I was bent over the 100+ lb tire that I was supposed to be flipping over. Instead I stood, staring dejectedly down at the pavement in the middle, trying to catch my breath, trying to convince myself to bend down and lift the object. I looked hopeless as I remained motionless above my tire. Time was passing but not quickly enough. It was the longest 12 minutes of my life. Suddenly I heard a man in the crowd, I didn’t recognize the voice, yet the words were the most motivational I had ever heard said out loud. He screamed over the drone of voices:
“Don’t stop! This is what you live for! This is why you get up in the morning everyday! This is what you thrive on day in and day out!”
He wasn’t yelling at me but he may as well have been. The words hit me like a rock, awakening something that I had forgotten deep inside my soul. Where had that empowerment gone? It was the same enlightening feeling I had felt as a gymnast. Since leaving the sport, I had felt an undeniable void in my life. It had left me feeling miserable and empty. Gymnastics was my “God”, my religion and my first true love. Yet in an attempt to return to the sport, I found to my complete dismay, the joy and passion that had driven me to continue had long since left. I no longer belonged in that arena anymore. It had become a part of my past. As quickly as I had jumped back in, I quietly stepped back out and returned to the monotony of my life.
And yet standing over that tire, there was suddenly a familiar feeling in my heart. It’s hard to put into words exactly what I was experiencing internally. A flame that had been burnt out years before seemed to come back to life, only this time, it was in a different place, time and moment. A determination, a passion and a desire I hadn’t felt for a long time and never like this, never so strongly. It was a feeling of needing to survive, to rise above and to thrive in this new world I had entered.
I glanced up at the girl who was just ahead of me. I took a deep breath, gritted my teeth, narrowed my eyes and bent down to pull the tire up from the ground. A sort of power that came from deep inside me pushed me onward. I no longer felt human; overcoming a fatigue unlike anything I had ever experienced had brought out something divine in me. My drive for competition, for sport and most of all, for life, had returned. I had been re-born in that moment.