I was quietly lifting on a balmy sunday morning. Through gentle clouds of chalk and age old dust I dimly see my loaded barbell. It taunts me, it mocks me. I wind and pull my stiff wraps around my once-delicate wrists, grimacing as I feel it start to bite into the soft flesh. Sucking in some air I lift off, and remembering to flare my elbows out, mentally cue-ing myself to squeeze harder as the bar passes over my face.
For a brief moment I feel it stall. Every muscle in my back and my arms screams and shakes. I ignore their anguish and push through, pulling my head through to lock out.
I rip out my headphones long enough to watch some random guy grunt loudly, every vein in his neck gasping for air near the surface. He grips, he rips, the bar won’t budge. I give him a nod quietly, maybe next time bro.
I ask him if he is getting ready for anything.
“Oh I’ve thought about competing before, but I don’t have a team.”
And that, right there, is everything that is wrong with people these days. I nod politely and continue my session while pondering this whole “team” business.
Maybe it’s because I’ve always considered powerlifting to be a solo sport. As much as I’ve enjoyed the support of training partners, and a brief coach, I’ve found I made great gains on my own. That is, when I finally accepted lifting is my life, as much as art is my blood.
Lifts have always made everything in my world make sense. It is not my therapy, it is my life. It’s as much part of my life as brushing my teeth in the morning, or showering when I get home. Competing was an extension of that. I was once told by a friend I was “looking to make it into a sport.” I suppose he was right.
And like anything else, when you are passionate, when you really give a shit about something. You will make time for it.
Here’s a bizarre reality. I work a day job that keeps me occupied for 45 hours a week. I work an additional 25-28 hours through the week and weekend for Chaos and Pain. I train 4-6 days a week. When I say lifting and art is my life. I mean it. I have very little time for anything else. And while sometimes that rips me apart, I don’t really mind. I accept that this is the best and worst part of me. I am dedicated. I am focused. I am passionate.
Maybe everyone expects this to be about lifts. It’s not. This is me telling you that you better be passionate about what you choose to do with your life. Because your passion? It will break you, make you broke, threaten every single one of your relationships, it will rob you of your sleep, it will demand that you give it the attention it deserves…
Passion wants blood. Passion wants proof that you care.
And once you’ve proved your worth. Passion will fill you with purpose. It will make all the things in your life you’ve always found confusing, not so confusing. Passion will always see you through.
So maybe everyone will ask why you train. Everyone might ask why you work so much. Who fucking cares. Maybe it’s because I have something to live for that makes me feel like it’s all worth it. And contrary to popular belief, that’s okay. Most people live an entire lifetime and don’t get to experience such a thing.
If you’ve found it, hang onto it. And offer up some blood as tribute. Sacrifice some sleep. Live and breathe for it because it really is a once in a lifetime thing. And if you let it slip by you most certainly will not find another.