August 06, 2019

Open the gift.

So, here's a thought.....
(begat from a personal family story)

I was talking to my husband tonight about family. I observed my older female relatives did not have the opportunities I have been given. When women were barely starting to be hired by police departments in the early 70's, my dad was telling a 5 year old Deborah "You could be a policewoman when you grow up!" I probably laughed as I pranced off to my dance class. The dance class I thrived in, because I was blessed with a flexible, able, strong body. 
Many years after I left dance behind, I decided to take up dad's suggestion and I eventually became a policewoman. A process which revealed that dance ability did not translate to fighting ability, and thus the universe opened a door to Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. And yet another door opened to Arnis-Eskrima (Filipino stick fighting). Over the years, several doors have flung open, hiking, running, jump roping, all things physical laying down before my feet as a red carpet.
My new favorite door these days is competition. The thing I love to hate. The long days comprised of the work/train combination, the satisfaction of a win, the frustration but hard quick lesson of a loss...it's beautiful. A couple weeks ago I had a bit of a fit after a particularly challenging class...one of those "I know NOTHING about jiu jitsu" classes. I actually messaged Valerie Worthington I felt so down. Of course she is brilliant and lent an understanding "ear" in her return message. 
That one awful class rolled into a couple weeks of soreness, tiredness, a cranky neck, a cranky back, a few menopause-y sleepless nights, and an all around rut. Last Thursday, I spoke to a jiu jitsu colleague, Geoff Real, (who is professional fighter), about the frustration of training.  I was feeling like I just wasn't committed enough. He said, "Deb, that's NORMAL." He said even the professional fighters go through a period of wanting to quit the whole thing, but it's part of the process. It was the perfect conversation at the perfect time. I went home that night and dug in forward.
I dug forward to a watershed moment tonight. The miserable parts of training and competition that we all dread, are actually wonderful gifts. My elderly female relatives did not have the opportunity to train, to set a goal and GET TO have a frustrating couple of weeks in training. They didn't GET TO dread the morning of the match, dread walking into the venue, be nervous, be heartbroken after a loss, cry because they trained so hard...These things I once thought were negatives...suddenly like a Transformer they became objects of the most immense, spectacular beauty. 
Suddenly, training through this section of the lady's life looks not like a slog, but like a robe of fine silk, because I have the chance to not only wear it, but step out on a stage and show off the quality of the construction, representing my family's women who came before me. Our band of training women are blessed. At 50-60-70, we are ladies with a hearty set of challenges, family, work, children, and of course, health. I am walking through an open field facing a gazing light and driving stakes tagged with bright neon into the ground using a 50 pound mallet.

The next time you feel tired, like quitting, like it's too hard;  sit yourself down, grab a knife, and tear open that present like a 5-year old on Christmas morning.  That's not misery, it's life throwing you a brass ring.  Look the contents straight in the eye because you CAN and drive forward.

Deborah

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