Birth of a Sculptor Voices enslaved in my head; mocking me to bow down and surrender. I do not pay heed as I have the heart of a thousand men.
“Bonk” goes the crashing metal with immense momentum. Sweat drips down from my face like water gushing from a faucet. Pain and tension do not phase me; rather, they intrigue. The glory of these moments as I am alone in the gym would be impossible without the tragedy of yesterdays. I am under construction. Laying down on a rigid bed I stare up at the ceiling and ask myself, “will I ever be the same again?” It was my first day of physical therapy. My physical therapist had asked what I hoped to accomplish in the next 6 weeks.
With no hope for the future or interest of being there all I can think is, “I’m never going to be the same again.” No sign of improvement just a river of tears flowing down my face. I had nearly accepted my fate that my future in athletics was over.
Pairing athletic accomplishment with my identity my entire childhood, my worst days dealing with this injury were signified by disappointment, depression, and frustration of how far I had fallen. I struggled to stand, let alone walk. Despite all the voices of doubt and pessimism, I had to cling on to the words of the one of resilience; the one echoing that this is but a setback, an obstacle I can and will overcome. Showing up to every PT session with newfound optimism I’d get close to my goals every day. Although recovery was not a speedy process I understood patience was necessary. The desire to recover outweighed any previous sentiment of doubt or anger. Eventually, I was able to walk again. Regardless of the improvements, I remained unable to participate in sports to the same extent as before.
Sprints and high intensity running what I once trained for every day were out of the question. In this tragedy, I discovered a hidden gem. My passion for bodybuilding. An athletic avenue where my limitations in my legs couldn’t make me stop pursuing. All of my worries, burdens, and regrets vanish once I set forth in a gym. The moment I step in I have one intention; to overcome the limitations of previous days. Respect, patience and self-discipline, the same tools I used to overcome previous injuries that led me here have been integrated into this new passion; a form of art in which I was the sculptor and my body was the sculpture. Bodybuilding had become my teacher in life, its values a template for any future challenge; the necessity of patience, the goal to be better than I was the day before, persistence, having a vision for the future, and perhaps most important, never accepting complacency.
Whether it had been my desire to improve my academics or be a better brother, I understood that such pursuits weren’t an immediate fix that I would always see a difference in immediately. Such avenues in life require discipline, dedication and patience, and persistence. Bodybuilding has taught me such fundamental truths. With everything I have and will pursue since facing the adversity that led to me to this passion has been approached knowing progress can take to manifest, but inevitably will with time and commitment.