The weights stare at me from the corner of the living room. They have been sitting there for a while wanting to be used but neglected by my sister. Their counterparts, the Tony Little video tapes, are not very far away. They’re sitting on the TV’s consol. Waiting to be ripped open, but instead, they’re collecting a pile of dust.

My sister’s boyfriend, Robert, thought these were very thoughtful gifts. He spent all of his free time body building and managing his nutrition and hoped that these items would spark my sister’s interest into this healthy lifestyle, as well. Instead they just sat there for weeks. I stared at them, though. They were intriguing to me. My seven year old self was curious about them, and how they felt.

Being a beast at a young age, I started dabbling with these small weights. Ever since I was that young person, I knew my potential to lift heavy items and enjoyed every minute of it. Robert showed me that health wasn’t being skinny. This hulking man showed me that it was being strong and healthy.

My sister told me that Robert passed away a few years ago. I often think about him and his influence on my health journey. I wonder if he realized how much he and his habits have influenced me as an adult. He probably didn’t even know, but I thank my lucky stars for his relationship with my sister and me. It helped shape the way I am today.