With Gain Comes Pain

April 29th, 2016, 2pm

I grabbed my fingerless gloves and flew down the stairs in a whoosh. I was so pumped up and full of energy that it felt like my blood was pure caffeine. Silently, I slid the sliding window open, stepped outside, and closed it. I began my descent into the basement underground where no one could hear me. This basement was no ordinary basement. It was designed for our infamous Californian earthquakes, for it had multiple strong beams that held up the house while connecting it to the earth so that the building wouldn’t just slide away during the quake. I took advantage of this months ago and tied useless mattresses to the strongest beams to use them as punching bags. I also pinned cardboard targets to the wall so that I could practice my knife-throwing skills. Outside of the basement was a smooth concrete slab of floor that was perfect for dancing and warming up. It was the place where I had choreographed my first original dance last year.

Right after the sun sets, there is always this period where the sky isn’t completely dark but there is no sun to shine on the world. I always held my workout sessions during this period so that none of the neighbors see me and think I’m a psycho throwing knives at the wall and so that I can have enough light to see what I’m doing. I started off with twenty push-ups, thirty sit-ups, forty-squats, and plank for fifty seconds. This warm-up usually cuts out a fraction of my energy but on that day it just invigorated me. I head into the deep, creepy basement. The ceiling is only 5’8 from the floor and held up by dozens of beams. There are old, used children’s toys, holiday decorations, century-old books, and rotting furniture everywhere. It is a perfect place for a ghost to hide. Straightening my gloves, I wasted no time and dived right into punching the crap out of the beam. Sometimes our teacher tells us to do it without gloves so that we could learn how to control our punches and aim instead of flailing at the bag. First few times, I had the worst control and scraped skin off my knuckles so badly that I had to go through a couple Band-Aid boxes. Now, I can control it, but I still wear gloves just in case.

Right hook, left hook, shuffle back. Round, back, cross. Shuffle back, shuffle in, double back fist, back leg round kick. I worked two times harder that day because of what happened at school. The perfect escape valve. When I threw my final hook, I felt drops of sweat roll into my nostrils and onto the ground from the tip of my chin. I stumbled for the door, wildly grabbing for the knob and kicked the door open when I turned it. I gasped madly for fresh air and pressed my forehead against a beam. What was happening? I had this feeling in me that wanted to beat up a million warriors, yet my body was exhausted to the point where my vision was in spots. After closing my eyes for two minutes straight, I wiped myself down and took off my gloves. The day was past dark and it was almost nine so I trudged up the flights of stairs and staggered into my bedroom. I needed to cool down, and quickly so I took a short, steamy shower. And that’s when I noticed.

I saw bright spots in my vision, five of them to be exact. It was as if someone shined a extremely bright light directly into my eyes, turning it on and off repeatedly. Bewildered, I used this poor vision and looked down at my numb arms and legs. They were trembling. With a dark horror, I realized that this was going to be another migraine. I sprinted into my room with the coordination of a drunk and ferociously searched through my first-aid kit (yep, I’m the kind of person who has one of those) for the pill. I hated taking man-made drugs, but this was an emergency. I ripped the packaging off and immediately swallowed the pill. I paused for a second, but my body’s shaking became more violent and the scary thing was that I couldn’t feel it because all my limbs were numb. My vision progressively became crappier and that’s when I started to become really scared. I googled “How to prevent migraines” and read the causes (intense workout, stress, sudden change of emotions), the effects (numbness of body parts, irregular vision, exhaustion, irritation), and the advice (go to a dark and isolated environment, go to sleep, drink caffeine). I turned off all the lights and jumped into bed, still shaking. I squeezed my eyes tight. No pain had started but it would begin soon and then I would be writhing in agony. My sister was plagued with these monthly and would scream every time a new wave of pounding pain overtook her head. Sometimes she would cry and talk about how she would rather die than have these headaches for the rest of her life. I squeezed my eyes so tightly shut that my face was almost frozen in that position for a while. Eventually, sleep overtook me, but I won’t forget that night soon. I didn’t get the painful migraine but the foreboding and symptoms were enough.

I guess now that I should reflect on the lesson of the story or something so here it goes: don’t let your emotions control you. I’m an emotionally stoic person who is reserved most of the time so I guess another lesson is that you should talk out your feelings instead of beating the crap out of a pole. Or else you’ll get a migraine. Well, it’s different for everybody. So just try to be happy and don’t let other people toy with your brain. I forgot what had made me so mad on that day, but I remember the feeling. The aggressiveness. This quote that I have plastered on my wall will sum up the story: Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it.

David Wade said thanks.

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Kurt Willows

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