In March, we’re bringing to you letters written by women to women they love, miss, cherish or just remember. To celebrate the support women continue to show each other, this is #ToHER.

From: The woman who lost weight and gained a friend

To: Lydia, the best gym buddy ever 

Dear Lydia,

The moment I saw this story, I knew I wanted to write a letter to you, the woman who became the big sis I never had.

In 2021, I registered at the gym because I hated my body and wanted to change it. Little did I know I’d gain a friend for a lifetime. I came to the gym to burn calories from eating puff-puff, but I ended up with a partner in crime. 

Two months in and I met you, Lydia. The first time I saw you, our trainer, Ukeme, was trying to get you to do burpees, but you looked like you were dancing. From Ukeme’s face, I expected he’d walk away the next minute. I was laughing hard on the inside.  You reminded me of my first day with Ukeme. Before I knew it, he asked you to work out with me. In between each soul-sucking set, you’d make funny jokes about Ukeme and it made me laugh. It was the first time I laughed through Ukeme’s exercise routines. That’s how we became Ukeme’s troublesome clients. 

From the first day, we were inseparable. We spent the next year getting closer. I’d keep a Yoga mat beside me while working out, and everyone knew it was for you. We’d gist as we worked out and talk about the struggles of sticking to our diets. It felt good knowing I wasn’t the only one haunted by puff-puff. Whenever I wasn’t at the gym, you’d call to find out why you’d look for me and if you weren’t at the gym, everyone asked me about you. 

I had other amazing gym friends, but my relationship with you was different. You were my first older friend at the gym — a whole 13 years older. Before you, I had so much anxiety about talking to older people. They were always serious. Not being able to crack a joke without overthinking made me nervous. You, on the other hand, were relatable. It’s so funny how we were so in sync that if something happened at the gym, we would look at each other at the same time and laugh. You became the big sister I never had.

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Remember how you’d call me your baby? I really enjoyed the big sis flex from you. Sometimes they were as huge as getting me my first Apple watch. Other times, they were as little as giving me money for my first piercing. Let’s not forget the puff-puff you’d buy for me after Ukeme’s drills. You made the gym feel like a home away from home. 

The best part of our friendship was experiencing it outside the gym. Your birthday shoot in October 2021 is my favourite memory of us. We’d been friends for eight months, and it was one of our last hangouts together. The hardest part was knowing it would all end in January 2022.

One of the things we talked about was your japa plans. Nigeria is the ghetto, and you wanted something better for yourself and your kids. I understood. Understanding didn’t keep me from tearing up like a baby though. Is it selfish to say I wanted more than one year with you? Well, my tears the night before your departure must have said it all. I didn’t want to do the gym solo.

Lydia, I miss you so much. No one makes me laugh as hard while Ukeme tries to kill us. Thank you for being the best gym buddy, friend and big sis all wrapped in one. No matter what happens, no matter where we both live, you will always be my friend.  

This letter made me realise that I need to call you. Running to do that now. 

Till we meet again, 


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