On Fighting

and why boxing became a intrinsic part of my identity

credits: Katherine Dumas

When I started to write these small blog posts, my main purpose was to share my thoughts and my feelings, as a way to reach a new form of catharsis, a catharsis that needs the affrontment of my own issues to be fully completed. I truly believed that putting them out there, on the Internet, on my Facebook, would show the people I more or less know that they are not alone in whatever struggle they are facing. Mental health can be shattered at any time. It has always felt refreshing for me to see that I am not alone, and I am striving to convey that same feeling to others. So, when some people read my posts as calls for attention towards myself or/and as pleads to pity me, something broke in me. That is why I have not been writing much lately. I was questioning the purpose and the impact of this. Why do I feel the need to share the darker sides of myself, sides about which most people do not want to know?

After reflecting on this question, and talking about the traumatic events I have gone through and my non-existing dating life with close friends and my cousin, I just remembered the reason behind all of this. I am not seeking pity. I abhor this sentiment. Why would I want people to feel sorry for me for having come back up every time life knocked me down? I have not been knocked out for all I know. Technical knockouts do not exist beyond the ring, and I truly think I have still my guard up, although my breath is becoming shorter at times. I share my difficult past to show that there is a way to come back up. You are not to be pitied if you come back up, you are not to be pitied if you cannot come up for reasons that are beyond your capacities to fight, you are not to be pitied if you do not want to come back up. In life, there are little chances to give up. And even if you do, you should not be pitied for that. It is your choice, and this is the core of human liberty. No one will fully grasp what circumstances that made you surrender to the rain of punches you received, they will never get how painful they are. What you went through is your own experience, and sometimes you do not have the stamina to get through all of this. And you should be celebrated for fighting so far, you should be encouraged to come back up, you should be helped if you are or feel like giving up. This is why I am writing. This is to prevent myself from giving up, mostly. Writing is another weapon to me, when I cannot scream, when I cannot cry, when I cannot run away. To be more accurate, this is not as a weapon as much as a way from me to restore stamina, like that short minute boxers get in between rounds. It is a means to assess what I have accomplished so far, to review my current strategy and to adapt to the new circumstances. I cannot predict the future rounds, but I can prepare myself for them. That is what writing does to me. Like a boxer is never alone in their corners, I did not want to be alone in writing. I want people to help me assess how I fought, and how I should improve my tactics and technique to prepare myself for the upcoming round.

This is also why and how boxing became such a pillar in my identity and in my life altogether, a pillar I do not like to share that much, paradoxically. Boxing has shown me how strong of a person I am, and has shown me that the fight I have been stuck in thus far was worth continuing. Boxing has actually proved me that I had been fighting my way all along, but it also taught me that I should not be alone in this. Every day, training demonstrates what I am able to accomplish, while being such a humbling experience. When you understand its essence, boxing teaches you respect and humility, while validating you as a person. Boxing has become the physical expression of what I was going through in my life. And it also became the outlet helping me push against the setbacks coming my way. In the last eight months, with my car accident, my dog bite, my intestinal parasite, my weight issues, and my tendinitis, boxing has helped accept the pain and overcome these hardships, while trying to come at peace with the previous hardships I have been through. It has also taught me that my situation is far from being the worst in which someone could ever get stuck, while showing me that it did not make my pain any less valid. It taught me to use the pain I was feeling to my advantage, as a sort of trampoline to get stronger. And I got stronger. Another setback came my way, but it does not taste as bitter as the other ones. I am in pain, but I became patient. It will go away, just like many other sufferings. Only the time it requires differ, and I just need to be resilient. In boxing, resilience is critical, and I think it is why I felt home when I started learning it. For all these reasons, I do identify as a boxer. I learn how to fight to the best of my capacities in the ring as much as I learn to fight my best in life. For all these reasons, I do not like telling strangers I learn boxing or that I identify as a boxer, because they see my personality clashing with the sport, as they perceive it to be pure violence. Being a boxer does not make me less of a nice, caring person. On the contrary. Boxing made me a better fighter when I needed help, and a better fighter for myself, but also for others. It really shaped who I am today, and saved me from all the times I felt like causing my own K.O.