November 24, 2012 by cieramilo
I have worked since I was 14. My first job was with my county leisure services serving concessions at little league games – handing out hotdogs from a 9×9 cement box in the middle of a south Georgia summer. Since then I’ve been a secretary, waitress, barista, store clerk, cook, manager, barback, nanny, and I’ve even done some landscaping. Through high school, college, and college again, I’ve always had something on the side. At one point, I was working 30 hours a week, going to school full time, and helping to run a program of a nonprofit that consumed my every passion – emotional breakdown ensued. But you just keep going.
At a young age, my mother actually sat me down to have the independence talk: no one is going to hand you anything or take care of you, so you have to make sure that you do everything you can to be your own woman. I honestly think I was 5 when she told me this the first time. And I get this speech a lot…especially during the holidays or when I bring a boy home. Of all the things my mother has taught me – how to dress for an interview, how to go on a first/second/fifth date, how to make homemade cinnamon rolls – I think I’m most thankful for the independence talk. I believe that I am more confident and more ….myself …because I know that no matter what, I can make ends meet (with a little faith too).
I was in a period of semi-employment when I decided to start boxing. Every fiber of my being needed to work and work hard, and my job as a grocery store clerk wasn’t cutting it. When I got in and got started – I knew there was no turning back. And now that I have started a new job, a new career, boxing is a new way to make ends meet. Hm….interesting metaphor.
Today marks the two month mark. On one hand, I am thankful for 60 more days to train; on the other, I cannot WAIT for the big day when I get to use all this knowledge and skill in 3 two minute rounds. I had a coach somewhere along the way that said, you know you’re in your game when you can’t wait for the ball to come your way. It feels good to know I’m getting in to my game.
In practice today, I was reminded of those days sweating my ass off in a kitchen, elbow deep in pimento cheese; and those days when the last thing I wanted to do was deal with the heavy issue of human trafficking…and then pray; and still yet those days when every customer/coworker/manager seemed to have something mean to say to me. The truth of ti is: when you want something, there will come a time when you don’t want to go after it anymore.
After training hard yesterday and still being sore from Wednesday’s beating, the long rounds we did today seemed like they took forever. I know it was only four minutes, but sparring with a skilled boxer and a professional fighter for four minutes seems like an eternity….then do that 5 times. Today was supposed to be kind of “chill,” (just four-by-four rounds, not the usual 5×5 or more.) but I am constantly reminded that I have a very real opponent who is preparing to throw very real punches. So, I went an extra round. I needed more work on the slips and counters. I needed to think and move faster. I was freaking exhausted, but – so thankful – my sparring partner said, “I think you can go again…”
Something about that. Something about digging in and pushing through the tired proves to yourself that YOU have it in you to make ends meet.