American Ninja Warrior

Tuesday, 13 October 2020

For the first time in my life, I have this amazing opportunity to learn who I am and what makes me happy. For the first time in my life, I’m free. I’m free to explore all the world has to offer. Oh my goodness, I’ve been doing just that. This pursuit of freedom I’ve been on has been so amazing. I’ve discovered so many wonderful things about myself and the world around me.

As I was swiping around Tinder, I was looking for men who spark some sort of inspiration. I swiped right on a man I’m going to call American Ninja Warrior. During one of our first conversations, he said he wants to be on American Ninja Warrior and wants a partner who will do it with him. I laughed and told him I will never be her. I don’t run. I have a weak ankle, and the last time I ran, I sprained it pretty horribly half a mile into the woods. It was not a fun hobble to get back to the parking lot.

Then he said he could let that go. I’ve thought about that for some time now. We all do it. We all willingly give up pieces of who we are so we aren’t alone. We aren’t creatures meant to be alone. I decided that I wouldn’t be giving up any pieces of myself for anyone. I also would not allow anyone else to give up pieces of who they are for me either. After all, I have tried that and failed miserably.

American Ninja Warrior asked me if I go to the gym. I told him I do not. He said he could trade running for the gym. I really didn’t have an excuse not to go to the gym. I’m free to do what I want. I told him I would join the gym the following week, and I did. To date, I’ve been every day except Sundays because the gym doesn’t have childcare on Sundays.

I asked myself if I was doing it for this man I had never met and only exchanged a few text messages with or for myself. Going to the gym and changing myself because a man wants me to isn’t something I’m interested in doing. The answer was no. I weighed the pros and cons and there were not any cons. I mean, the gym has childcare, which would give me a much-needed break from the kids! So I went to the gym.

Once I got to the gym, I started thinking about goals. I’ve learned that I’m stronger than I ever thought I was. American Ninja Warrior and I don’t text much. I do text him almost every day and tell him that I did it; I made it through another workout. He cheers me on. Somedays he’s the only cheerleader I have. It helps me to focus on my goals.

I’ve been putting a lot of thought into goals. I go to the gym 6 days a week for serotonin. The serotonin keeps the depression and anxiety at bay. It helps me to be a better mother and to keep the chaos inside my head from manifesting itself on the outside as dirty kids and a messy house. I also want, no I need, to be strong enough to defend myself from my abuser when the restraining order expires in March 2021. I’m well on my way.

After a week of walking on the treadmill, I decided that I needed to really get my body moving, so I started to run. I use the word “run” loosely because I’m pretty slow. But after a week of running, I noticed that my body feels even better. The first day I made it a whole mile, I excitedly texted American Ninja Warrior before I was even off the treadmill to let him know I made it a whole mile, and how long it took. I’ve since been texting him every time I take time off of that mile. I’m glad he showed up in my life, even if he only cheers me on from across town.

We met last week after weeks of texting. He came over one night. We sat on the porch and talked for a while. Then we went inside and sat on the couch. When I sat down on the couch, he sat at the opposite end of it. I remember thinking, “This is nice, I feel respected right now.” We talked for a while about our terrible marriages. We had already talked about how we were healing from those marriages, so the conversation was comfortable. I shared with him that when I woke up that morning, I came to the realization that I’m an alcoholic and started AA. He didn’t judge me and was just as supportive as I expected him to be.

After talking on the couch, we went back to the porch for a sandwich and more chatting. The conversation flowed pretty smoothly. Before we knew it, it was getting late. It wasn’t super late, but late enough for responsible adults to need to get ready for sleeping. When he left, I couldn’t help but think how nice it was to have a man respect me enough to give me space, choose his words wisely, and leave at a respectable hour. That isn’t something I’ve experienced in past relationships.

We had some plans to hang out again a few days later, but parenting happened. He asked me not to hate him. I understand that our kids come first. How could I be upset with another single parent for having to parent? There will be a time when I also have to cancel plans for parenting. He told me that he’s nervous about saying or doing the wrong things and screwing things up. I thought that was really cute and also brave of him to share those feelings. I shared with him some advice that I gleaned from TikTok; don’t worry about if they like you, but instead, worry about if you like them.

I’ll forever be so grateful for the inspiration I gained from American Ninja Warrior. When I went to the gym, I found a happy place; a healthy place. I found confidence in myself. The most important thing I’ve learned is how to motivate myself and push myself to do things I didn’t think were possible. Somehow, I’ve injured my bad ankle, but I keep going to the gym anyway. I keep pushing myself just because I can. It feels good.

Another, second most important thing I’ve learned from American Ninja Warrior is that men are not typically going around hurting and disrespecting women. There are good men out there. They are doing what I’m doing right now. I am working on myself, and they are also working on themselves. I’ve learned that before being capable of loving and caring for another person in a way that is healthy, we each have to love and care for ourselves first. And that is on self-love and self-care.

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