Who’s tougher than me?

Okay…I confess…half the reason I started boxing was just so that I could enjoy the looks on peoples faces when I told them that I box. Here I am, a blonde girl with a french manicure wearing a pretty sundress…I know for a fact that no one imagines me having a killer cross. The reactions will never ever get old!

I had wanted to box for a long time before I started. I’d never even seen the whole movie Million Dollar Baby, yet everytime I did something remotely physical I’d put my hair in two french braids just so I could pretend I was Maggie. Why did it take me so long to actually take a class? Because I was scared to fail, scared to look stupid, scared to disgrace my gender, scared I wouldn’t be taken seriously, etc.

But I’m sooo happy I took the chance because I’ve found something that I love and something that makes me feel crazy good about myself! Yes, 30 minute sessions with my instructor nearly killed me in the beginning, but the second I realized that I could do double the amount of pushups I had done before I started lessons made it all worth it. When spring came around and I wore tanktops for the first time in the season, I recieved compliments on my arms…MY ARMS! Not my outfit, or my hair, but the muscles in my arms. Boxing has caught me; hook, line, and sinker, and I’m in love with how it makes me feel. I love the sound of my gloves hitting the mitts of my instructor, and the way I can feel people do a double take when they realize that it’s me making that loud noise. This sport makes me want to reach my limit each session, and I never want to lose the muscles and the confidence I have gained.

Recently, I have been looking for a new place to take boxing classes because my current instructor is changing jobs. Of course at first I was upset because I thought this meant the end of boxing for me. Cuz I didn’t want to start from square one with a different instructor! What if my new instructor sucked, or didn’t take me seriously!? But then I realized that I am prepared to move up and challenge myself and not worry about failing; because that is exaclty what boxing has taught me. It has given me confidence, and I hope that I can continue to train elsewhere, maybe start sparring, and in the fall I’d like to join the boxing club at UIUC. I realize that I will miss the challenge of boxing too much to simply just let it go.

I recently read the book Wild by Cheryl Strayed. In the book, there’s a part where she is alone in the woods and is scared, yet she asks herself, “Who’s tougher than me?” and she answers herself, “No one.” Boxing has given me the ability to ask myself the same question and answer, “No one.” So I put my hair in french braids, wrap my hands, and act like it.

Today I went to a boxing club near me and spoke to a man about lessons.

“I would definetly suggest you stay away from boxing classes levels 1 and 2…I would say you should go to the beginner class,” he says politely.

I smile in anticipation, knowing what’s about to happen. I say, “Thank you, but I’ve been boxing for 6+ months.”

His jaw drops.

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