Beast in a Cage

Thump. I strike the bag.

Everyone has their struggles; those things that they fight to keep in check. Some people ignore the darkness that lurks inside them until it is too late; others embrace it. Some try to kill it with poison; others drown it out through loud and exuberant experiences. I have a different method.

Thump, thump. I throw a combo.

I recognize the beat that lives within me; I know that the rage and the fury is as much a part of me as my arms. It used to control me, dictating every move I made and conjuring every word I spoke. I tried putting him in a cage deep within my mind, but he always seemed to break out at the most inopportune moments.

Thump. I strike again, and the bag spins and swings away.

Eventually, I came to terms with his existence. I knew there was no escaping his influence, no exercising him from my soul. I knew that there must be a way of controlling it, of using the strength it gave me. When it broke free, it was like a river during a flood; I could not stop it, but there must be a way to direct it.

Thump. Thump, thump. I’m getting into the groove now.

I tried and failed with a few different methods. Soon enough, I found something that worked. I harnessed the drive and determination that came with it, using it to fuel my various endeavors. When it gets to be too much, I come here.

Thump, thump.

I project my demons onto the punching bag and beat them until my knuckles bleed. Some days, I’m here for hours, pounding away, punishing them, brutally beating them into submission.

Thump, thump.

Some people say I have an anger problem. Maybe I do; but then again, I also have a solution, so how bad can it be? everybody deals with stress in their own way. I act like a man in the street, walking among my peers as Dr. Jekyll. Here, I become an animal, unleashing Mr. Hyde in all his grotesque glory.

Thump, thump. Thump.

I can feel it dissipate the longer I am here. The longer I go, the more peaceful I am when I leave. This storm is bottled up inside me, and I lock it away until the proper time. When I get here, there is no one to worry about, no image to uphold or proprieties to adhere to. Once I wrap up my hands, I can let it all loose. It is only here that I am truly free. I don’t need therapy; I simply need time to deal with the whirlwind in my mind on my own terms. I struggle with my thoughts until they relent, and I beat my mind into submission. Everyone has their demons, the dark places they keep hidden deep inside. I’ve found that the best way to keep it from consuming and destroying you is to face it head-on. I can’t pretend it doesn’t exist. It finds ways of getting out when it’s been locked away for too long. I just need a release. And here I am. I fight until I feel the final wave building up inside.

WHAM!

I hit the bag one more time, expelling every ounce of strength remaining in my body. It comes off the hook, and both I and the bag fall to the ground. I’m exhausted, but I smile, enjoying the sting of sweat in my eyes. This is good. I have found that I can stand alongside others, being whatever they need me to be, as long as I take the time to wrestle my own issues to the ground. Call it disfunctional, and look down on it all you will; any fighter will tell you that there is a reason they raise their fists in the first place. The fight is not something you do, it’s a part of who you are. The good fighters unleash it; the best control it. Me…I would like to think I fall somewhere in the middle, and for now, that’s enough.

I hang the bag back up and give it one last playful tap. Time to head back into the world. I’m ready.

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