It was a cool may 11 Spring night at the Danforth Gerrard area, in Toronto Ontario. I am a pro wrestling fan and have been one for a while now, it’s a tricky and somewhat unnatural thing to be a fan of, and to invest time in your life in watching and being fan can be somewhat intimidating. It’s not something really that can be a thing you can confidently tell people in a group, or a public setting without getting a weird eye stare or some confusion headed back your way. So for years i kinda made it a quiet and unknown thing, because i was never really sure how people would react, and the constant banter back of people saying “you know it’s fake right?”. Yes i do know it is “fake” and predetermined in which it is discussed mostly throughout backstage, sometimes well before the show starts. But me being a fan has nothing to do with the scripts but instead me being a fan of the stories the talented athletes are able to tell inside a ring.
Like I said this was my first time going to a wrestling show that was not wwe, and that it would just be me going. I walked into the arena -when not used as a Ring Of Honor Independent show- is used as a minor midget hockey arena, so space was not existing if you didn’t come early enough. Luckily the views from where i was, high up before you enter your seats, where good enough that I never complained. The place was packed with wrestling fans from all over, and so packed you couldn’t look left or right without bumping shoulders, but it felt comfortable and home warming. A weird feeling but I felt right at home in a building full of strangers, and it made me feel better about trying to break open a shell.
Anxiety for me was and still is in someways all about living in a shell, and not having enough confidence or action to break out and just be ok being me. Being a wrestling fan-at least in my eyes- is kinda the same thing. You are in a shell with a different kind of crowd that only you as a wrestling fan, can understand and it creates somewhat of a family that can love and sometimes hate such a weird and interesting concept of life. I felt wanted and able to have fun as myself as I and hundreds others were able to watch some of our favorite athletes compete and tell a story, and it helped later that I and others were able to meet the performers afterwards as it gave both the fan in me and the performers a rare chance to connect and hear their stories.
From being able to enjoy myself in an environment like a wrestling event, where I can share the same joy and memories with many others, to having the courage to getting help by a professional therapist on my own, I am more willing to be myself and more willing to be ok with what I am and what I can or can’t do. Anxiety is still an issue for me but I know what to do when it hits, and that is to believe in myself, and remember that one night at the Ted Reeve Arena and remember on the fun I had, and being ok with what I am, and what I was on that cold night.