Sheehan was modified from "O'Sheehan" when my family came to this country from Ireland. There are many Irish jokes that are popular because they're mostly true for most Irish people. One of these stereo-typical traits is alcoholism. We all know I inherited that one.  Another is we fight. The "Fighting Irish." About all kinds of things. Anything. We are victims. Guilty at birth, we get Holy water spilled on us and booze poured down our throats. Then we fight.

In a family of five, I was the third and only female child that came along 9 and 6 years after my brothers. They were a generation ahead so when I played it was with my male cousins that lived in very close proximity and were each a year older and younger. Four boys and one girl. One, very tiny girl that was ready to fight. That I did. Fought and lost, miserably time and time again.

My parents were buying us a nice new T.V. a big one that had to be pulled out of the back in the store. While we were waiting where other people were waiting for their items to be brought up there was a young woman standing there with us. This was 1982 so imagine this; headband, a mid-drift sweatshirt with cut off sleeves, tiny little shorts, Wigwam socks, and sneakers.  Sticking out of this FABULOUS outfit were arms and legs that didn't match the pretty face. "Girls don't have muscles," I thought to myself.  I must have looked that poor girl up and down like I was using a microscope. "She's got muscles on her belly!" Then I thought, "she could beat up my brothers!!" That was the cosmic force that at 9 years of age, knocked me off my feet.

When I knew the coast was 100% clear, I would scope out the home gym my parents had set up for my brothers in the basement that also continued into the garage. There were copper colored plastic heavy round objects that made noise when I shook them.  I noticed the holes in the middle (as some of the sand inside sprinkled out). "Ok, these must go on those bars." What happened was so unexpected. The weight was too heavy. I backed down. It was too light I went heavier. Instinctively, I began to train. It was hard. It made me sweat. If every single thing I touched wasn't back in place, I was going to get my ass beat. I was going to get my ass beat anyway but that would be a BIG ass beating. My first love affair had begun.  

It was a secret love affair. I would pop my head in and watch my brothers till they kicked me out. To learn how to do things correctly. Now and then, they'd catch me. I'd take the beating. As I got stronger, it didn't hurt as much. When it did hurt, I could channel it away, like I did when I trained. I learned to push through it. Training, I had to because I wanted another rep, right? Well, I can do it during a beating too. 

None of my friends had much of an interest in training with me. Mostly because they had no interest in pissing off my brothers. But my best friend's older sister joined a gym. So, she stole her sister’s ID and we went. It was the same gym I went to in the nursery when I was only 5 years old. The only real gym in the area at the time. I got my own membership. She continued using her sister’s ID. She and I would hitch, walk or bug my Dad for rides there. There are tons of really great stories about that gym. My membership at that gym lasted from the age of 12 to 39. I was one of the very last members to leave as it closed its doors forever. Where my second marriage began and ended. We even had our wedding pictures taken in the gym. 

Of course, I couldn’t beat up either of my brothers. They were both older, bigger and stronger than me. They're still older and bigger. It took many years. A lifetime, but I am stronger now. In more ways than one because I no longer drink. I also no longer fight. But thanks to the Lord Almighty, I still lift.