – maybe forever.
Until you meet someone who takes you further.
Being loved is a wonderful thing, honey. But to be truly inspired and loved at the same time – amazing. You gave me that – both – and more than I could put into words. Our human language simply doesn’t have a large enough lexicon to describe what I get out of loving you.
I know you worry sometimes when I spend so much time in the squat rack, baby. But I do it for you. It’s always for you. All of it.
Our first time.
Do you remember our first time? I fell in love with you immediately. I was such a fumbling idiot. I literally fell over with the bar. Not even a twenty kilo bar! One of those “standard” bars, that is anything but, and only twenty pounds or so.
I’d be embarrassed if I didn’t love you so much. Instead I look back and feel nothing but joy. All of my foolishness led us here, together, wrapped up with one another in a never-ending struggle for closeness and perfection.
I want “us” back.
Every time I touch you, I feel off balance. I lose my footing, I throw you forward, or drop you behind – I miss. I miss the weights we used to use. I miss the confidence I had when holding you. I miss the power we generated together.
I miss “us.”
We’re adults. We aren’t idealistic kids anymore. We have lived long enough to know relationships are going to have their down periods, struggles, and dark times. Not because our relationship is inherently flawed, but because we stuck it out long enough to get to that point. And that same willingness to continue will allow us to get through this. I have absolutely no doubt in that.
Yet I’m still a romantic at heart. And while I don’t believe in fate and I don’t have any spiritual leanings, I can’t help but feel I was born to love you, to lift you, to fight along side you.
No matter what short-term struggles befall us, baby, know that you have my heart. I’m forever yours. I will continue to dedicate all of my training to you. And I will never stop trying.