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No Pain, No Gain

Pain. A four letter word with so much meaning. According to Webster’s New World Dictionary, pain is the distress or suffering, mental or physical, caused by great anxiety, anguish, grief, disappointment, etc. Pain isn’t limited to only those things. Pain is the feeling I get deep inside my body when something goes wrong; the feeling of my heart aching.


To me, pain is deeper than just a dictionary definition.


There’s many kinds of pain, and they’re all different. Physical pain, and emotional pain such as losing someone, or watching someone else go through pain, and not being able to help them.  To me, they all feel different as well. Some more severe than others.

I can hear the familiar thud of my tennis shoes hitting the treadmill repeatedly. It slows down, and then speeds up. My legs are on fire, and it feels as if a knife is stabbing me in the side. My body yells at me to stop running, that I am at my breaking point, but I continue on.


The music coming out of my ear buds helps me forget a little about the discomfort cursing through my muscles. My body continues to tell me to stop, but my brain tells me I have to keep going to achieve my fitness goals. I look around the gym, and I see people standing around doing nothing, and it angers me because they aren’t feeling the same pain I am.


The treadmill slows to walking pace, and the pain vanishes away after my heavy breathing slows down. Sweat drips down my forehead, and I can taste the salt from the sweat, on my lips. I see my reflection in the treadmill’s TV, and I look exhausted. I am exhausted. It looks as if I’ve been at war with the treadmill, the victor unknown.

 

I still perfectly remember the day when I first saw Micah. The girls in my class had been talking about a new boy who was moving to town, and not to mention, he was cute too. I was standing in the 7th and 8th grade second pod when I saw him walk by for the first time. He walked with a graceful motion that all the cool guys had, and my heart sank. I had never felt that feeling before, the feeling where I instantly wanted to get to know someone. It wasn’t just because I thought he was cute either, it was a deep feeling in my gut that told me I had to get to know him better. A gut feeling that drew me to him.


I knew Micah probably didn’t feel the same way I did when he first saw me, but that didn’t phase me. I was determined to get to know this guy, and I wouldn’t give up yet. About a month after he moved to town, I still hadn’t talked to him. I remember my friend telling me that she heard he was talking to another girl at our school, and once again my heart sank. This time, it wasn’t from his smooth walk, or good looks, it was because I felt that kind pain for the first time. The type of pain that comes from wanting something you can’t have. The type of pain that makes my chest feel empty, and like my stomach is being ripped apart.

 

Recently my friend’s mother passed away from cancer. It was a long fought battle, with many ups, and downs. I’m sure the the fight was incredibly painful for her mother. Not only was it painful for her; it was painful for Jada, and the rest of Jada’s family. I went to the wake, and when I gave Jada a hug, I started crying instantly. I couldn’t imagine what she was going through. That evening going to the wake, I got to walk in with my mom, and leave with her too, while Jada’s mom lay in a coffin, lifeless, ten feet away. I felt selfish, but grateful I still had my mom, and mournful that she would never have a mother by her side through the milestones in her life--like going on a date, getting accepted to a college, walking down the aisle to marry the man she loves, or having her first child.

I met Chase at a family friend’s wedding when I was twelve-years-old. He asked me to dance, and I was hesitant at first, but I of course ended up saying yes. Chase was three years older than me, but I decided to give him a chance. We texted on and off for a couple months, and he would often talk about the bad things in his life, such as, how he didn’t have many friends, or how he felt his parents didn’t love him. I would try to talk to him about it, and I like to think I made him feel better about it at times. But that wasn’t enough.


I was the last person to talk to Chase before he ended his own life.


Why must we go through pain? A question, I’m not sure anyone can answer. All I know is that pain comes from love. The love I have for my body when I’m in shape helps me push through the physical pain of working out, because I know without that pain I won’t get that body I strive so much for. The love I had for Micah when I first saw him, only to have to suffer watching him be with someone else. The love I have for my mother, and knowing I wouldn’t be able to handle it if she passed away. I believe that is a huge reason I felt so sad for Jada, not only because she had to go through that, but because I can’t imagine myself in her shoes. The love I had for Chase because I felt so bad for him, and didn’t know why he had to feel the way he did.

Bret Harte once said, “Never a lip is curved with pain that can’t be kissed into smiles again.” Getting through pain is what makes a person strong, and it makes a person who they are. Pain is temporary, and it is relieved in different ways, but no one can ever truly escape it. Fortunately for me, I don’t have to run forever, and I’ve now been dating Micah for four years. Unfortunately for Jada, she’ll always feel that pain of losing her mom at such a young age. For Chase, the answer for him, was ending his pain forever. I hope he is at peace now, and no longer feels that pain he once felt. When I think of Jada and Chase, I feel a familiar aching pain in my heart for what they had to endure.






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