I was suffering from heartbreak and heightened anxiety when I began boxing.
A pretty longhaired man had broken my heart and I felt disconnected from the city I lived in.
The body is inescapable. I was walking around in an anxiety-fuelled body. I was terrified by small talk and most human interactions. I had isolated myself within one of the world’s most isolated cities. When I began boxing I had not been to many places outside my own mind in a long time.
As I walked into my first class of boxing I walked outside my comfort zone and out of my own mind. I had discovered a magical dirty underworld that smelt like fierce determination. Some of my fellow boxers didn’t have any front teeth, I weirdly felt at home and at peace.
It was clear that the cool boxers wear black gloves, I messed up and got giant white gloves. I have funny chicken legs, I am uncoordinated and I am commonly described as ‘too nice’.
Boxing the crap out of a bag in goofy gloves gave me the metaphorical strength I needed to break the anxious cycle. Around 45 minutes into an intense boxing session when I was challenged to punch as hard as I humanly can I knocked my anxiety out.
This was the defining moment when I realised I was a life long boxer. When your entire body and mind is engaged in mastering a technique, trying not to fall over and punching as hard as you can your mind is clear.
For me anxiety arises when I don’t feel empowered or power over a situation. My power had been taken by the inconsiderate actions of a pretty longhaired man. My sense of empowerment left when the subcultures I connected to in the city I lived in disappeared.
Through building strength and self-defence skills, I feel empowered. I have the additional power of knowing that I could beat the crap out of my big brother. On a more materialistic note, boxing has changed the shape of my body.
It’s a change that signifies punching through mental and physical barriers that were preventing my life from moving forward. The sustenance required to box changed my relationship with my body and food. I have a habit of freaking out and hiding my peanut butter somewhere high that requires a small stepladder to access it to make myself think about my decision on the climb. I am no longer consumed by how many calories I eat now, I just want to eat the right food and get enough protein so I can keep boxing.