I started my CrossFit journey in late 2016, at the recommendation of a friend who knew of my type A tendencies. (Don’t judge, you know if you’re reading this, you’re at least a B and a half).
Shortly after starting, I dragged my husband to a local fundraiser competition because I wanted to share my newfound passion with him, and (more honestly) because I was hoping he’d see it, drink the Kool-Aid and immediately start looking like Mat Fraser (except taller, darker and bearded like a lumberjack).
I had no idea how badly it was going to backfire.
Later that evening, high on the adrenaline of watching such local badassery, I referenced my awe for one of the female athletes competing that day. But my dear husband’s response was that he doesn’t “find muscular women attractive.”
Um, excuse me?
Is there a magical point where my bicep becomes too defined and you nope on out of here? Is there a defining line where my amazing (and jean filling, hey!) glutes will bring about the downfall of our decades-long partnership and marriage?
My husband is not an awful person. He has a passion for cycling and mountain bike racing, so he’s no stranger to the dedication it takes to achieve goals (as evidenced by the fact that he’s on his trainer in the office right now spinning out a two-hour interval training).
He got me into trying to be healthy in our twenties, by giving me a sip of scotch for every set of whatever it was I was poorly executing with dumbbells in his living room. Needless to say, the efficacy of that approach was not proven over time, although it did result in a lifelong love for scotch.
After arguing for what felt like the entirety of the night, we came to an impasse. I decided it was his problem and that I was going to continue to pursue my goals. I didn’t understand how he so easily reduced the amazing achievements of the athlete down to her attractiveness. I still don’t understand.
Ultimately, it doesn’t matter. I’m certain that athlete will lose no sleep over this.
Nor will I.
We grow and change throughout our lives, and through an almost 20-year marriage, I know that my change is not over yet. We are learning to actively love each other through these spurts of growth, when the territory is unfamiliar and strange.
We cheer each other’s successes and encourage each other’s goals, even when we don’t share them. And I’ve realized that although his unconditional support would be amazing, his love is enough.
I don’t need his tacit approval to change my body. It’s mine to do with as I please and he can either come along for the ride to see all of the amazing things I can become, or he can watch from the sidelines. It’s his choice.
But my choice is to continue to improve, to continue to strive toward excellence.
And with muscles.