Strength Is My Ceremony

Strength Is My Ceremony

Rituals have been a part of the human experience from the very beginning. Regardless of the persons performing them or the reasons they feel compelled to do so, they can be found everywhere you look. Everyone has a ritual.

I have mine.

The gym is my sequestered place; it’s where I go when I’m anxious, when I’m furious, when I’m depressed. It is a safe haven for both my body and mind. When life boils over to a point that I don’t wish to bear at that moment in time, I flee there.

There are men who ritualize their faith in something greater than themselves, who perform ceremonies of atonement in the hopes that their god will forgive them their trespasses. Like them, I ascribe to something greater than myself, although I can not blindly place my fate in things I can not see or touch.

I smell the stale metal, my nose is filled with the mustiness of the iron and sweat.

I can hear the clanging of steel plates and the thud of barbells louder and more clearly than I’ve ever heard any call from some higher power.

I lay myself bare at my altars: The Bench. The Deadlift platform. The Monolift. I offer up everything my body has to give when I step up to them, atoning not to any god or prophet, but to myself. Seeking redemption from my wrongdoings and shortcomings. Searching for an outlet to expel my hurt and anger, a means to forgive those around me when my mind clings to the faults of others.

My heart pumps the blood in my body faster each time I wrap my hands around the bar. I feel it pressing into my palms and digging into my back. Those tiny, sharp, knurled teeth bite into my skin and let me know that I am exactly where I belong. I experience the struggle between my body and the bar and in that moment absolutely nothing else matters. I do it again, and again.

This is my ritual. The actions I continuously perform, in a place that I have come to revere. A means of escape and an expression of love.

Find your ritual. Embrace it. Lose yourself in it. Build yourself through it.

-Emery Mullen @Emery_Mullen