Nothing my best friend does surprises me. I know she’s likely to take a good few hours to reply to my messages and I know that post-8pm she’ll be in her pjs ready for bed.
But I also know she’s honest; she gives it to me straight and definitely calls me out if she doesn’t agree with what I’m doing. And she’s strong (both physically and mentally); reminding me almost daily that women are capable of being whatever and doing whatever they bloody like.
With the exception of a very early morning conversation – about 6am to be precise – which informed me she was pregnant, nothing she says or does ever takes me by surprise.
That was until she told me she’d signed herself up to fight in a charity boxing event, which was taking place a mere six and a half months after giving birth. She’d barely been through the most painful thing her body was ever going to experience and she was willing to put herself through what I’d definitely class as the second straight afterwards.
We’d all joked she’d gotten lazy during her pregnancy. She was about to prove us wrong.
She trained long and hard for the eight weeks before her fight. I don’t think I’d ever seen her as nervous, yet as focused and committed to something, ever. Despite having a newborn to look after, she was in the gym almost every day and at gruelling boxing sessions every week – it wasn’t just about getting her pre-baby body back. She wanted to improve her fitness, her strength, her endurance and she wanted to be ready for the ring. She knew everyone was extremely proud of her already, no matter how she did on the night, but she wanted to win and her training showed that.
On the night the odds weren’t quite in her favour, but she was still a winner in my eyes and in the eyes of many others; her husband, her friends and surprisingly even her competitor’s family.
Getting in the ring isn’t for the faint hearted. It’s not like training for a marathon or a weight lifting competition, where your result is solely dependent on you and the hard work you’ve put in. With boxing, there’s a second variable in the equation – your opponent. Their skill, their hard work and their training are variables you can’t do anything about, yet you’ve got to stand opposite them and be ready to take on whatever they throw your way.
In a series of ‘Inspirational Women’ articles, my best friend deserves to be the first to be appreciated. Why? Because you Charlotte Read, are not only an incredible best friend and mother, raising a daughter who’s likely to be as crazy and as head strong as you are, you’ve shown me (and probably a hell of a lot of other people), that you really can do whatever the hell you put your mind towards.