This might be one blog post that I have a lot of material for. But also, it's a blog post that I'm scared to write. And I really don't want to, but I hope by giving the feelings a name it might help me think more clearly.
At the end of last year, I got dumped. And with that came the first time my heart was truly broken. For some people, it might seem like I'm a little late to the love game. "Don't most people get their hearts broken in high school?" Or so the movies said. But for me, it happened at 25.
In my defense I was a little stunted in the love department. See, I'm gay, and the real Tanner didn't even open his eyes until he was 21. So when other straight teenagers were able to love (or like, or like like) someone freely, I was a mixed little bag of confused gay emotions.
With those emotions came the fear to join sports teams because I might not be masculine enough. And also with those emotions came the ability to treat my body like garbage, because why waste the effort on something that nobody would love?
After I came out, I started to realize that I had to invest in my body and take care of myself physically. And unfortunately, some of that attitude was probably thrust upon me by the gay communities pressure to be the perfect man in every way. But I also wanted to take care of myself for me. I hated myself, and maybe some self-investment could help.
I always say that the money I spend on myself at the gym and for a personal trainer is an investment in myself. Some people blow their hard-earned cash betting in casinos, so this was my bet on myself. (And also my credit limit, personal training isn't cheap!)
Through a couple of boyfriends and many multiple flings, (I mean just a couple of innocent dates, Mom!) I was able to keep my fitness journey moving and felt great doing it.
As the summer began I started Spartan training and absolutely loved it. I also met the guy who would inevitably be doing the heart breaking. As the summer ended, I had found two great new passions, Spartan training and my new boyfriend!
In October, I ran my first Spartan race, followed the next weekend by a trip to Mexico with my boyfriend. After that, training was over and I was free to spend more time with him. But unfortunately, that didn't seem to be what was actually happening. And by December, it was over.
What followed were two really fucking shitty weeks. I didn't work out, I ate the worst food possible, I couldn't even sleep. I went back to the gym for a few days and that helped me feel like a human again, but then Christmas snuck up on me. So there was no working out there, no improvement in food quality, and no more sleep to be found.
After the new year, I knew it was game time. If working out had helped me improve my attitude and emotions in the past, it could surely help now. I felt terrible going to the gym that first day, but was determined to do a mile on the treadmill. As I'm panting and huffing and thinking about giving up, I started to positive "self speak" in my head.
"You can do it"
"Just keep going, you're doing amazing"
"But I just want to give up and stop."
"Don't stop running"
"But I want to give up so bad"
"You're boyfriend gave up on you, are you going to give up on yourself too?"
"No, I'm not. I can't and I won't give up on myself."
And just like that I had a nice little epiphany, right there on a rundown treadmill in a smelly downtown gym.
It might not be perfect, and I definitely have a lot of healing to do with my emotions, but I learned that I have the will to fight inside myself. And it took something really shitty to remind myself that I have it. But I still do have it.
With each run on the treadmill I take or with each barbell I lift, I have to remember that I can fight and do better. Maybe only one mile at a time. Maybe only one weight at a time. And maybe there will be a few mental or physical setbacks along the way.
But deep inside there is that little voice I have to find and hear it say "I can't and I won't give up on myself."