Boxing…… I was never going to box. My sister Lucy boxed and she was a badass, I was a lot of things but badass really wasn’t one of them. I loved cheering for her, talking about her workouts and food prep with her, rehashing sparring with her, but I had ZERO desire to box. Who WANTS to get punched in the face?!?! (Little did I know, getting punched in the face is not the worst place to get punched.) I was content to talk about boxing with Lucy and support her in her endeavor in all the ways I could, but I had no intention of stepping foot in the ring myself.
Fast forward a few years. I had my second child and had several health problems as a result of that. My life was a shell of a life. I could barely do more than work and take care of my kids – I simply had nothing left after fulfilling those two duties. After a year of costly test and appointments (which I am still paying off) it was discovered that I have narcolepsy – BOOM! So much about my life was explained. Starting treatment for that allowed me to begin to start putting my life back together, slowly. Lucy had just started her gym (a dream of hers) and was offering morning boot camp classes. I decided to sign up. I had been excited to do roller derby that winter and due to a change in work schedules I had to quit right after being invited to join the team. Boot camp seemed like a good replacement that worked with my family’s schedule.
After the first boot camp I could barely lift my arms above my head to rinse the shampoo out of my hair – it was AWESOME!! I was hooked. I added another day a week of boot camp, if 2 mornings a week was good then 3 would be even better. I started feeling stronger and more confident than I had in years! Lucy offered a Saturday morning boxing class. I had no interest in boxing but I really wanted to add a fourth day to my workout schedule so I went. I was awful. Nothing about boxing came naturally to me. I was a prancer. I hopped, pranced, and flitted around like a deranged fairy. But something about it was addicting.. I kept going back.
A few weeks later Lucy told me that I could try the more advanced practices on Tuesday and Thursday nights. I declined. I was a joke as a boxer. Plus I was kind of a wussy. There was no way I could cut it in a REAL boxing practice (remember, I spent hours on the phone with Lucy listening to her horror stories about practice – she didn’t think of them as horror stories, but that was all they sounded like to me). Lucy kept telling me I should at least give it a try.
My entire life was kind of crumbling around me in different ways and on different fronts. Working out had provided some sort of weird stability and release so what did I have to lose, I might as well give it a try. I went to my first Tuesday night practice and you know what, I CRUSHED it! Not only could I keep up, but I was actually kind of a badass. I walked out of that first practice with a sense of confidence I had never known or even dreamed about having. I was still awful at boxing but that almost didn’t even matter. I was doing something that I never ever thought I could do. From that moment on my entire view of myself changed. It was a gradual change, but it was a positive change.
I kept pushing myself and finding that every week I could do a little bit more than the week before. Ever so slowly I even started to see improvements in my boxing. They weren’t huge, it still wasn’t coming naturally to me, but I was determined to keep at it. There is something unique about boxing. I can’t put my finger on it exactly, but it is like boxing awakens a strength and courage in you that was there all along but that you had no idea you had. And once you have tapped into that it becomes addicting. You find that you have the strength and courage to break out of ruts and routines and self imposed boundaries that you didn’t even realize you had put on yourself.
I have not been able to box or work out for the past 4 months. I can barely make it through my obligations of work and caring for my children. I have ended up in the ER twice, I have again, have countless test and procedures done. It appears that I have a mystery illness yet again. Sigh.
The difference this time around is that I have confidence in myself and I KNOW that I know my body. So I am not timid about telling the doctor “NO! This is not in my head. I am not depressed. There is SOMETHING wrong with me and I am NOT giving up on myself!!”. I refuse to be bullied into thinking that I am crazy and giving up on myself like I did the first time around with the narcolepsy.
Like I have said all along, I never intended to box, in fact I was fairly determined not to ever box but I am so grateful that it found me despite all my reservations and pushback. I am still not very good at it, but instead of that discouraging me (which is what usually happens when I am not very good at something) it has actually made me even more determined to keep pushing myself and see what I am actually capable of, because as I recently found out I have been severely underestimating myself, my courage and my strength for years. And that is a very empowering realization to make!
A Sister Coach's Response:
A unique side of Molz story is that her coach is her little sister. For those of you who think that you aren't very good, but know that you love boxing, I really encourage you that you never know what your coach or teammates are seeing in you that you honestly can't see in yourself. While we have a unique coaching relationship with being sisters, I could write a piece about many of my boxers with things that they can't seem to see in themselves yet: why I believe in them so much, why I invest in them even when they can't see it yet. In boxing you learn to read people's weaknesses and strengths blindfolded. So if a coach believes in you (even if they've never said it but they keep showing up and giving you their time and attention?), then trust me, they see big things in you and be encouraged. Always remember: Heart and Hard work beat talent alone in the ring and in life every time.
I spent every evening on my way home talking to my sister, telling her about practice. We had a 5pm phone call date as she drove home from work and I mustered the courage and energy to walk into the gym that night. Some nights I was excited and couldn’t wait to tell her about the night, sometimes, I needed her courage and love. Our song is None of Your Business (Salt ‘n Peppa), and if you know us, that fits perfectly. She is my idol in so many ways. I don’t want to be her. I’m my own person that she loves and supports. It’s a way better kind of idol than that: I admire her strength more than she’ll ever actually realize. She’s the golden child in our family, but not because of “sucking up”, because she is exactly her—straight up love in a tiny, firey package. She’s always there for everyone…more than she should ever have to be if the other three of us sisters would get our acts together. She supports her family and our bigger family. She's the breadwinner in hers, and handles all the finances in the family business, but what I mean is way bigger than financial support, I mean supports in every way. She writes letters in an age when I’m surprised the post office exists. She has the rouge sister and her wife over for dinner when she’s still mad just to make sure that, mad or not, they know she loves them deeply. There is no better or fiercer or more loyal mother, sister, daughter, or wife—no matter how mad at you because you disappointed her or not. She still finds a way to fiercely stand by you and encourage you to become your best, and make you laugh while she’s doing it. She moved that straight into the gym the second she joined the boxing team. You come into practice and find surprise "just because I was thinking of you" presents in your bin. She texts to let you know she's praying for that thing you mentioned in practice and how did it go? She meets you for lunch even after you've disappeared from the team, because her caring isn't about you being on the team, it's genuinely one human soul caring deeply about another. Which takes pretty much all the strength in the world.
I have always told her that she would be a better boxer than me. Sure, I ventured there first, but she was the real boxer in the family. She had far more type II muscle fibers, tapped them quickly (I’m a distance/endurance kind of girl), she is fierce beyond anything I’ve ever seen in anyone I’ve ever met. She jokes that her fear goes 1) Dad 2) me 3) the devil, but when I was about to “spar” her for the first time I told my mom that my fears go 1) her 2) Dad 3) the devil. No, of course I wasn’t scared of her hitting me, but I was scared to hit her: that she would truly understand each punch was with love, that she would understand the language of boxing like I did. But she did. I put her on a pedestal that in 31 years of my life she’s never fallen off of. Seriously. Not one time can I think of an instance where she’s fallen from that, no matter how many times I’ve tested her love by my loss of control and ridiculous and selfish choices in life.
When I started my gym, she believed in me more than I believed in myself. She does even now. I absolutely would never have started it without her. That’s a fact. I know she only started boot camp because she wanted to support me and because roller derby (which she killed, by the way) fell through. But she was here. I swear her jokes and laughter while lifting are why my abs finally popped through after years of working on them. Together, we made the perfect team for the gym: I was serious business and reminded you what we were here for, but she made you laugh, relax your muscles, and remember the joy when I didn’t even know how to say it to normal people who didn’t live in the existence of semi darkness that I do sometimes. She completes me, and without her, I just am not. Even more than boxing. Order of people/things I’d give up boxing for? 1) my kids 2) her kids 3) her. End of list. Absolutely, positively, end of list. We aren’t lions den without her. She is as much this gym as I am, and she’s been on the journey the entire time I have.
She jokes the whole time about being determined to tell knock-knock jokes during her first fight to throw off her opponent and relax herself, or how she does this hilarious “CAW” movement like a bird during her second sparring, or how she knows the least out of everyone what her body is about to do. Also: heads up to her first opponent? She’s determined to figure out how to make it past the safety police on her hand taping with devices that will shoot confetti out of her hands while she’s boxing. My favorite moment in the gym is when I walked back into the main room to see her, in these super sparkly pants and sweatshirt, flailing her arm and prancing (she let her shadow boxing carry her all the way away). The first time I sat down to watch, and show our parents, our first sparing video (a clip attached, and I’m the mountain, which is only true in perspective of her) I thought to myself “now THIS is the epitome of a healthy relationship.” She’s my person. She’s my everything besides my kids. I have zero idea what I could do without her.
So maybe you can begin to imagine the pleasure, blessing, and joy of watching her begin to realize all the things about herself that I have always seen and admired and have no words for…I still can’t believe that I had been so blessed to get to show her, even in the tiniest way, my gratitude for her to give her a glimpse into who she is. How did she not know that she’s always been all of this? I want to show her more, and more, and more of herself… She has always been this to everyone around her. They may have not all appreciated it. I know that. And that makes me fiercely angry when I’ve watched people walk on her amazingness. But now she was her again for the first time in probably 10 years, she had been able to look back up out of the haze life had put over her eyes and remember the fierce, on fire with love, absolutely amazing human that she was. Each session I watched as she opened back up more and more, realizing, remembering….There is no better gift I could have ever have been given than that in this life. If Lions Den shuts down tomorrow, it will all have been worth it. There is nothing I could ever get out of boxing or coaching that will be more then getting to open this door for her into who she’s always been, all along.