I'm actually not against SeaWorld. I read this article about SeaWorld's CEO Joel Manby in Fortune Magazine last September and I think it's a worthwhile read. We know a lot more about marine mammals in 2017 than we did when Tilikum was caught in 1983. You can't just dump a whole bunch of animals who have come to rely on human care back into the ocean. My favorite place in the whole wide world as a middle school student was the Dolphin Research Center, and I think they're doing some great work. If anyone wants to make a trip to Grassy Key with me, holler at your girl.
Anyway, there is a point to this post. I had so much anger and frustration trapped in me that I was clearly on a path to self-destruction. I was going to be dead within five years. I had no constructive way to express or release the feelings I didn't let myself have and I just became really fucking mean. I felt trapped in a city I hated, surrounded by literally millions of people to whom I had no connection, and I didn't know what to do besides work all of the time and get really drunk. I understand the frustration Tilikum must have felt living 34 of his 36 years in a fucking glass tank with a bunch of idiots screeching at him. That's how I felt about the subway.
If you feel that angry, that hopeless, that numb to everything and everyone, please know that there is no reason you have to live this way. I found my way out through CrossFit. When I'm having a really fucking bad day and I am so ready to revert back to my terrible ways, I go to the barbell. There is something so liberating about moving some weight around. (But please don't drop the bar with 10s on it because it breaks the 10s and damages the bar.) I still get angry and sometimes I feel trapped and I'm usually always stressed out, but putting everything I have into the workout has allowed me to strip away the barriers I created to function in a world that I couldn't handle. I am at my least defensive, most open, and genuinely friendly when I am in a CrossFit box.
Find the thing that lets you be the best version of yourself. For some, it's their faith. I knew I was going to really like my church when my pastor mentioned during a sermon that he does CrossFit. I may have reformed some of my bad girl ways, but I'm certainly not perfect. I still have commitment issues. I still smoke. I started drinking Diet Coke again after two years of that soda-free life. But I also learned to let people in and to ask for help and to tell people I care about them. I have real friends now, y'all.
So today I am thankful for the lessons I learned from Tilikum. If you are pretty enough, people will let you do whatever you want without consequence, but that won't necessarily make you happy. If you are trapped, figuratively or literally, in a situation that makes you angry, you will get defensive and aggressive. He might not have had the means to get out of his tank, but I did and I'm really grateful.
Tilikum, you were the world's most beautiful serial killer and I loved you.