Thursday, March 1, 2012

I have nothing to prove, not even to myself.

I've lamented recently that I had lost the courage that I had as a white belt. That current Megan isn't as brave as  the one that jumped into that line of galloping men two years ago. I still remember the breath that launched me onto the mats, and I realized today that all that is true.

Courage is overcoming fear...and I was afraid...though not only of the warmups and the drills, but also of what it would mean if I turned around and got back in that car. With every nervous text sent out to a friend, every mirror pep-talk in the gym bathroom, there was a deeper, purer trembling inside me. A trembling to which, in my courage, I succumbed and I used. "If I quit, who will I be?" For every ounce of courage I mustered to overcome my past self, there was equal fear fleeing a potential future. That alternate version of Megan scared me more than any number of up-downs or ukemi. I had to prove to myself that I was stronger than that fear.

And I did.

And I needed to.

Today though, is different. It would be a terrible thing to spend my days running from, or even toward, myself. My best friend wrote a post addressing competition with self just when I was getting over my turfed toe last year. It's summed up best in this line..

...but I am moving away from competing with myself mantra and focusing on how much I love this art. 

I go to class not because I'm scared of what 40 year old Megan will look back and see...not because I fear letting down my team or women or friends. I now go to learn and grow in something I enjoy and share with people I like being around. I train because this is now a part of my life. How much? That will change, ebb and flow, no doubt, and I in turn will adjust.

I believe that neither quitting nor succumbing to fears are inherently bad. There is skill and value in knowing when to quit and when to give in...we are limited creatures with limited resources, strength and will, and opportunity cost is very real. So yes, I'm less brave and yet more confident. I am finding newer, cleaner, calmer motivations.


Jamal said...

Nice... "Live Boldly".

Megan said...

...I see what you did there.

A.D. McClish said...

I struggle with the same thing, Megan. I think you've got it right. This is supposed to be something fun and beneficial. I make it into pressure and stress sometimes. Thanks for the reminder.