There was a time, I was an angry young fella thinking I could take on the world — denying my depression by suppressing it with anger, projecting it to the outside world.
Denying myself every opportunity I had for love and compassion, with neglect and isolation.
I found myself standing at the bus stop, my usual M10 to take me home; as a rather large fella kept staring at me.
I looked away, thinking maybe he’s just checking me out.
Suddenly, I felt as though it wasn’t a look of admiration — seems to me like this fella was looking for trouble.
“You’ve come to the right place”, I thought to myself — as I stared back at him.
We’re having a staring contest, as I keep glaring back at him; waiting for him to make his move.
In this moment, I wasn’t thinking clearly; I was letting my inner-anger and self-hatred cloud my judgement.
I wanted the gentleman to throw a punch, so that I’d have the opportunity to do the same; to get a sense of that testosterone boost brought upon by a negligent sense of awareness.
The gentleman got on the same bus at me, there’s cameras; I know he won’t jump me here.
The bus reached back at the campus, the fella decides to make this his stop as well.
“Is he following me?”, I stop to think.
Finally, in an utter disregard for security I decide to do the worst thing a manic-depressive can do; respond in anger without thinking about the consequence.
I throw a lousy punch, it misses — and the big fella starts laughing.
Helping me get back up, he’s no longer the scary gentleman I observed back at the bus stop fifteen or so minutes ago; he’s a big cuddly bear type.
Letting me know, I’m an idiot.
“What do you think was going to happen, mate?”, he inquisitively responded to my foolish attempt at self-defence.
“You were staring at me, I thought you wanted to fight me or something…”, I muttered.
“Dude I’m in your Programming class? You’re the kid that always sits in the back and keeps apologising when he ditches lectures.”
Oh what a moment, I now realise what a jerk I’ve just been.
“Come walk with me”, he said.
I followed along, to make up for my foolish shenanigan.
He’d figured me out, big man opened up and realised instantly; I had some issued I needed to resolve.
“This was me, like 2 years ago. Skinnier than you are.”, as he showed me one of those body-transformation photographs of himself.
He said he never posted it to social-media, which I admired.
“You keep looking for trouble man, you’re gonna end up messing with the wrong person. What’s up with you? Are you crazy, throwing a punch like that?”, he lectured, like an older brother would if I had one.
I didn’t say much, I was too embarrassed.
I let him speak his mind, listening whilst recovering from my lousy act of pretending to act tough.
“I’m part of the boxing club, at uni…we do sessions every Thursday and Saturday. You wanna drop by, teach some sense into you?”
“Sure”, I said — secretly hoping I’d just avoid this situation all together, maybe even drop out of the course to never have to face him again.
He wasn’t giving up though, persistent as he was; he did manage to get my sorry-ass to his boxing society.
He taught me a lot; this buffed up stranger who would later become a dear friend.
An angel of sorts, sent to save me from self-destruction.
I learnt a great deal through our sessions together,
Of how not every big individual is a tough guy looking for a fight.
Of how the toughest of individuals have deeper inner struggles.
Of how we all need an outlet for anger.
Of how the first step to positive change is accepting that there’s something wrong, to begin with.
Of how something as violent as boxing, can teach a lot about discipline and anger-management.
Of how never to throw a punch at a larger opponent.
Of how never needing to throw a punch at all.
Of understanding a situation before making a judgement.
Of how just because someone is staring at me, doesn’t mean they’re looking for trouble.
And most of all, “Go Ahead, make my day” is only cool when Clint Eastwood says it in the movies.
Thank you for reading.