I have read many times over that the only way a warrior can be brave is if they feel fear. One cannot have courage if there is nothing to feel courageous about, right? The years find me apprehensive at times with the very sobering reality of what I have to lose. Long gone are the days of youthful reckless abandonment where stones were just stones and rage was the only guideline. The years of injuries, loss, and obstacles has tattooed my brain with the visceral imagery of what it feels like to be at the bottom. I find myself looking through instagram sometimes smiling and equally cringing to the sight of thoughtless, yet passionate lifts from those who have yet to feel the pain of true injury and a “sports death”. It’s almost a jealousy but in reality its an admiration of a feeling I have chased my entire life.
Outside of my years of fighting and some amazing rugby matches, the fear of challenge I felt had long been lost. Seven years later in the sport of Strongman, I find myself with the same butterflies and feelings of anxious despair dancing in my stomach. I try to tell myself that it is not fear, that is only a heightened sense of things and I give myself the 300 speech about a million times a day but it’s not true. It is fear. It is in my stomach and it spreads to the very limits of my joints and finger tips. I have tried to deny it but you know what? I don’t want to. Fear is what got me into my first pair of gloves and my first rugby match. Fear allowed me to open my gym doors for the first time and led me to the platform. Fear helped me lift my first stone and it will help me lift my last many years from now. I could dance around the idea of fear and post some bullshit courageous speech and meme about how fear is not real and it’s only perception but guess what? Fear is real.
The idea of trying to push past the barbed wire of fear is a driving force for me. I have had many sleepless nights and even apprehensive reps with the stones run through my brain over and over … and over. These last weeks I was finding myself sinking into an abyss of doubt and that is an emotion I never want to have. As the weekend past I was overwhelmed by an unending feeling of reality. Why was I being such a pussy? It is not fear that makes someone worthless, it is the lack of fighting against it that poisons the well of courage. It is the lack of fighting through the muck and mire of anxiety and desperation that makes us weak. The loss of the Will to Win is what makes cowards of us all and I refuse to let that happen, ever. It may take me longer, it may keep me up countless nights but the reality is that there is no other way. I am not the boy I once was and the appreciation for the absolute depth of each and every rep, training session, competition and chance to fight forward is embedded in my very soul.
The answer does not lie in the ashes of victory but in the flames of the fight.
Never Stray from The Way