Walk into any boxing gym and there are certain sounds that linger in the air: the thump and thwack of the heavy bag… the smacking of the glove against the trainer’s mitts… the pitter-patter of the speed bag hitting against a wooden board… then there’s the bell, a digitized bing-bing that tells the fighter they can let their guard down.
These are the sounds, the rhythms I follow during my two to three hours of training each day. They’ve become mundane, almost non-existent as I work out. And although the sounds never leave, I have started the process all over again, entering into the newness of being a fighter for one last time in the 2013 New York Golden Gloves.
But the fight is hard. Sometimes it’s complicated, sometimes it causes pain, sometimes we are met with an outcome we did not expect. For us with a mental illness like borderline personality disorder, sometimes our fight is spent just surviving — day to day, hour to hour.
I’ve lived that life but never understood it’s meaning until now: what seems to be the fight of our lives is actually recovery-in-progress. Recovery is in-and-of-itself life’s work. Striving and struggling is just as noble of a pursuit as any other, for within this journey lies the seeds of our life’s quest. I don’t know why boxing chose me, but I have found a big part of my life’s work here, in the middle of a ring, telling a story of struggle, of overcoming fear, of a life we did not expect for ourselves. These are my seeds. Who knows where they will fall.
We start where we are. I begin again, sounds anew, and as the bell rings for the next round, I’ll be ready to listen to the story it has to tell me.