By Eric Beach
In middle school and high school, I was depressed. I was really only happy when I was able to make someone laugh. It's not uncommon for person to find an area where they fit into a group and live there, and there only. We plant our flag and declare, "This is my place! This is how I shall serve the group!" Unfortunately, when we perceive or experience a failure in that area (our role in the group), the hit can be pretty hard and further throw us away from our identity, our authentic self, and deeper into depression.
When depression (or more appropriately despair) hit, I had a routine.
Step one: Self loathe
Step two: Isolate
Step three: listen to music
I had my go to "despair: greatest hits" playlist. Music that kept me in the state of despair, and provided no threat to pulling me out of it. So why do I bring this up? One of those songs came up on Pandora and coincided with the end of today's workout.
It has been 15 years since I let this song carry me through the emotional waves of whatever boulder was dropped into my pond of Self confidence. But today, it moved me in a different way.
15 years ago, I would envision this song playing on my car stereo as someone came upon my wrecked car and found my dead body. I envisioned my funeral and saw all the sad faces. They did love me, I'd tell myself. Perhaps I'll only matter to them in death... In all reality, this song was the soundtrack to my desire to be dead... And Seen. At the time, I wasn't able to see I unconsciously was desperate to be seen.
The song was Epiphany by the band Staind. Take a listen, and when you do, try to put yourself in the mindset of a teenage boy (or girl) who had no clue who the hell he or she was but was desperate for someone the tell them.
Today I heard the song and its lyrics with different ears. I was empowered, no longer powerless. I advocated for that little boy today. These lyrics in particular broke my heart as I pedaled on my trainer and thought about the boy I used to be. "I am nothing more than, a little boy inside, that cries out for attention yet I always try to hide."
Those words speak of something very deep and diverse. Behind the screams of many angry adults can be found a little child that just wants to be seen. I wanted someone to see me, but to be seen is to be vulnerable and to be vulnerable is to open up to the possibility of being hurt. When I was hurt, I felt powerless so I hid as my heart cried out, "PLEASE SOMEBODY, SEE ME!"
Today in my workout, I let that little boy hop on my shoulders and we flew. I closed my eyes and saw him and I swear he smiled. God that felt good.
Thats the power and beauty of sport! When we push ourselves we can safely connect with the pieces of us that have long lain dormant. We can feel the full spectrum of emotion during one session, and inevitably if we're doing battle with our own inner "demons" we'll come to a place where we see behind the scary and find a sad, scared, lonely, and hurting little boy or girl.
When you find them, please hold them. Love them. Let their voice be heard. They've been silenced long enough. Feel their emotion, let them be seen. After you're done, thank them and assure them you'll see them the next time you push yourself to the place where your mind can be no other place than right here, right now.