Why I Fight

This short bit of prose is an attempt to tell you WHY I’ve done good and bad things with my hands.

Growing up Brian was a fascinating phenomenon.  I grew up in the woods of rural NJ.  There were few kids in my neighborhood.  The children that were available as playmates were older, bigger, and tougher than I was.

I quickly noticed that my internal timidity led to bullying by shark type young men.  You grow up fast by getting stuck in the woods surrounded by jackals. 

I learned to turn fear to aggression.  I learned to hold my own l. Fighting for survival became a familiar feeling in my pre teen years.

At the age of 9 I met my friend Billy.  Billy was on the local soccer team.  We spent time laughing, hiking, and being silly.  

One day, while at Billy’s house, he introduced me to the neighborhood bully.  The neighborhood bully was an oversized oaf who wielded a lifetime of aggression and brute force to reign terror over little boys.

We were scared of this bully.  He approached us.  He smacked my friend for no reason at all.  My internal sense of justice, mixed with love for the downtrodden, gave me the bravery to step into the line of fire.

“Leave him alone” I shouted.  I ended up in a Bush next to Billy with a big lump on my forehead.  I had found one obvious purpose in my otherwise uneventful life.  Defend the defenseless.

My teens were spent as a young man honing his hands and embracing his anger.  It was during this time that my internal issues came to the surface.  Confusion mixed with fear mixed with a knowledge on how to make others acquiesce by force was a terrible experience.  I couldn’t figure out who I was.  I was a chameleon with an anger problem.  I just didn’t belong.

Jails, institutions, and death.  A drinking problem and a fascinating obsession with learning to fight.  I became a danger to myself.  A tailspin into the depths of despair.  All alone.  All the time.

My early adulthood was a mix of confusing anger and misdirected aggression.  OTHERING people became a credo.  I used the ill perceived faults of people, groups, brands, organizations, and authorities as a crutch to embrace an entitled sense of being better than those who I believed hated me.

I observed the failures of mankind and wanted to escape.  I couldn’t escape the cycle of internal poverty.  All attempts to become healthy were thwarted by a world that wanted to suck the soul from the body.

In 2017 I got help.  I found doctors and family that didn’t see me as a lost cause.  I was given a modicum of hope.  A glimpse of light and warmth.  I was a fighter again.  I found it for myself and my family.  I fought to survive my demons. 

So much bad had come from my heart.  The misguided heart had made the hands of iron find their mark so many times throughout my life.  This was no longer a solution.

I made a decision to get healthy.  I walked into a boxing gym.  I figured that the demons of the past could be exercised by expressing my talents in a healthy way.  I met other guys like me.  

Men in the gym were from a variety of backgrounds and experience.  They had all been violent in one way or another, but were reformed through sport.  I sat under their teaching.  

I learned to fight again.  This time in a healthy way.  I channeled the anger of the past.  I lost most rounds in the ring.  That was ok.  I wasn’t looking to hurt anyone anymore.  I fought as an attempt to reshape the heart and the mind.  I was born again.

Today I fight for my family.  I fight for mankind.  I fight for peace.  I remember the past.  I think of it often.  I don’t hate myself for my faults.  I overcame them.  Today I fight for myself.