Cinderella Woman


I have to believe that when things are bad, I can change them.
–          Jim Braddock, Cinderella Man

It’s been awhile since I’ve truly pursued something purely for myself. Yes, one could say that pursuing my MBA is something that I’m doing for me, but in reality, it is something I am doing for the future version of Sam. What I’m talking about is finding a passion for something – practicing, improving, mastering – I am yearning to feel a sense of accomplishment. And lately, my life has been nothing but massive family drama and tension at work. Plenty of people have told me that your twenties is the prime time to be selfish. And to be honest, I want to be selfish. I do believe each of us should take time to build and focus on ourselves and pursue things that bring us happiness.

That being said, I find happiness in trying new things and finding new challenges. I constantly try and expose myself to anything and everything this world has to offer. From giving sea urchin a couple of tries (side note: I don’t recommend it) to driving down random dirt roads just to see a string of scenic windmills, I don’t want to miss out on anything. The past two weeks have been especially rough, and I have found myself consumed with endless amounts of rage, hurt, and anger. And expending all this energy on being that frustrated with my circumstances is exhausting to say the least. But no more. I began reflecting on everything and realized that the best way for me to bounce back would be to throw all that negative energy into something and transform it into something positive for my life. And for me.

Because I’ve always been a fitness fanatic, I have been contemplating taking up boxing for a few months now. Two of my all-time favorite movies, involving two of my all-time favorite actors, are stories about boxers: Rocky and Cinderella Man. I can still remember the first time I ever watched those movies – I was flat on my back, with a year-long recovery ahead due to spinal surgery. But I watched those films (my dad deserves a medal for how many times he had to come home from work and see Sylvester Stallone on the television screen) and as absurdly cheesy as it sounds, they gave me motivation to heal faster. The doctors said I wouldn’t be able to run for over a year – I watched Rocky run up those steps and I was running within eight months. I listened to James Braddock as he continually fought back (literally and figuratively) during the Depression. And all I could think as I lay there was if I throw all my energy into healing rather than feeling sorry for myself, I could drastically speed up this healing process.

Lately though, there has always been some excuse – busy with classes or work or a corneal ulcer – I never actually followed through on my desire. And then earlier this week, I decided to set all the bullshit at work and with my family aside, and turn my focus inward. And so I walked into a boxing gym, and two days later, I signed up for a 12-month membership.

Two boxing lessons later, I can already say that this was an excellent decision on my part. Kudos, Sam. I am absolutely loving every minute of it. Taking out all of your pent up aggression on a 200-lb. boxing bag does wonders for the mind. And let’s face it, it ain’t half bad for the body either. Let me share a little secret with y’all: boxing is the true “chicken soup” for the soul. There are still plenty of negative circumstances circling me at the moment, but that harmful energy is no longer penetrating this “steel exterior.” My boxing instructor’s words, not mine. I find myself more motivated, energized, and happier. Which is strange considering everything occurring in my personal life. But ultimately, our decision to be happy is just that: it’s a decision. A choice we have to consciously make to improve our own lives. Believe it or not, we are in full control of our own moods and emotions. That does not mean our problems are an easy fix, because typically they aren’t; it just means that we can either let our challenges consume us or we can beat them. Again, literally and figuratively.

We have to be the sole sources of our own happiness. And it is our responsibility to figure out the best way to unlock that inner happiness. For some, it’s a good book, a cup of tea, and a hammock; for others, it is riding a wave on a surfboard. For me, it’s an early morning sunrise, hand wraps, gloves, and a bag. Some write, some dance, some run – but we all have to fight.


  1. surprisinglynerdy says:

    I LOVE this! Perfect timing, Collin just saw Rocky for the first time on Sunday night. Such an epic and inspirational movie.

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