LA Boxing Post #3: Finding Your Fight

notice my rad purple bike with banana seat? oh yeah.... My father has countless stories that all follow a similar framework: there was s...

notice my rad purple bike with banana seat? oh yeah....
My father has countless stories that all follow a similar framework:
  • there was something I wanted to do;
  • Dad/mom offered their opinion/guidance;
  • I did it my own way; and
  • Even if I fell or made a few mistakes, I got right back up.
In other words, I had chutzpah and lots of of it.  

Many children are born with a natural fearlessness and confidence that lets them think anything is possible and no harm will come to them.  These children are found in trees, with scraped up knees, dreaming of being the someone rich or important, or both.  You can teach a child to be self-assured and to explore the world, but nothing can ever surpass the innate wild nature and instincts of a child.  However, people and life can damage it. 

Shown the fragility and seriousness of life (as it sometimes is, and as it is sometimes made out to be), babies become children that slowly become teenagers and then adults.  We lose the joy of living in the moment, often too taken with the fear of what is to come in the next.  This is a most lamentable loss, and yet "growing up" is seen as an honor and privilege.

My father asked me once where my chuzpah had gone, saying "You used to be so fearless."  He recognized what I too had seen -- that fear and doubt had crept into my life.  The little girl who had climbed to the top of a Coast Guard cutter became a girl paralyzed with fear.  While on a class trip in middle school, I crawled up (while others hiked) the side of an icy waterfall, crying, saying "I'm going to die" over and over again.

Knock on wood, I've never had to have a serious surgery.  I've never had to stay overnight in a hospital (except for when I was born).  I've never broken a bone.  But suffice it to say, injuring my back scared the shit out of me.  The first surgeon I went to wanted me to have a 4-level spinal fusion right away.  But something in my gut told me to get a second opinion.  The spinal microsurgeon I talked to next told me "the minute I cut into your back, I will cause damage to your muscles, fuse your spine, limit your motion, and that's not counting all the rehab it will take to get you functional.  My best advice is to use it until you lose it."

At first this scared the crap out of me -- that there would be a day when I'd "lose it."  There was a bit of sadness of all the things I might never get to do.  The doctors didn't want me running, doing anything with torque, or added weight.  But then I became angry because all the things I thought I'd never get a chance to do were things I had never done in the first place.  I mourned a life I wasn't living fully.  Why wasn't I living this full life?  Fear.  Doubt.

It took me a long time to snap out of it -- but there was a basic moment of realization and perspective that did it.  I realized that most of life represents itself in a series of binary choices (that we tend to complicate by overthinking).   For example, if you were to ask yourself "Do I want to be governed by fear, doubt, and insecurity?" the answer is either "yes" or "no" ("maybe" being the overthinker/equivocator's answer). 

For me, my answer was a resounding "no." 
I wanted to go down swinging.

The title of this post is "Finding Your Fight."   I don't mean this in terms of picking your battles, but I mean finding the courage to confront your life and make (sometimes tough) choices, to find your voice, to find your commitment to yourself.   It is finding your inner fire and stoking the flames.

While I have always had lots of bravado, I have now moved into a part of my life where there is sincere confidence in myself.  I know just how strong I am.  I know just who I am.  I (usually) know exactly what I want. 

During my fitness assessment with Pat H., he asked why I started the weight loss journey.  He asked if it was because I found my self-esteem.  I replied that it was because I had found my fight.  I had found my will to fight my obesity, my insecurity, and even my back injury.  One by one and with each fight, I've proven to myself that nothing has the power to define me except for myself. 

I am not my obesity. 
I am not my insecurity.
I am not my back injury. 

When I realized this, I felt the grip of those things loosen their hold on me.

This is why I say "Sweat is fear leaving the body." 

I have become fearless. 
I have earned my freedom.

There is something I want to do.  I will do it my own way (wisely accepting support and guidance).  
Even if I fall or make a few mistakes, I will get right back up.
This is what it means to find your fight.  Chutzpah.
 


On Tuesday, my trainer Pat H. asked me to take Wednesday off completely from running because we would be focusing on my lower body today (Thursday).  I wanted so much to run yesterday.  I felt strong and fast, but I also needed the physical release of hard work.  However, I needed trust that Pat H. was telling me this for my own good.
 
Today, Pat H. had me doing walking lunges and some other lower body exercises.  They were not easy for me to do.  I had to take my time to find/correct my balance.  I had to ask to break down an exercise in a way that wouldn't strain my lower back (more sets of 5 versus sets of 15, using a foam roller to support my lower back).  While I'm not afraid anymore, I'm not reckless either.  I know the limits of my body.  I know how to manage my injury. 
 
Training at LA Boxing is the epitome of me finding my fight -- it's outside my comfort zone, it's physically demanding, and it's a new way of testing the dedication I have to myself and my journey.
 
My dad tried to make a joke and said "I hope you're not thinking of me when you punch the bag."  I had to break it to him that anytime I'm at the gym, I'm thinking about myself, what I am doing, and where it will bring me. 
 
The more I find my fight, the more devotion I find I have for myself.
The love I have found for myself is both vast and bountiful.

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4 comments

  1. I love it. My little motto - Pain is fear leaving the body. I gotta come watch you work at some point!

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  2. Thank you for your post! Having some medical issues myself, I understand the "fear" factor, but the need and desire to overcome. My mantra is "adapt, improvise, overcome".

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  3. Joshua -- i'm pretty sure pain is pain. Sore is one thing, but actual pain can be problematic.

    Angela -- great attitude there!

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  4. A beautiful post. I still let fear and doubt get the best of me, but your words are inspiring. Thank you.

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<3 Robby