I was traveling with 3 full suitcases, at the airport, I saw myself as a clown, a circus clown. I would pull one bag, and the other would fold; three steps forward, 2 steps back. A funny situation…
Finally, I managed to arrive to the taxi stand. A gentleman approached me and said, “do not worry I got this; go and get the rest of the bags.”
This driver, Clive had an easy and great attitude. He was an older man in his 60’s . You could easily see that he was strong. He looked like a luchador, (fighter).
On our way to the city, we talked about the people, the city, places to visit and his passion for boxing. Slowly the conversation moved to I Love Failure, my blog. We talked about attitude, determination, dealing with failure and so on… We talked about age and getting older. It was a great and fulfilling conversation.
Clive slowly began to tell me about his life. Although this gentleman had a great attitude, he did not have an uncomplicated life.
He got married at a young age to his high school sweetheart. Together, they had 8 children, but sadly, they lost 2 of them; their 2 oldest children passed away. One child passed away when she was 6 months old and the second committed suicide 20 years ago.
After the suicide, the family’s life fell apart; their marriage got destroyed and his childhood love walked away 3 years ago.
Clive, was a boxer in his youth and never stopped training. So now, at 60, he still gets into the ring. This is where he finds younger fighters to train with. While sparring these young men he frequently lowers his guard and allows them to hit him; to be used as a punching bag. In the ring, he yearns for punishment; it’s his way to manage or get rid of all his internal demons.
The longer he kept talking the more unconstrained he became… He had even contemplated suicide several times.
It seems like he found somebody that was willing to listen, but most importantly, he thought, that he had found somebody that would understand.
After many years of dealing with these evil spirits, finally it seemed like he learned to manage them. He is seeing a professional, taking medication, sleeping better and having a closer relationship with his kids.
Meanwhile, I was sitting in the back listening and silent. He turned around and said “I’m sorry, it was not my intention to swap this great interaction into a sad conversation”
I responded, “no problem, I appreciate your conversation; normally I have some type of advice to give, yet, today I do not know how to guide you.”
His story had caught me by surprise.
A couple of minutes later I began: “we all have our own personal battles to confront; yours might be worse than mine, but we all have to deal with them. The secret is in learning how to deal with them.”
I have been dealing with my own demons for over 25 years and finally I think that I am beginning to win the battle.
When everything is ready to explode, you allow people to use you as a punching bag, as a release valve. I used alcohol as a release but would react aggressively or disconnect completely from the world.
Though, the past few years, gradually I had to manage to find a different escape by focusing on my writing. Writing has become my personal psychologist; it allows me to express my frustrations and anger on paper. It allows me to talk about anything, to make mistakes and to correct them.
- At the end, the conversation switched back to a great debate; when we arrived to the hotel, he came down and gave me a warm hug, a hug filled with gratitude and relief.
So here is my thought:
We all, no exceptions, will find ourselves in the middle of a conflict, internal or external. We struggle looking for some type of inspiration, many times trying to accomplish a goal in our lives, just for the day or just for the moment, it feels impossible.
When you feel trapped, look for a friend for advice, a friend that knows you during good times and bad times. If you don’t have anyone that you can reach out to, open a book that will encourage you. If you don’t feel like opening a book, go online where you always find plenty of inspiration. Or just, go for a run…
We all need to have a channel, a support mechanism, a release valve; keep looking for yours. Do not give up!
It is better to conquer yourself than to win a thousand battles. Then the victory is yours. It cannot be taken from you, not by angels or by demons, heaven or hell – Buddha