Thursday, April 3, 2008

Trying not to think.

Sometimes things are so overwhelming that you just don't want to think about them. Like my black belt test that is less than a month away.

I'm not letting myself think about it. Because if I did, I'd be paralyzed with fear.

If a thought bubbles up unawares, before I can stifle it or suppress it, it is wrought with anxiety and old fears. My eternal identity was as a non-athletic type--the hyper-intellectual, the kind of artsy and creative theater geek, the outdoorsy yoga-ish weekend exerciser (but easily winded when climbing mountains), the voluptuous (used in the way that women do when they are a little overweight and don't want to say "fat" because it's both ugly and inaccurate) woman, the occasional do-gooder...

"I can't" was an essential part of my gym class vocabulary.

Sure, I've been working out semi-regularly since college (especially loving step aerobics classes), but I've never thought of myself as strong or physically coordinated. And the thought of me having a black belt in any kind of martial art seems external. Does not compute. It shuts my brain down. I cannot reconcile my beliefs of what a martial artist is with my self image.

So, sad to say, I am coping by eating too much--chocolate, cheese, pizza, frying up homemade hash browns, etc. It doesn't help that I'm PMSing.

It's so ironic that I'm subconsciously fighting myself becoming a true athlete with my binges. It does help to label it, but if I'm going to stop, I'll have to acknowledge the fear of this test I will take at the end of the month. The consuming fear, not just that I won't pass, but that I, that girl whose soccer coach told her parents that she'd never play well because she's not aggressive or whose basketball coach said she was afraid of winning, am somehow incapable of passing. That no matter how well I can work the forms or spar, that the judges who don't even speak my language will see into my heart (like those statues in The Neverending Story could do) and know my fear. That they'll intuit it's impossible for me to achieve it--that the universe would have to realign itself for Diana to become a successful anything related to sports.

And yet... the test itself is inconsequential. My body has already changed, adapted to the daily workouts and learned the moves despite my brain trying to convince it that I can't. I'm stronger than I've ever been in my life (not necessarily the thinnest I've been, but that's a different story). I can do more with my body than I knew possible. Like skiing my first black diamond rather easily this winter and learning to swing dance and being told that I pick it up quickly (shock!).

I'm already more confident. I already know how to do this stuff.

I just have to spend this month learning how to believe this. That may be harder than learning the eighth poomsae.

1 comment:

  1. Darlin', you call it a "The consuming fear." And then you eat to deal with it. Not surprising the tricks our psychological selves play on us. Writing about it should make it better. I have great faith that you will black-belt your way to success this time, or the next (one thing you have never been is someone who gives up!).

    Love,
    Mom

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