Love, Actually

by winteryder

I have fully engaged in a lifetime love affair with iron. The barbell, the kettle bells, the dumbbells, the plates, the rack, the simple existence of heavy weight has never let me down.

On the darkest days I’ve known, when loss of love and human companionship has left me crumpled and broken, I acknowledge the underlying iron deficiency. It has never let me down. A barbell is always there for you. It just waits. You don’t have to worry about it texting you back (or worse, filling your inbox with a thousand scary messages). It’s just there. Always there.

Every time you make contact, you grow. You change. For the BETTER.

It’s one of the few relationships about which I can say that, unequivocally.

The barbell doesn’t care if you miss a lift. The kettle bell doesn’t care if you lose a liter of sweat all over it. The plates don’t mind if you flip them in midair like a juggler or collar them, lock them, and throw them down on a cement floor from overhead. The dumbbells don’t know the difference between a reverse fly and press, but you do. And that’s what matters. Read what you will into their silence, the story is your own. The chapter you write in your own sweat and tears and struggle is yours- and yours alone.

There’s integrity in their structure and they only ask the same of yours. There’s honesty in the simplicity of the relationship, all that’s required is that you show up for your own life. Your body counts your reps, your weights, your rounds, your fuel and refuel, your rest.

I think the plates know, too. They sit there in their tidy stacks (because yes, you DO put your plates away neatly and re-rack your dumbbells) and seem to whisper, “Pick me, pick me…” They know.

It’s been twenty-five years since the first time I got under a barbell and dropped into my first squat. In a filthy connex-trailer add-on to a diesel generator shed, with grime and grit and dirt etched in the lines of my hands, with the steady throb of generator as music, I found love that has lasted a lifetime.