You feel like the mom who’s not allowed to talk about her kids. Or the guy who’s trying not to draw attention to the farmer’s tan he’s got from picking up litter by the highway with the other parole violators.
Yet you’re not a criminal. You’re not someone with a debt to repay to society. You didn’t do anything wrong. You should be able to talk about your life.
You know the stereotype, the stigma, the social pressure. You’ve seen all the parody videos. CrossFitters who can’t shut up about CrossFit, people who monopolize every conversation with talk about pull-ups and WODs and paleo foods. The others roll their eyes and scoff. You are trying not to be THAT person. But it’s hard. So hard.
You try to talk about other things: weather, work, whatever sport season it is. But, sweet Jesus, it’s all so boring. The women are talking about shopping. You want to slap them all. Hard. Multiple times. Or make them do push-ups outside in the dirt, while they whine about how hard it is. For some reason, this fantasy makes you smile inside.
But you don’t. Instead, you fidget with your hands. Pick at your calluses. You know they already felt your rough palms when you shook hands. You know they suspect. That cookie on your plate isn’t fooling anyone, and you wish you could stop glancing at the time on your phone. How long is long enough to be polite?
You’d rather be back home. It’s close to 8pm and there are eggs to hard boil, and you should roll out your quads. Maybe watch a video or two or 14.
Why did you come here again?
Then someone says it. You hear the C word. There’s a sudden silence, and a few heads turn. Eyebrows are up. Polite company is no longer polite.
You lean in. “Did you say you do CrossFit?”
She smiles. The others roll their eyes. Oh God, you suddenly feel so much better.