Onyx being a properly apt fight gym, most of the time when the word "fight" surfaces, it is mostly about the physical altercation between 2 parties. But not all the fights are physical. Sometimes, it is solitary, like how people say "mind over matter" and stuff like that. My story, and and my fight, is solitary, and very alone. But my fight is different. My opponent was depression.
I can't remember the onset of my depression nor identify the earlier symptoms exactly now. But I would supposed that it was the accumulation of life events over the years. I struggled alot in my earlier years in Singapore. Coming over alone to Singapore to pursue my diploma in Nursing, I got my first shock when I found out that I did not have the S$3,000 that was required for enrolment into Nanyang Poly. I was mortified at the cost and thought to myself that no way I'm gonna be able to do this. Thankfully, and I'm still grateful till today, my granduncle in Singapore loaned me the money.
With a financial start off like this, I wasn't going to survive very well in Singapore. Even though I was on a scholarship of sort, it was difficult trying to make ends meet. I was trying to pay for the polytechnic tuition fees, and my bare minimal expenses. So I broke rules, and worked odd jobs, at odd hours. Whatever I can find to make some money.
It didn't help that I was abit of a stubborn mule. I refused money or any sort of external help from my friends or family. And I kept everything to myself, financially, or emotionally. It builds up I tell you. These small "stresses" that you feel every now and then, accumulates. I started locking myself up and wanted just to be alone. Soon, my close friends realised, but I was clever; I thanked them and made them feel like I was actually better.
Except I was not.
When one is in a state of depression, sometimes I just hope that there is somehow a glimmer of hope or light that will shine through. I looked for these lights in my relationships. But there's never light. Worse, darkness of cheating and sour relationships ensued all the years. The icing on this depressing cake will be the sexual harassment/assault that I suffered from a friend (or so I thought). I was lucky; he stopped after I stopped struggling. I guess the prey is no fun when it doesn't struggle for its life.
Realising that I needed to fight back
Things got a little clearer when I graduated, and the weight of paying for tuition fees was lifted off me. But the scars of depression left my life in greyscale, and I maintained my stance of being alone, and kept in solitude. I embraced the idea of being at my limits, hence I regularly and actively powerlift. My lifting journey brought me to NutriGirl, where I met Onyx. For the NutriGirl contest, my sole aim was to lose weight and lose weight and lose weight. I was introduced to Muay Thai, and to me back then, doing Muay Thai in Onyx was the perfect solution to my weight losing needs.
Initially, in my earlier days in Onyx, I was a lone ranger. Kind of like the renegade samurai, come and go like the wind. I was very determined to lose weight, and I made it for classes regularly, if not daily. I'd wake up at 530am every day, and make it for the 7am class, before rushing off for work. Where I can, I'd return in the evening for the night classes.
You can't really keep quiet or keep to yourself in Onyx for very long. While I kept to myself largely, the trainers will not let you off alone easily. I remembered the 7am classes where there will be a standard playlist from G.E.M. and her sweet voice sounding out the golden canto hits. I swear, for the 3 months that I was losing weight at Onyx, it was G.E.M.'s playlist every morning at 7am. EVERY SINGLE MORNING.
Little things like these made me smile bit by bit. I'd often be "disturbed" by the trainers and they'd tell me that they scared, cause I "got ang gong". Other times, they will pretend to swoon over my healthy meals and chant "WAH WAH WAH BOJIO", while actually they are eating all the most sinful items on the menu. Chocolate will often call me an ah lian, again because I'm inked. Before long, I realised that I actually have a family.
After NutriGirl, I was egged on to try BJJ. You know how females, or males even, will say they don't wanna try BJJ because there's alot of contact and such. I would think that my history with sexual harassment puts me right up there in that discomfort zone. I was pretty sure I'm going to hate the physical contact. But I tried.
I disliked the physical contact. It reminded me of the past. But I was so intrigued by the art, and touched by the sincerity and passion of my coach, that I gave it another try, and one after another. Months past, and BJJ has taken a hold of my life. I learnt more than techniques, I learnt about life.
Take one instance. I was off work, and just enthus to head down to Onyx for my usual BJJ class. I was ready to smash it in training, and work on the moves I've researched and fantasised about all day long. My rolling partner for the day, however, didn't share the same sentiments. He had a tough day, and wasn't in the mood. I too, got affected and "matched" his mood, forgetting that I came, eager to train.
I reflected upon my presentation after class. What came to me was that there's actually a point in the event of things that I had a choice. I could either, one, sink and sulk together with my training partner and indulge in negativity, or I could actually put the positivity back on me, and him as well. There is always a choice.
Situation and instances like this happen occasionally, and it is all part of self actualisation. I've learnt to see my past, my depression and learnt to emerge out of it. Being in Onyx, it is almost always about being in a state of discomfort, and definitely out of your comfort zone. But in actual fact, it was more like I was getting "comfortable" in my depressive state.
I'm much better now. These days, I feel good about life and myself too. I'm still stressed, but mostly because I can't seem to get a technique right, or because of my urge to improve and train myself for my virgin competition.
Learn to change, embrace the crossing of the comfort zone line. Stay challenged. Everything, even the bad, will eventually fall into place.
I've found my place, have you found yours?