Strength. Beauty. Powerlifting.
I turned around to hear this sound.
Truth be told, I thought she’d placed an F before the UUUUU.
It was loud.
And it startled me.
She was 14. There was no F.
She was not petite. She was not dainty. She was strong. And there was this sparkle in her eyes that seemed to say, “I’ve got this”
And she did.
There was me.
I peeked my head out from behind the curtain, every bit as nervous as any Miss America stage, wondering if it was time. If the judges were ready.
You have one minute to complete your lift from the time your name is called and I was unsure.
Was the bar loaded?
Was I ready?
As my friend Niki said, I don’t really remember saying yes to this.
I mean I remember talking everyone else into this—just not myself.
A flash of my parents crossed my mind. Good grief. I don’t think I told my parents. How do you forget to tell your parents.
What in the actual hale.
Coulter videotaped my squat. I giggled as I watched. You can take the girl out of pageants, but Lord-a-Mercy, you cannot take the pageant out of the girl.
I walked out on that platform as if getting ready to play a Chopin Waltz for my talent. I think I expected applause.
It was quiet.
I have never before walked onto a stage without applause.
This was unsettling.
Didn’t they see my cute pink belt?
Why was no-one clapping.
I glided up to that squat rack. Well, not glided.
More like prissed.
Which I don’t think is a word. But I did. Somehow I looked very prissy.
It wasn’t my finest moment.
Maybe I’ll post it.
My first attempt was good. Three white lights.
My second attempt was good. Three white lights.
My third attempt was no good. Two red lights and One white.
As I was coming up from the lift, coming up from the squat, the spotter on the left said to me, “Nice grind.”
He was impressed.
Y’all. This is when I knew, this was not the Miss America stage. There are no chopin waltzes on this platform and these judges are not impressed that my belt, shirt and socks all match.
Matching was thanks to my friend Nancy, who, for the record, lifted crazy amounts of weight wearing red lipstick.
She knows the important things.
She always has on lipstick and if I’m going anywhere important, rather, anywhere that I want to look prettier than the previous Mrs. Pruss, she reminds me to put on my lipstick.
But when I heard him say, “Nice Grind”, y’all! I wasn’t horrified.
Which was a little horrifying.
Who tells a 45-year-old-woman “Nice Grind?!”
Grinding is not ladylike. Grinding is not sweet. Southern Belles turned Midwest mommas do.
Because I can do hard things.
And match pretty in pink while doing it.
Behind the curtain there were large television screens.
My name comes up first each time.
Because I’m awesome like that.
I’m not awesome like that.
I was lifting the least amount of weight. That’s who starts first.
There are so many rules. You have to wear socks. Your socks can’t go above your knees. You have to wear a crew neck t-shirt and it can’t be drifit or compression or slick in anyway.
However, if you’d like to take off your shirt before deadlifting. No problem.
What the what?
Also. You can’t move your feet after they say squat. After they say squat you can only squat.
You have to wear a singlet. Which is the grown-up onesie.
These are not the kind currently for sale at Victoria Secret.
Jesus, forgive us.
Your hands can’t go beyond this little silver ring on the bench press bar. And you’re heels can’t come off the floor. Even a tiny portion.
You have to give your weights in kilograms. Since I went to fake medical school, you’d think I’d be good at converting pounds to kilograms but surprisingly, I’m not.
I gave them my opening bench number.
Later I see my name way far down on the list. I should be first. Why am I so far down on the list.
That’s when I see it. 65 kilograms.
You do the math. And even if you know nothing about strength training you can figure out pretty quickly that anyone who plans to bench press 65 pounds can no where in the history of the world bench press 65 kilograms.
I had 3 minutes to change my number.
That’s the rule.
You have to lock your knees and present your shoulders and y’all.
With the rules.
But here’s the thing.
I love the rules.
The rules are freeing.
There are weight categories. And age categories and open and raw and I have like no idea in all of this sweet world, what all they mean or what they’re all for but I like them.
I like knowing what I have to do to get a white light.
I wish there were white lights in parenting.
Ya know, like when you nail it, Jesus just flashes three white lights in the corner! Way to go! Good parenting moment!
That would not at all be weird or creepy.
I love lights. I need lights.
Side note: The lights need to match. Like a theme….all white or all colored or all twinkle or something, but not all of everything.
Not all of the things.
Not all of the lights.
For the love.
Later we won trophies. And once again I felt like a princess. I love trophies.
I love winning.
I love seeing my girls winning with trophies.
They are gold and shiny and big.
I may have been obnoxious in my celebrations. Possibly.
I’m not sure.
I remember a very quiet auditorium and a very loud “Woo Hoo!”
I may have been happy about winning.
I won second place in my very first powerlifting competition. Let’s forget—for just one moment—that there were only two of us in my weight category and focus on the trophy.
My sisters and I.
We did hard things.
We went 500 flippin’ miles, and many tight singlets, beyond our comfort zone.
We left with shiny hardware.
(Granted, it’s not the Miss America crown and granted, I can’t wear it on my head.
Maybe. I suppose. If I…
I’ve already ordered pink knee sleeves for the April meet. I think that will help complete my ensemble.
No big life lessons today y’all. It’s Wednesday. Feels like Monday. Emma Claire woke up sick, Coulter forgot his math homework. I helicoptered and took it to school because yes, that’s what moms do. My husband’s out of town and I stared at the celling fan from 1 a.m util 4 wondering why people cheat and leave and lie. I wondered weird things. And thought about hard things.
It’s Wednesday and it feels like Monday and it’s so peoplely out there and the hats that I wear, the mom and the wife and the trainer and the coach and the writer and the daughter and the stepmother and the boss, well the hats have fallen off.
They are in a heaping pile on the floor. I can’t remember which one to pick up.
So today I thought I’d write about winning.
And figuring out a way to wear my trophy on my head.
Like a crown.
It’s prettier than a hat, anyway.