Friday, June 3, 2011

Jiu Jitsu vs. the Scaredy Cat

I have been my whole life a "scaredy cat".  I was always afraid to try new things.  I never wanted to go first and I never raised my hand in class (even when I knew the answer).  What do you think makes a person such a "scaredy cat"?  I've really spent my life up until now trying to figure out how to wrangle that fear.  I've thrown myself into my work so I would be so good at it I wouldn't ever be afraid (I would always know the answer, always be on top of things and always be the go to gal).  I played it safe so no one would ever see that fear.  I sat on the sidelines and didn't participate (even when I wanted to).  I let myself gain a lot of weight because I was afraid to exercise, telling myself that I might get hurt or embarassed or people might laugh at me.  I could go on, but you probably get the point. 
This is the old me...a big, fluffy scaredy cat!! :)
So what changed?  Well, sadly, my sister died a few years ago very suddenly.  Something inside me changed when that happened.  She was young and it made me realize that all those things that she might have done or wanted to do, she would never be able to do.  So I decided that I didn't want to spend the rest of my life sitting on the sidelines.  I wanted to live out loud.  I absolutely did not want to be controlled by my fear.  It is a slow progression for me, like crawling up out of a dark hole (and it is a deep, dark hole that I spent 44 years digging).  When I started at Elite I can't explain how scared I would be before each and every class, plus the anxiety in between.  I started with cardio kickboxing in November of 2009 and then moved on to women's only Jiu Jitsu class in June of 2010.  Then the unthinkable happened, I fell in love with Jiu Jitsu.  So, with a lot of encouragement from everyone at home and at the gym, I started the adult BJJ class in September of 2010.  I do not think I can even put into words how empowered I felt after making it through that very first adult class.  It was a major milestone for me.  I am still scared (heart pounding and nerves rattling) before and during every class.  But the exhilaration I feel after completing a class is what keeps me going.  It's what tells me I can do this.  I can go out there and try things that scare me and I'm still standing when it's over.  I am not such a "scaredy cat" anymore!!
This is the new me...a lean, mean fighting machine!! LOL...not quite, but I will get there!!
I still get paralyzed by my fear sometimes (just ask anyone who trains with me how I manage to get out of doing Judo rolls or backwards rolls or any kind of roll because they absolutely terrify the holy heck out of me!!).  But I keep going to class.  Even when my fear tries to talk me out of it, I keep going to class.  I will not let fear control how I live my life.  I have absolutely found something I love and I will not let fear stop me from being in the game.  I refuse to sit on the sidelines.  So if you see me in class and I stop dead in my tracks with that deer in the headlights look on my face, don't think I don't understand what we are doing or don't know how to do it or can't do it, it's probably me just having a little mini-battle with my internal fear demon.  Most days I win those battles, but sadly, some days I do not.  But every day I get back up to do battle again and again and again and ultimately I will win the war!  So, for the rest of you out there, what's holding you back, keeping you on the sidelines, or making you stop dead in your tracks and not move forward?  Life is too short and too precious to hide in the shadows and never fully live out loud!!  I am happier and healthier for having found jiu jitsu.  It's my weapon of choice in the battle against fear.  I encourage each and every one of you to find that thing that brings you such pure joy that you forget about your fear and just start living out LOUD!!  :)


  1. Debra, this is a wonderful blog, so honest! Keep up the fantastic work on the blog and the mat.

    Rachael, Sydney, Australia

  2. I am SO glad you are blogging. What a great post. Right now, the fear holding me back is that I will never be as good as everyone else in the class, that I will stop progressing, that I really am no good at jiu jitsu at all. I know it's the little voice, but what a powerful little voice. Time to overcome that fear! Time to let the panther (or pitbull!) come out!