How do people cope with all the pain life can cause? Can people cope with all the problems in their lives? Is the a cure-all for all situations? I need the magic medicine that will make all this better.
I am trying to find an alternate outlet for my emotions. I need something physical and preferably competitive. This is how I have always coped with everything. I would release it physically and the I could deal with it.
I can remember when I was a kid when I started to do this regularly. (I haven’t thought of this memory for decades) I was in second grade and my shoes had literally fallen apart. The soles became unattached to the top of the shoe. There was no way I could wear them. They were the cheapest shoes one could buy in our area so it was not surprising. I told my parents about it and showed them my shoes. My dad took them and threw them away. These were my only pair of shoes. I did not have flip flops or church shoes, nothing else. So I no longer had any shoes. I asked if we could go to the store and get new ones and I was told that we would wait until next week. This was the beginning of the week so that meant I would not have shoes for a full week. I was obviously upset, I was 8. I then thought they would take one of the pairs of shoes from my brother (yes he had multiple) and make me wear them for the week. I was okay with this but still knew they would be too big, but manageable.
Well, that is not what they had in mind. They went and got a pair of shoes of my mothers. They were very feminine shoes and about 5 sizes too big. I had a hard time keeping them on my feet. I was obviously upset about it but I really did not have a choice. So I wore my mom’s shoes for the rest of the week. I was teased relentlessly all week about my shoes. Even my brothers and sisters teased me. The worst was on the bus ride because we rode with all ages. Middle school kids, high school kids all road the bus. I just remember not trying to cry everyday and feeling the anger build and build. I have no idea how I did not get into a fight, but I just kept it all in.
The next week we went and got me shoes. They were the cheapest pair in town (again) and while I really did not like them they were better than my moms shoes. Even with the new shoes I was still angry and was still getting teased. My anger was at a level that is one of the highest levels I can remember from my childhood. So after riding the bus the first day after I got my new shoes and continuously was still being teased I decided I would no longer ride the bus. My school was between 2 and 3 miles away. So I would walk to school in the morning. I knew the way because I had already wandered a lot of my town by this point in my life. The fresh air and lack of teasing helped me, but then when I would get to school the teasing would start again. On the way home I decided to try and race the bus home. I knew where all the stops were and a few shortcuts the bus could not take. So off I went as the buss pulled out. I ran and ran and at every stop on the route, there I was waiting for the bus. I pushed myself and pushed myself to not get beat. I wanted to show all the kids that my shoes were fine and could make me faster (a great 2nd grade notion). I almost always beat the bus to every stop and always to my stop which was one of the last. I did this almost everyday for the rest of the year. It really helped me because it removed me from the toxic situation and I was able to release all the anger I had built up.
The only place that this did not work was while I was at school during recesses. Kids would still tease me and even though I had a release it was getting unbearable. Finally, one day I could not take it anymore. There was one kid that always seemed to start it and then the other kids would jump in. So we were at recess playing a game and he started in on me. I got in his face and told him he needed to stop. He pushed me and then made another comment. I don’t even remember what he said, but I just remember I punched him in the face and broke his glasses and he went down in a heap. Obviously there was a big group around us by that time. I was done with it and as I tried to walk away he got up and tackled me from behind. We were both on the ground wrestling when the teachers broke us up and sent us to Principals office.
My parents were called but would not come down so I got to face the Principal by myself (they would “deal” with me when I got home). I remember going in there and being scared. He was a big guy and there was horror stories of him spanking people with a big wooden paddle. I saw it sitting against the wall as I walked in. I remember telling him what happened and that I hit the kid. I also told him how long I had been teased for and I had tried to ignore it. Knowing what I know now I am sure there were already conversations about me between the teachers and the administration. I think they understood my family situation by this point. This was not a bad thing. I think they recognized that I was a good student put in a shitty situation. I did not know any of this at the time so I was scared. He told me that my parents were not coming to get me so I had to spend the rest of the day in detention and then for the next two weeks I had to sit on the stairs in detention during lunch recess. It would suck for me, but I was glad I was not getting hit with the paddle.
Looking back he was pretty smart. He gave me and the other kid the same punishment and we were required to sit next to each other for all of our time in detention. The kid apologized and we talked everyday. By the end of it all we were friends, he even invited me over to his birthday party.
So ever since that time I have used exercise to be my outlet. I would use the time to think and process what was going on. I was extremely active and would run, walk, or bike every where I went. I knew the whole city like it was the back of my hand. I would wander them day or night, just whenever I was having trouble.
So now, I have been stuck without an outlet for a few years now. Everything builds and builds and I struggle coping with everything. I believe that this is a reason I have so many swings in my emotions. One day is great and the next is bad. I don’t have that release. That alone time. The time I can push my body to see if it will just explode and die. So I am looking for new coping strategies. It seems that mixing alcohol and my medications is not the best option. Anyways that doesn’t really help me cope, just numb the pain.
Writing has been helpful and I will continue to do it but I don’t get that release and the exhaustion which helps me relax and calmly think about things. No, half the time I write I am more wound up than when I finish. Just like this post, I am a bundle of energy ready to explode. I brought up a memory that I do not like to remember and while writing it helps a little, it does not feel like I have been able to let go of it like when I am physically pushing my body. It is almost like I feel a need to punish my body in order to cope.
You can find magic wherever you look. – Dr. Seuss