The No-Pain-No-Gain Caveat

There is an exception to the rule of workouts.  Not all pain is good pain.  And, not knowing the difference can kill you.  More likely, though, it will just ruin your interest in the sport of physical fitness.

For me, I could never really enjoy workouts.  Although I was gaining somewhat from them, there was just too much pain associated with it.  What I didn’t know, and what no one else understood, was that the kind of pain I was experiencing was not normal, and not healthy.  Add to this, my family’s standard negative reaction to anything I did, the psychology disappointment only reinforced the physical discomfort I was experiencing and boom, that was the end of workouts for me.  As a young teen, even when I tried to explain to my family that there was something wrong, the chose to not listen but instead pelted me with accusations of laziness, lack of character, lack of discipline, stupidity, etc.

Some time later, during my first attempt to join the Navy, it was discovered in an X-ray that I had scoliosis – curvature of the spine. Any time I move bones rub against bones and is most definitely painful.  This is not the kind of pain they are talking about in the “no pain on gain” mantra. There is not getting over this kind of pain, this kind of pain does not go away in time.

I also noticed that when I worked out with weights that my body shape was growing asymmetrically. One side of my chest was growing larger, muscularly, than the other side. The one side of my back grew more than the other.  One of my legs has more mobility and flexibility than the other.  One shoulder is higher than the other. And as I continued to workout, this lopsidedness only became worse.  Even after explaining this to my father, the only thing he did was chide me for being a quitter. On the other hand, he never suggested help on how to remedy this particular problem.  Sadly for me, the only way to “connect” with my father was within sports. He had no interests outside of sports, and didn’t bother trying out anything that I was interested in.  At the age of 14 or so, I beat him at a game of chess.  He would never play chess with me again after that. (thanks, Dad).

It have become aware of a great many things in the past few years, about my life growing up in my family. Of particular note, my parents were actually aware of my skeletal deformity, slight though it may be, since my birth. They figured that just denying this little reality of myself was better than teaching me how to overcome it. Actually, denial is one of the hallmarks of my family. This might actually be working for them, as they make their way through life, but for me and my particular issues of Aspergers and physical limitations, denial of these realities nearly killed me – instead my path through life became unnecessarily difficult.  To this day, many decades later, I’m still struggling against all this crap from my child and teen years.


About Kevin Barbieux

I have been diagnosed as being chronically homeless. I write about my experiences and opinions of being homeless
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