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Pain To Get Away From Pain

We spend many hours of our lives trying to get away from pain. Escaping. Reading, watching, doing, drinking. Medicating. Trying to numb pain. Trying to eliminate pain from our daily existence.

It’s an impossible task, a Sisyphean endeavor that we repeat endlessly.

Sometimes the thought occurs to us that, maybe, pain is a one-for-one game. A selection or exchange. Choose this pain instead of that pain. Like when the nurse is readying that needle to stick into your arm and you look away and pinch your leg. Distraction. Focus on the small pain you can control, in hope that the big pain doesn’t swallow you whole.

Maybe that’s why some of us CrossFit. We go into the pain to make the heartbreaking ache of this life more manageable. To get out of our heads and away from the dark memories that live there, sprinkled among new pains that freshly echo. We go into the pain to get out of pain.

Some people probably think that’s messed up. That’s okay. We all deal however we can.

But maybe if you’re lucky in this world, sometimes you get to choose your pain: CrossFit, running, lifting, a physical something. And when you’re unlucky, the pain chooses you: your son’s death, your daughter’s anger, a baby’s cry that went silent, or the beautiful love that left you with only her memory and nothing else, a steady rain that falls in your life daily, one that you just can’t escape, no matter how many umbrellas you carry, and now your clothes are sodden and your feet trudge slowly, slowly — slip, slosh — across the dark, glittering street.


“There is really nothing more to say—except why. But since why is difficult to handle, one must take refuge in how.” — Toni Morrison, “The Bluest Eye”

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This is so true, Lisbeth! I started CrossFit to escape the pain of losing my infant daughter. I thought if I controlled how pain found me, that it would make me stronger when it arrived unannounced at my doorstep again. And after two years of CrossFit, I now know that on bad days, the only thing that makes it better is to get under a barbell. Thank you for your writing,  you are truly an artist and you lift me up on the days when I need it most. Thank you.

lisbethdarsh moderator

@JeanneDennison  Oh wow. So sorry for your loss, Jeanne. I can't even imagine the depth of sadness from such a loss. I'm glad that CrossFit helps you to deal with the pain. And I'm glad I can help in some small way. Big hugs. Thank you for sharing your story.

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