The air is thick with excitement from the on-lookers ready to see someone go down. They are ready to see someone get punched with an iron fist and get laid out flat.
Not a real iron fist of course, but a fist so strong it feels like metal is hidden somewhere in that glove.
The crowd is getting fired up as the seconds from the clock tick away.
Tick away to where, no one really knows or cares.
Then just like that, it is here.
Fight time is here.
The fighters are introduced one at a time.
A hush so intense falls over the crowd. You can hear the metallic cloth rubbing together of the fighter’s shorts as she walks into the ring. You can see the sweat glisten on her body as the fighter steps in and out of the spotlight.
“In this corner, we have the defending champion” blares out of the speakers.
She is adorned with gold from head to toe and has a look in her eye that scares even the on-lookers who are thanking God right now that it isn’t them who must fight this beast.
“And in the other corner, we have a newbie here at the ring. She comes to us from Austin, with no prior training in this field of fighting. Our surprise guest is such a surprise, she doesn’t even know she will be fighting until right at this moment.”
“Renee, come on down.”
I look around to see who else is named Renee.
How bizarre I think to myself. Why would they make a surprise guest fight?
Then I notice, no one stands up.
You can feel the crowd getting more inpatient by the second as everyone's anxiety starts to grow.
The spot light is now shinning its harsh light into my eyes. I put my arm up to shield the direct beam assault.
My heart jumps into my throat as I think to myself this is a cruel joke to be playing on me.
Don’t these people know my right leg is numb from one too many brain surgeries?
Don’t these people know I have had cancer one too many times?
Don’t these people care?All eyes are on me now. The crowd goes quiet, just looking at me. Just waiting to see what I will do.
I don’t know what to do.
Then I hear it from deep in my heart whispering to me that I have to do this. This whisper tells me I will be ok – more than ok. I will be great.I tell my heart I don’t want to. I don’t want to go. I didn’t sign up for this shit. Someone else signed up for it – not me.
There it is again, my name being called out over the loud booming speaker that echoes off the walls and around in my head. The intense stares from the crowd are starting to eat into my soul.I know I can’t get out of this. I don’t know how I got into this, but I know I can’t walk away from it.
These people came to see a fight and they won’t leave until they do.Somewhere, somehow I am now walking up to the ring.
I guess to fight, but to tell the truth I have no idea. I don’t feel myself thinking about walking, my feet are just moving.
I have never fought before. I have never hit someone nor had someone hit me.How is this happening to me, keeps running through my head.
Then there I am looking at myself like I am looking in a full-length mirror, but there is a shine in my eye I have never noticed before.I am not sure who is who.
Who am I?Am I in the mirror?
Am I in the ring?The announcer tells us to shake on a fair fight as he grabs our hands to reach them out to touch one and other in the middle. It takes all I have not pull my hand back to my side. All I can think at this point is the sooner this starts, the sooner it will be over.
I try to yell out, that it is me. Both of the fighters are me.No one seems to notice.
We do some fancy foot work around each other for what seems like eternity.I hear a voice from the crowd yell out, "do it – hit her."
I wanted to look at who was yelling this but I knew I couldn’t look away.
I held my breath, locked eyes with myself and sent my fist flying through the air with a force I didn’t know I had in me.Then that was it.
The mirror image of me stepped towards me and hugged me. One of the tightest, whole hearted hugs I have ever felt.Every ounce of guilt, anger, judgment and all the black ick I had held over my own head for all my life came crumbling down.
Once I realized what was happening, that I was reaching into hug myself, I crumbled into me.
I realized that I was forgiving myself for all that had happened in my life.
For all that I have blamed myself for all these years.
For all the guilt I have lugged around with me for too long.Then, I heard it again.
That voice that was so kind and gentle it was almost magical.It said, "I knew you could do it.
All you had to do was believe in yourself as much as others do."