If I Never Talk to Them, They Will Never Know Me

Before I start, I would like to take a moment to thank Forrest Bourke for this awesome photo. You can see more of his work as well as support him on Instagram here: @forrest.bourke. His photography is extra special because he shoots on film and develops it himself. After reading this article, shoot on over and check out his work. Thanks Forrest! Okay, story time!

Let me tell you a story.

Tuesday night, last week to be exact, I was pumping some iron. Now, I don’t mean out of the ground like an oil tycoon, but rather pushing up some weights at the local gym. I was working on, you know, getting swole. In my experience any dedication takes a certain level of concentration to achieve maximum effort, and something that just so happen to pride myself on is staying laser-focused while working out.

In life, distractions are everywhere, snagging at your attention and stealing your productivity. If you give your thoughts but a fraction of your mental space, they will easily take you on a world-wind of possibilities and false realities. Well, at least, that is what it is like for me.

This night I was extra productive. I hit a new PR in my decline bench press, and, if the universe was willing, I was about to set another PR in strict press. I was feeling stronger, centered, and ready to achieve some personal growth. That was the plan, and then she walked in.

My first thought was, “Holy mother of god-damn pearl! They make women this beautiful!”

I was honestly shell shocked, dumbfounded, and I am pretty sure my IQ dropped by 50 points. Blonde, tall, athletically inclined, and stunning, she was the type of women that people would draw or write about in books. And, I guess, the type of woman I might write about in a blog.

I wanted so desperately to say hello, to talk to her, to get to know her. But…I was at the gym. Social Rule No. 1 at the Gym: don’t disrupt people’s workouts. You see the gym is a place of worship where the weights are the gods and the racks are pews at which people squat to pray to the gain gods.

I was in conflict. On one side I wanted to talk to her, and, on the other, I wanted to respect her time. I decided to opt for the later. Plus, she probably has a bunch of dudes that hit on her on the regular, and I didn’t want to be just another dude throwing his lot into the bag. I wanted to be cool, whatever that means.

I put my attention towards my workout. Well, I tried to put my attention towards my workout, but I was so…incredibly…distracted. I kept feeling an urge to look around the room, to find her, and go up and say hi. But, I had already made up my mind, and I told myself, “Austin, get back to your workout.”

The rest of my workout, needless to say, was shit. After my “workout”, I went to the fitness room and began working on my dance practice. Bit of context, I dance, like a lot. Dance has been a dedication as well as a passion of mine for a very long time. Plus I was getting ready for a competition in Portland, Oregon that goes down end of February. I was on crunch time to get the last of my invisible work in before I hit the comp floors. But, once again, my mind wandered away from my triple steps, and I felt a pull to go talk to the woman.

My mind became a political debate

You know, the type that of debate where nothing really gets solved but a lot of time is spent presenting the one side without listening to the other side.

ME: “I should say hi.”

ME: “You should get back to working on your dance. You love to dance.”

ME: “What if I just happened to run into her…”

ME: “It’s the gym. Respect her time.”

ME: “But…”

The debate went on for about an hour. Not going to lie. I was in an epic battle of will. The result was no different than any war fought: no victors, only deaths, and, in my case, a lack-luster workout followed by a pitiful attempt at working on my dancing.

During my drive home, I pulled out my phone, started my audio recording app, and began processing what had occurred over the last few hours. Somewhere in the garble something clear came out:

“If I never talk to her, she will never know me.”

Shit. It was so true and rung deep within. I repeated it over and over about 10 more times to really make it sink in. I realized I had made the wrong call. It was the same type of call I had made a various points in my life when I saw an opportunity and I let my fear take over, fear that was usually disguised behind some crazy, non-logical notion that feels incredibly believable.

It was okay to talk to her. It would be okay to say hello and introduce myself. What would not be okay would be to hold her up or hold her conversation hostage. As long as I was respectful, I could meet her.

For those of you who know my work, you know I work really hard to inspire those around me to take action in their life. If I am going to talk the talk, I have to walk the walk. So, I made a promise to myself: The next time I see her at the gym, I would go up to her and say hello.

The very next day, guess who walked in…fuck…

I was, once again, mid workout, and in walks the same drop dead gorgeous woman I had seen the other day. The mysterious blonde lady. I felt as if the universe was laughing at me, or that I was part of some rom-com movie where I was about to make a huge fool of myself. I finished my set, cleaned off the bench, said my last prayers in silence, and walked directly towards her.

My heart, unbearably loud. Can anyone else hear that? My mind, emptied more and more with each step. Would I know what to say? What are words? Any semblance of a plan, yeah that disappeared pretty damn quickly. Oh no, I am just going to stand in front of her like an imbecile… And in what seemed both a moment and half a century, I was in front of her. And, this is what happened…

AUSTIN: (Waving to get the woman’s attention.) “Hi.”

WOMAN: “Hi?”

AUSTIN: “I’m going to interrupt you workout for a moment. I wanted to say that I saw you the other day, and you completely blew my mind. Like, seriously, wow. I had to say hello.”

WOMAN: “Blew your mind?”

AUSTIN: “Yeah. You look incredibly. I was so distracted the other day, and I told myself next time I saw you, I would say hello.”

WOMAN: “Wow. That is such a compliment. Thank you.” (Woman begins to blush.)

AUSTIN: “Yeah, of course.” (Beat) “Well, have a good workout!” (Austin turns around and starts walking away.)

WOMAN: “Wait. What’s your name?”

AUSTIN: “Austin.”

WOMAN: “My name is Sam.”

AUSTIN: “Nice to meet you Sam. I’m going to get back to my workout. Have a good set!”

SAM: “You too Austin!”

(They share a smile, break eye contact, and respectively get back to their workouts.)

Boom! I had done it, and, you know what, it felt so good. I also felt like I had peed my pants. (I checked and I was in the clear.) The rest of my workout undistracted; the rest of that night I felt so free. My workout was amazing. My dance practice was on point.

But, you didn’t get her phone number!

No, I did not. But, as you remember, all I wanted to do was introduce myself, and allow the doors to be open. In my experience the hardest step is the first step, everything after is much easier. If she is interested, she will give me her number. If she is not, that is completely okay with me because I put myself out there. All good things with time.

I am pleased to say the other day I ran into her at the gym and she smiled at me and waved. (Not to worry, I smiled at her and waved back. We shared a micro moment.) So, I will take the introduction and the smile as a win for now, and anything on top of that is simply an unexpected journey to be had.

So often it can feel like going after the things that we want and meeting the people we fancy is unobtainable.

I believe this to be something that is a limiting factor in the mind due to past trauma. I have been pushing hard this year through the impostor syndrome. The question I keep asking myself is why? Why do I think I don’t deserve to go after the things I want in life? Why do I think I do deserve to go after the things I want in life?

My time is valuable. Your time is valuable. And the time we spend connecting with other humans is valuable. It’s hard to make that phone call you’ve been putting off. It’s hard to introduce yourself to a beautiful woman or man for that matter. It’s hard to chase your dream. It’s hard because when you put effort into something you truly want there is the possibility for you to succeed and fail.

And, I don’t know what I fear more: failing or succeeding. Guess I will have to find out. Until next time.

Thanks for reading.

Much love, as always,
Austin

P.S. Dear reader,

I hope that you have enjoyed my thoughts today, and I am incredibly grateful for you reading my stream of consciousness. If you enjoyed your read, please sign up for the newsletter (below on mobile, to the right on desktop). This tells me you enjoyed the work I am putting out there, and it helps me continue to keep Points of Connection going!

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Austin Hunt

Meet the Author:
Austin Hunt

Austin is the lead writer and creator of Points of Connection. He's been studying dating, relationships, and how to build authentic intimacy for over 9 years now. You can find him sipping away at a cup of coffee at a local shop making friends with the stranger next to him.