Rusted blood built up around my neck like dead calluses on a hand of labor and let downs, gripped tight with a heavy hook, pulling on dreams that seem too far to ever come true. Each heave, and roar pulls the heavy rustic over-sized chain closer, elbows drive back, back holds strong, eyes steady ahead, and feet dig through, all while your body begins to doubt the long adventure ahead, and your mind whispers of white flags and other options. Pain desperately tries to despair you from your goals, as more fish oil tuns in your stomach, leaving you with a taste of old gym bag mixed with knee wraps from yesterday’s training. “Maybe another goal is more feasible” – Rest whispers with a crack in her voice and eyes drooped like a Disney character – low and always forgiving. The bar you hold is high but so low, cold metal pulling you down as hope moves you forward. Bloody hands wash up for dinner, as Phantom of the Opera sings loudly in your ears, while others hear the quiet night play a song of silverware meeting the plate and cups sitting softly on the table. Cold nights that turn lonely, make you feel like the only one, like wearing the wrong outfit to the first day of school -therefore being shunned. A weightlifter set a part from the “rest” – An alien who is desperately misunderstood and hated by those who don’t understand. Freak, bastard, fucken outcast. There is a place for us, it’s called the gym.
Your scars turn purple as the breath of your air surrounds your thoughts, cold nights can make your midnight smoke turn into a circus of emotions while you sit front row, sometimes good, sometimes a performance that’s followed by a head down shower. Does my sweat really build up underneath my shower? Is there really a “sweat bank”? Why the fuck I am doing this? River of red around my neck strangles me on nights of thought as I look back a decade later on my career. Past friends, coaches, teams, meets, medals and memories now dirt, dust, old coffee and cigarette butts. My writing stopped, medals hang in dust, only to move once again from open doors and a gust from an open window, as they cling and clang in a cry of acceptance, once appreciated and now unheard. Old forgotten videos lay on bed side with palms of ever loving lust. Hold my hand they whisper, with an old cracking voice of despair. A decade later and somehow…..I am still here.
Morning has now come, welcomed by a refill and a long stare out a canvas now almost filled. Normal society marches on as they do, one foot in front of the next, going to their jobs of work, once told to them by people who work, that once went to school who taught them how to work, so they work. The dark of the night slipped away like the last ten years of my life. Full circle….1,000 coffee cups down, stained cigarette hands and palms of rough. Ten years ago when I entered the Dark Orchestra I was lost, and now I am found. Found through weightlifting that gave me an identity nothing else could. Found through a bar that only tried to pull me down. The crazy thing is, is that if you lift the bar high you can achieve greatness. Lift the bar over and over, faster and higher, stronger each day, and opportunity will meet you at 6 am at Starbucks aka The Green Jungle. What door to walk through? I say walk through them all, doesn’t mean you have to carry on down that one particular road. A journey only well sought upon is a journey worth taking. Have I ventured down paths of regret, never. Have a ventured down paths too long, yes. Know when to turn, find the crossroad and back trail if needed. Not all opportunity will lead to the promise land, sometimes a promise is only met with burnt grass and a rotten grapefruit tree. At time when all doors don’t seem to lead, create your own as windy roads full of bricks and weeds can be the ones that lead to achieving many things, some on the list and some newly discovered. I write to you today, ten years later with more understanding than before, at the same time none at all. The times have changed but the coffee tastes the same. The barbell has been lifted with much weight, but there is always more to lift, more weight to move, walk with, and live with. A decade later and I finally come back to the place that I feel the most at home. A decade later and my neck still bleeds rivers of blood……cut by tyranny, and sustained by desire.