Has anyone ever told us how to live our life right?
I still remember my coach’s eyes and they eyes of other people whose training I interrupted, starring at me, completely puzzled and being at loss for words. I remember me, staying in the corner of the gym, wearing my usual black tight pants, white top with black hoody over it and white trainers, sobbing silently, fearing to look up at my coach’s face. All my bones were hurting like hell, I wanted to fall on the floor and just get numb, dead, I just wanted to disappear. Then I felt my coach’s hand tapping me on my right shoulder still looking puzzled at me.
“What’s wrong?” the coach asked me.
“What’s wrong?” like the echo I asked myself right after the coach.
Do you know that kind of crying when you’ve been told your relative has just died and you can’t hold yourself? But I didn’t have my phone in my hands at that moment, I wasn’t talking to anyone but my coach and there was nothing to be upset about, but I was sobbing right in the gym in front of the people I’d known for many months the way as I was told my mother or my father or someone else I love would have died.
“What’s wrong?” — that was the question right in the gym and that question was everywhere, hanging in the air above me, around me, everywhere and I couldn’t even breath.
So, what’s wrong?
Six days ago I went to the cinema to watch the movie about mountain-climbers conquering the Everest. They were asked a question “Why are you doing this? Climbing the Everest? You are struggling, putting your life under risk. What is it for?” Only three of them gave the answers. Me, sitting on the other side of the screen in the darkness, was asking myself the same question “Why am I doing this? Going to the gym even if my whole body hurts, even if I’ve dislocated my spine a few times, even if all my muscles burn and the pain doesn’t stop even for a moment? Why am I doing all of this? To lose some weight? If it were so, I would have quitted this bloody sport after two or three months of training because I hated it so much I felt sick of all the physical exercises.”
There was something else. There was the same unsaid answer on the same question. “Why are you doing this?”
“I’m doing it because I’m challenging myself. Because I’m punishing myself for not being good enough. Because I need to know what I am made of.”
I would say these are pretty good reasons. But what if there is something else? And the last reason was creeping on me while I was trying to ignore it. My own reason above the previous ones is “Because I need to cover the pain of the broken heart with the physical pain but tortures are not for me.” It does sound a bit pathetic, especially considering “the pain of the broken heart” part but I can’t call it differently. But I have my heart broken not only because of one-sided love. I wasn’t good enough for someone who I thought would be the best for me, so I decided to change my body and to lose some weight and look so much better than anyone who HE had ever liked. It was a very good decision to take up doing sport but it was an extremely stupid reason for it. And I guess it wasn’t because of only one man, I would say I was trying to “revenge” to a few men for my unanswered feelings. So, I was challenging myself trying to be better than the girls who men I like were attracted more to. Only now I’ve come to realize this motivation is a bit stupid and it’s just another great example of my mental or spiritual immaturity. But it WAS the motivation after all. It’s like your inner energy — it cannot be negative or positive, it’s just energy and you are the one who has to chose the way to use it.
So,I was punishing myself for not being much better than those girls and women and for not being strong enough to pursuit my dream to be better. Every week, sometimes every day I was doing something new in the gym and conquering my own “I can’t do it”-complaints. Sometimes every fifteen minutes I was doing something I thought I wouldn’t be able to do. And the more I was doing the more I was wondering where my limit was.
Every second of my daily training I was dying to feel pain. I wanted to be almost dead after working out. Or maybe I wanted to be dead. Functional training, weight lifting, running, swimming — I wanted to feel exhausted and I wanted my mind to become empty for five minutes just not to think about all the reasons I was doing sport for. I think I hated myself so much for not being good enough for someone I liked very much that I wanted to punish myself for it more and more. I wanted to be dead and I chose the way — to exhaust myself by doing sport. Crazy and stupid? Yes, I know it now.
That’s why I was wondering for a while if the gym was my own Everest to conquer or my own torture chamber to suffer in. Sobbing in the gym during the training and shocking people around is hardly able to give me the right answer but I’m sure about one thing — I wanted to be dead and today it has happened: I felt like I was done, finished, devastated and if I fell on the floor I’d turn out to be right in my own grave two meters underground soaking in dirt and seeing no light.
Instead of being in the grave I found myself in the changing room, sitting on the bench still sobbing and talking on the phone with the person who one hour later would tell me one of the most important things about life.
“Has anyone ever told us how to live our life right? You must be pretty, you must be skinny, you must have a round ass, you must follow fashion, you must be well-educated, you must be strong, you must be sensitive, you must be the best yet you must know your place, you must be innocent and pure yet you must be experienced and fearless, you must get a well-paid and constant job, you must get married, you must have children, you must, you must, you must …. You must do so many things and all these things are just for being happy. Don’t you think there are too many things the society tells you to do to become happy? And look around, if it worked would be there so many unhappy beautiful, well-educated, employed, married people with children? Why are there so many unhappy people around? Don’t you see all these “must-do-things” simply don’t work?” my friend was telling me and mixing some sedatives in the glass to calm me down.
Her words were followed by silence. It was the silence of me realizing she was right and her feeling relieved that she finally said what she had wanted to say for a very long time. Imagine yourself sitting in a small room with no fresh air where it’s very hot and stuffy for some time dying to get some fresh air and suddenly you feel the wind getting through the window that has been just opened and you are breathing the fresh air in with your full lungs. I had the same feeling at that moment and my friend’s words were like that fresh air for my “stuffy” mind. My bones were still hurting and my heart was still aching but my mind became a little clearer.
Unfortunately, we often get confused two things: being the best and being happy.
All these “must-do-things” undoubtedly bring us closer to our goals and obviously make us better. But does it make us happy? Or does being happy make us better? I don’t know the answer but I like the second concept — being happy can make you feel better and just become better. But to become happy you do not need any “must-do-things” lists dictated by the society who has no idea how to live right.
Once the same friend of mine told me “First you are gonna be taught by someone who is older, then by someone who is younger. But you just keep smiling and do things the way you think is better for you.”
What else can I say? I think everything that should be told she (my friend) did… I am just a messenger who is sharing my story and a couple of inspiring in my opinion ideas with people like me — people who are still searching for their own paths to walk on. Good luck everyone and trust yourself!
P.S.: I’ve never written anything before in my life. And English is not my native language, so I should warn you this piece of writing is going to be pretty far from perfect. I could have written this in Russian, but I’m afraid it wouldn’t be a smart idea.