I met Mollie last summer.

As I recall, Elizabeth Wurtzel had written another trolly article about motherhood for the Atlantic. I don’t remember the gist of the article, and like hell am I going to give her another page hit, but for a couple of days, the woman blew up the internet. Perfect timing. It was before the Olympics, the conventions hadn’t happened yet, and the news cycle was slow, so why not revisit the mommy wars? It was easy to imagine Ms. Wurtzel kicking back in front of her Google Alerts with a cocktail in hand, singing, “NAILED IT!”

For a few days, my little parenting message board was a tempest of indignant, self-righteous outrage. Posts were pounded out by very earnest, very lovely mothers and fathers who felt judged, nay, shamed by a professional troll for their life choices. In the eye of the storm was Mollie. She was laughing at the self-aggrandizing essay Wurtzel had written instead of rending her garments in agony for being what? A bad feminist? A tool of the patriarchy? Fuck that. There was a Prozac Nation/failed bar exam joke in there somewhere. I knew this chick was on my wavelength.

We became Twitter friends, and after several weeks, I noticed that almost every day, she’d post a link to her workout on I was intrigued. I was also super heavy, at the very rock bottom of my postpartum depression and ready to try anything to fix my brain and my body. I asked for advice. Mollie suggested deadlifts. Go heavy. Do a few reps. See how you feel. And also, log it on Fito, because arbitrary internet points are addictive.

Six months later, and I’ve got a new oly bar sitting in my living room.

But it’s not just me. Mollie’s turned dozens of women onto the benefits and joys of fitness. She has been there in spirit for every heavy lift, every personal record, every setback and every rebound. She cheers on friends running marathons and friends who are just starting bodyweight lifts to see what it’s all about. She organized a massive online raffle to motivate people to move in April.

This is why I’m making her the first recipient of my Strong Like Bear award. She gets nothing but my eternal gratitude and the occasional gem from my yarn stash. So yeah, Mollie. You kept me going. Here’s my giant thank you, baby.