I have never been a person who was sportive. It’s not like I hated PE in school or didn’t want to be active. We are going hiking with our school? Cool. We are going skiing for a week? Fine. I have never resisted doing sports but it wasn’t something that would cross my mind on its own either.
But after two years of high school, I felt drained. My political activism took a lot of energy away from me and even though I was in the middle of my summer holidays, I already started stressing about my next school year. I realized that I couldn’t go on like this forever – staying in bed, avoiding confrontation and putting myself into the next phase of lethargy. Something needed to change.
I started looking for boxing lessons near me and found a gym who offered classes for women only. That seemed pretty cool and it wasn’t even that far away. I marked the website because I wanted to look into it after my vacation.
August passed and school started again in September. Soon after the first week I remembered that I had bookmarked the website. I have thought about starting boxing for a long time but never got enough courage to actually show up at the gym and get started. I registered myself for a trial lesson and a close friend of mine joined me. Ever since that first class, I have never skipped a day of training unless I really couldn’t go.
I fell in love. It’s hard to describe it, and I guess only people who are really passionate about sports get it, but I have never felt so at peace with myself before, after and during training.
The entire pain that I have carried with me throughout all these years is finally getting of my shoulders. With every punch, I feel more independence. I feel freed. Not completely, not at all, but I’m slowly getting there and that’s more than I would have ever expected at the beginning of this year. You can’t imagine how much anger, depression and sadness I’ve had inside me. My whole life has been a battle so far. I have been constantly surrounded by racism and toxic friendships. I have had a hard time opening up to people and I still do.
That’s one of the reasons why I have always been very loud and aggressive towards others. I beat up boys at school who wouldn’t leave me alone because I didn’t know how to react anymore. I was always yelling and screaming around. I was so unbalanced and thought I was just different than others but never realized that I needed an outlet to release my stress.
Now I have an outlet. It’s weird to say it but I guess I always knew that I was going to end up here. I got my first pair of boxing gloves when I was around 5 or 6 (just for fun, never used them seriously), I watched boxing movies with wide eyes, dreaming about being a fighter. I knew that I was strong, I enjoyed beating up boys – although I knew it was wrong. But I was proud of myself because it showed my strength. It showed my ability to shut others down if needed. Being strong gave me a feeling of security. This feeling decreased because the boys are taller and stronger now than in middle school but with every training, I’m more and more confident that I’m going to be just as strong as they are. It takes time and classes are hard but I know I’ll get there. I need this feeling of strength back – for my own good.
And so I fight against the punching bag which symbolizes everything that destroyed me for so long. It’s a cliché but yes, when I fight, I fight against the world who has constantly let me down all these years. The punching bag, fighting and boxing – it’s a metaphor. This is my chance to get over it all, to overcome the things that made me feel miserable. If I’m a good boxer, I can finally fight what broke me in the first place. Everything I do physically is directly connected to my emotions and feelings. I does get better after all. It’s a long run but I’m so here for it.