You’ve also coincidentally walked into your safe place. The Box is your community. Your family. Your friend group. It is where you go to feel powerful. It is where you go to escape. It is one of your most tightly held places of sanctuary that gets the added bonus of containing heavy shit you get to lift up on the regular.
HOW DO WE RECONCILE THESE TWO PLACES?
What piece do we protect or value above all others? Because we have options here. We can place the need to find a partner first. We can fiercely protect our place of non-drama. Or we can say F it and surrender to endorphins and to pheromones and to minimal amounts of clothing and see what happens on the other side. Because good things invariably happen on the other side of that one…
I tend to fall on either side of that metaphorical sandwich, and it hasn’t ended well. Ever. That safe space: dead to me. Awkwardness and hurt abounds. I load up my bar with 45s and a hefty amount of rejection. Rejection is heavy. Throw thrusters on top of it and it’s down right unbearable. It will change that space into one that makes you feel small. It takes the life out it.
BUT WHAT IF IT DOES WORK?
Because that’s the other piece of this, the piece where you actually connect with another curiously fit human and it works out in real life does in fact happen. A lot. But, functioning relationships change the space of the Box too. They add a whole other layer to it and to them. It’s a place where people get to see their partner become alive.
They get to see them as powerful, autonomous humans (possibly the sexiest and one of the most important pieces in the creation of desire). They get to see them succeed.They get to see them fail. They get a safe and clear space to see that their partner isn’t infallible, a myth that absolutely needs to be kicked in the face in order to succeed in a relationship. And they get this unique and contained insight into how their partner handles discomfort and struggle.
One of my own qualifications towards calling me “girlfriend” is that I need to see said suitor workout. Not because I’m mean and judgey (although true fact: nothing makes me want to sleep with someone less than ugly rowing technique. Eight years of competitive rowing will do that to a woman…), but rather because the gym offers this gorgeous, little case study on how one reacts when things get hard. What is your threshold for discomfort? How do you respond to a challenge? These aren’t questions confined to the gym. These are questions that are absolutely imperative in a couples’ ability to connect in a world that is in fact hard and messy and beautiful on such a different scale than a 15 min AMRAP.
The box reveals one’s threshold for all of those things that challenge us in real life and within a relationship. Can you celebrate your partner’s strength or do they threaten you? Can you show up for them and recognize when they need that extra piece of encouragement and when they need you to step back and let them figure this one out themselves? And can you in this perfectly modified metaphor realize that you can both be moving towards the same goal but get there in completely different ways?
These are questions that don’t need to be answered seamlessly in the beginning of a relationship. But they are ones that must be honored and practiced in order to facilitate connection. And the Box pretty much hands these lessons to you gift-wrapped in a nifty fitness inducing package. I’m calling that a decidedly win-win scenario of deep understanding and sweet traps.
But we still haven’t answered the question: do you or don’t you? Are you missing out on something huge and important by not dating a fellow CrossFitter or should marital status and stalk worthy social media handles be added to every gym’s waiver?
THE THREE THINGS TO CONSIDER BEFORE BOX CO-MINGLING
#1. DON’T JUST HOOK UP AT THE GYM
#2. OTHER BOXES = IDEAL
#3. WHAT PARTS OF YOURSELF DO YOU WANT TO OUTSOURCE?
I leave you simply with two final pieces of advise:
Follow your heart.
And don’t be an idiot.
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This is a guest post from Maddie Berky. Maddie has been a coach and athlete in the CF community for the last 5 years at CF Verve in Denver, Co, and was a regionals athlete in 2014. She’s currently a holistic nutritionist and life coach specializing in all things food, sex, and worthiness.