Crying at the Gym…

Erin Schaden
4 min readNov 24, 2023

It was an emotional day yesterday. I got so many calls and texts of love and thanks coming from just about everywhere: my son, girlfriends, guy friends, past loves, acquaintances, people I passed by on the Meadow walk, my daughter and my hike up Cozy Dell trail. There was just so much positivity everywhere.

It got to me.

When I am working out, I need to rest between sets. So I admit, I spend the time resting, on Facebook or Instagram. On work days, I check my email. Kinda takes me away from being present but I feel really weird if I just sit there. I usually work out alone so there is no one to really talk to as most of the people at the gym have headphones on and are not really there to talk to people between sets.

There was a ton of love and thanks online too. And that is what pushed me over the edge…

I don’t even remember what it was that I read but I just started crying. Not outright sobbing, but the tears just started to flow and I was overwhelmed with gratitude and love for my life, for my body, for my mind, for my family, for my friends, for loves past, for acquaintances, for my animals, for my work, for my health. All of it, the magnitude of the life I have just pushed me over the edge.

So there I was on the Smith machine doing incline bench presses and the tears just started to flow…

Oddly, I wasn’t embarrassed. I was just there in acceptance for my life, and the strange fact that I was now crying at the gym. I just let it happen. I didn’t try to get it under control. I didn’t run to the bathroom to hide. And it didn’t even occur to me to leave. Progress, for sure.

There were decades that I didn’t cry. Not because I didn’t feel like crying or because I wasn’t in a great deal of pain, I just couldn’t cry. I needed to but there was some internal mechanism inside me that was stuck in the off position and would not allow me to cry.

It has taken a great deal of inner work to arrive at a place where the tears flow when I need them to, and now apparently, even when I might not want them to. The proverbial tear faucet is now unstuck and I might have a backlog of leaking to do.

And that is ok with me.

I was crying yesterday for several reasons. I was overwhelmed with the life I have in all the best ways. I was crying because I am hurting over the loss of someone and there is nothing I can or want to do to change that, it is just sad, so very, very sad but it is time for me to move on, lest I remain mired in that sadness forever. And that makes me happy and hopeful and engaged in my life in new and exciting ways, open to new possibilities and perhaps a chance to love again…in a bit. I am not ready now and I know that.

I had a lovely day with my daughter and parents. It was fun and we had a great time eating, being outside and just being together. And I was present for all of it.

My daughter and I watched “Love Actually” which is a favorite holiday movie of mine, she had never seen it. And I cried at that too. So many people finding love and taking chances on the most risky thing we do in this life, besides live it, we love it.

And that is why I was crying in the gym yesterday…because I was overwhelmed with the grace I have for loving and living this life. I am present and it is happening all around me. And I am so incredibly thankful for every single heartbreak that got me here, for every friendship that had to end to allow the new people into my life, for all the work related drama that lead me to this new work stuff happening. I am grateful for all of it, not just the happy ending…but the whole fucked up process that got me to the place where I was bench pressing on the Smith machine yesterday and the most natural thing in the world was that tears began to flow because that is how much I was touched by humanity and the progress of my life.

Try it some time…it isn’t quite as good as cryking but it was a very special moment for me. I was able to feel my feelings contemporaneously to actually having them and they didn’t kill me. I am going to call that a win, again, still.

Well, there was yesterday!

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Erin Schaden

Who am I? I am all that I write, all that I learn, share and grow. Read and find out? Check out www.nakedrandomthoughts.com for more.