Apparently my preoccupied brain isn’t going to allow me to get any work done until I get my stories down in writing. This post began to take form weeks before the Mudder, months in fact before I planned to even sign up for a Mudder.
Almost exactly a year ago, I joined a little Facebook group (now almost 10K strong) called Single Dad Laughing Health Club. I had followed the Single Dad Laughing blog on and off, so when my friend Diane suggested I might be interested in the SDLHC, I readily checked it out. The short story is that it’s changed my life with its positive, solution-focused approach to getting healthy. More on that another time – time is short today.
One of the things I noticed almost immediately was how respectfully we treated each other as members of the group. It became especially apparent that the founder, Dan Pearce, had endeavored to set up a safe place for men and women to interact without the fear of the group turning into a meat market. In fact, he even wrote a little ditty about that, that has since become legend. Although a couple of men sent me private messages early on, looking to connect, they were very respectful and appropriate when I mentioned that I was in a relationship, and have gone on to become my friends. I have found this venue to be incredibly supportive of male/female friendships – something I’ve struggled with in my life for a variety of reasons.
When I signed up for the Mudder, and began to train, there were some rumblings of gender dissatisfaction, mostly around some of us females feeling the males were being, perhaps totally inadvertently, too hierarchical in their approach. This eventually resolved, however, and by the time it was time to go to Mesa, I was only looking forward to meeting my long-time buddies for the first time. And it was more than I ever imagined.
There is something so fundamentally vulnerable to me about leaning on two men’s shoulders, while stepping up into their hands for the needed boost to the top of the wall, where two other men are reaching for you to bring you to the top. Not to say women couldn’t and didn’t help me that day (the sisterhood of the Mudder is a whole ‘nother post!), but for me, someone who has always had a distant relationship with Dad, and complicated relationships with men…the uncomplicated, loving nature of the relationships both on and off the course was a revelation.
It was easy to trust them. Our fortunes were bound together. We joked on the course about inadvertent “inappropriate touch” – that boost to the butt to get you up to the top for example, but I don’t ever remember feeling compromised or uncomfortable. Now, maybe that’s because I’m 46 and not exactly a sex goddess. But I also didn’t feel diminished in any way, either. I just felt…camaraderie. And it was a beautiful thing. So, here’s to all the men on the course that day – plenty of men helped me out that I’ll never see again, and here’s to these unbelievably wonderful men that I’m so grateful to call my friends.
And to the guys who aren’t pictured here – Rick and Dan, thank you for your tireless work on bringing this team together (it had to have been like herding cats sometimes) as well as all the help out there; Kenny, your quiet presence on the course was a beautiful thing – see you in October; DeWayne, who is a good guy all around and who makes my friend Veronica so happy; Kurt, whose strength of character (and body) on the course was amazing; Mark who barreled through those obstacles, then turned around to see who needed help; and Vanesa’s Brian, who overcame his initial reluctance to do the Mudder and became a fantastic teammate. Oh, and thank you too, to my Dad, who told me before the Mudder, for the first time ever, that I was beautiful.
Thank you to ALL of you. You are good men. ❤