Few weeks ago, I became one of the admins for one of the largest online obstacle racing communities, Chicked Nation.
As part of that role, I will be launching a weekly advice column #DearSolo. Think Dear Abby, but SO MUCH COOLER. So, if you have a question about obstacle racing – hit me up. Send me an email, use Contact Me form on this website, tag me on Facebook or Twitter, just remember to use hashtag #DearSolo.
Meanwhile, here’s my first shot at being an advice columnist. [Ah, I've always wanted to have my own advice column, and now my dream is coming TRUE!!! ;)]
Chicked Nation asks:
#DearSolo, How do you deal with women who are your friends and support you in everything but your racing?
Ha. I almost said “that’s a great question”.
One of the most common sentiments expressed in online racing communities, whether that’s Chicked Nation, Goruck Tough, or Spartan group pages is “You guys get it!”. Your best bud from high school may not appreciate how cool it is that you finally snatched 100 pounds, or ran your first marathon, or completed a Spartan Trifecta.
My female friends can be loosely categorized as those who lift/race/compete, and those who do not. With those friends who are already “in the sport” or who have a sport of their own, things are obviously easier. They get it.
However, most of my friends who do not lift/race/compete, still support my racing. After all, it’s hard to support ME without supporting my racing.
I notice that I do not usually talk about racing to those friends – not because they do not support it, but because this is not something they are interested in. Similarly, they do not talk to me about parenting, or golf. Instead, we talk about other things that we have in common.
Perhaps, a better question is – who are the people in my life who do not support my racing? Why do they not support my racing? Are they concerned about my safety? Do they resent the fun adventures that I seem to have weekly, while they feel stuck in a rut?
For example, my mom has never been a big fan of my racing. According to her, it’s unbecoming to a woman to constantly be covered in bruises and scratches. She laments my callused palms, because they are not “ladylike”. Over the years, I have reassured her repeatedly that I do not want to die during one of these races, and will do my best to continue racing in a manner that leaves me happy and healthy (even if that means scratched up and covered in mud).
Finally, the last question, and, perhaps, the most difficult… if there are friends in my life who do not support me doing the things I love, are they really friends?
One of the hardest side effects of finding a passion, or changing paths is the fact that your social circle changes. Humans are social creatures, and we like to surround ourselves with the people who share our interests and passions, and who have our back no matter what. And with some friends, you just… grow apart.
Y’all depressed yet?
The bright side, of course, is that when one door closes, the other opens. As we change and grow, not only we grow apart from some people in our former social network, but we also grow towards many others – some similar to us, some different from us – all so deliciously imperfect.