I don't talk much about my other passions on this blog, but I had a momentous weekend that I want to share. And since it's my blog, I will.
I've been studying Tae Kwon Do for about four years now. I stumbled on it by random happenstance in college when the yoga class I wanted to take was full (which now that I know myself a little better, I laugh at the thought that I ever wanted to do yoga). My dad had studied Tae Kwon Do many years ago, so I thought I would take it to make him proud, and to have something to talk shop with him about. I didn't mean to fall in love.
But I did. Oh, I fell in love instantly. It's a sport suited for my personality, and one of the few exercises I can do that doesn't feel like exercise. It's become a way of life for me, and I can't imagine not having it in my life. I found a great school after college with an incredible community and, if I can brag, the best instructors in Texas. They pushed me, challenged me, wore me out, and taught me the true meaning of DON'T QUIT. I am the fighter I am because of everyone I work out with, and I might not have stuck with it if I didn't have such an incredible group around me every day.
Still, I was nervous for the test. Really. Really. Nervous. Like sick to my stomach couldn't eat well or sleep all week nervous. I'm an upper belt, inching closer to black, which means the tests get harder and harder, especially in the August heat of Texas. When I arrived at the dojang for the first part of the test Friday night my nerves had taken hold so strongly that my hands were shaking. I took a few moments to meditate, repeating my usual mantra of "I will be the strongest, fastest, and best fighter I can be" to myself, but the words weren't working. They were just strung together syllables with no meaning, and my stomach was threatening a mutiny.
But then I remembered an argument I'd made earlier that day, an argument I make to myself and the rest of the world on a daily basis: words matter. They mean something, I just hadn't found the right words for myself yet. So I searched in my mind for the right words to face my fears head on, and came up with the following:
I will be nervous, but I will get on the mat
I will sweat, but I will keep fighting
I will get tired, but I will throw one more kick
I will want to quit, but I will throw one more punch
I will mess up, but I will move on
I will be the strongest, fastest, and best fighter I can be
And you know what? It worked.