Sunday, August 2, 2009

Its Weird and I Question it.

Its a borrowed phrase from my brother who started out his career airbrushing protruding bones out of anorexic models in print ads designed to sell liquor to flamboyant men. But its the perfect phrase to describe anything that you're not quite comfortable with. Its the perfect phrase to describe my feelings about participating in the sparring (fighting) part of our Tae Kwondo tournament this weekend. I had a great amount of fun entering the "Forms" portion of the contest (totally messed up and made a wrong move, so no medal for me) and breaking boards was an insane amount of fun. The kids even broke boards! (and after witnessing JP break boards, I now know that its absolutely no problem at all should we ever go camping and forget to bring an ax, Jp will be able to split the wood with his problem..) But the sparring...its weird, and I question it. I never understood women like Layla Ali. Why would any woman want to get in a ring and punch another woman? This is not very feminine. Women don't do this.

Unless...all their friends are doing it and they agree they can still be friends afterwards? Is that it?

Ugh. I don't know. My heart is beating with a full blown wave of pure anxiety just thinking about it again. My face is flushed with embarrassment. I'm "Pittin' Out"(sweating) as my friend Lisa McD used to say. I am uncomfortable with fighting. I realized (after I won the gold medal) that my discomfort comes from knowing that I have no idea where the middle place between exchange fighting (which is darn close to non-contact where one "fighter" gives two kicks, and then allows the second "fighter" two kicks. We practice this in class and we almost never make contact) and brawling is. I may have won, but I felt like I lost something in the effort. And because I can't quite put a name to what exactly was lost, the anxiety over it is consuming. I'm imagining in my head that the other women dislike me because I won. Which is ridiculous, because I know I would not have disliked my opponents had they beaten me.

The fact of the matter is, I didn't want to fight, but the more compelling emotion was determination. I refused to give up. I seriously considered not showing up for the sparring. I almost asked my husband how bad would it be if I threw the fight just to get it over with. But there was something inside of me that said it was unacceptable to not give it my best. So I gave them my best and when my son shouted "Use your Blocks Mom!" I used my blocks, and when I heard my gals yelling "You can do it mom!" I found energy I didn't know I had. And when my husband cheered me on yelling "don't give up, do not give up" I kept going, even though I wanted to sit down and let her pummel me. (even though she would not have done that because that's not the way we behave).

Maybe there's a figurative lesson in this for me. Maybe there's a couple of different lessons in this for me. But I've realized that I will probably always remember the sounds of my children and my spouse cheering me on, telling me that I COULD do something that was incredibly difficult for me to do, that I didn't want to do, that I was embarrassed about. And because I had these people "in my corner", I was not defeated. In truth, I did it for them, because I think they needed to see me do my best and not give up. Perhaps I should feel fortunate that my opportunity to show my children how not to give up came in purely recreational form and not some serious thing.

I want to take a permanent marker and write down my predominant emotion on the back of the medal. That way, as time passes and perhaps I may win other medals in the future, I will be able to look back and remember what I have learned from each competition. I may also want to notate that, apparently, I won with my eyes That is according to Gabe, who was jumping up and down and screaming, "Mom, I can't believe it! You won with your eyes closed!" (yeah, because I was trying to decide whether or not to just sit down and take it in the head or not! ) And in case you were wondering...that would be considered extremely poor technique, and I'm lucky that the other gal was just as ready to give up as was I.

And let me not fail to mention how excited my son was to "win" two ribbons, and how proud of him I am for participating. He also did not want to participate in the tournament, he had to be convinced that it would be a fun day, and he thoroughly enjoyed it. I am also extremely excited that I got to see both my big girls break boards WITH THEIR BARE HANDS! (and they don't even take Tae Kwon Do) And JP, he got gold too...for fighting of course! (duh) but he also earned a Bronze medal for forms, which is awesome, because he was working on learning his form all the way up until the night before the tournament.

This was our last weekend before school starts back on Wednesday and I'm really glad we were able to spend it with so many friends and soon-to-be friends, even if we had to kick some booty to meet them. ;)

**edit** I just figured out what I lost! My fear of success. My dad has always asked me why am I afraid to succeed. Maybe, just maybe, my fear of success has been shot in the heart. That would be a good thing. I suddenly realize that embarrassment is not the appropriate (even if very real)emotion. Apparently I have issues. But that's been long established, right?


Dawn Parsons Smith said...

Wow! First, congratulations on your win! What a powerful post! You didn't give honored your perservered! What a fantastic lesson for your kids to see in action! You've totally inspired me to move forward with something I committed to recently, but have been having doubts about. Thanks for the inspiring post!

Kristina P. said...

This is so exciting! And it's great that you didn't give up.

Unknown said...

Okay, thatis very very cool. One night I saw female boxers on TV, and while I hate boxing, those girls were tough! I watched teh whole show and cheered them on, wishing I had an ounce of that toughness. Good job!

JJuracan and family said...

I am officially inspired by you! Inspired, because I can completely relate to the "fear of success" part and inspired because you pushed thru it and WON! Seriously, I think you might just be my hero! Good job girl!!

Heatherlyn said...

Congratulations on doing the tournament and its just an added bonus to win. It is wonderful to have family. I think one of the main purposes of family is to encourage us to not give up when that is what we personally feel like doing.

And school starting next Wed? So soon.