Right now I'm in a jiu jitsu valley of sorts. It's very dark and scary here. I don't like it here but I feel powerless to leave. Maybe sometimes we need to stay in that dark place for a little while to make us appreciate the light when we finally get there. The stress of the last few weeks caught up with me last Thursday, and after a particularly brutal roll, I had an emotional breakdown of epic proportions. It left me questioning my jiu jitsu skills. It left me frustrated and upset and angry. Sometimes as women we get stuck rolling with other women (or girls) that if we were guys of the same size and weight, they would never roll us together (that's my opinion, but I don't think I've ever seen the heaviest guy at the gym rolling with the lightest, smallest guy at the gym). A lot of you women out there can't relate to what I'm saying (or maybe you can but in reverse). I'm a heavyweight in the women's jiu jitsu world. My game is slower, more methodical. It's my style and it works for me. One day I may be lighter and faster, but for now I'm not; I've got to work with what the good lord gave me. Plus, my emotions were very raw that day and there's nothing like nearly getting choked unconscious to make you completely and utterly lose all sense of safety and security...and you feel the waterworks coming and then there's that point of no return and you have to leave the mat and go cry your eyes out in the dressing room because you absolutely refuse to let the boys (and girls) see you cry. Then you're mad at yourself for letting your emotions get the better of you and you're mad at the instructors for making you roll with a kid 32 years younger than yourself...heck, I was just plain mad. More than that though, I'm a lot sad and trying to regain my composure. None of it changes how I feel about jiu jitsu, it just forces me to take a step back and evaluate what I'm doing and what I need to do differently.
I had more than one day this week where I could have trained, but I let that little voice in my head talk me out of it. Sometimes I give in to the dark side. Sometimes I listen to that little voice telling me that I can't or I shouldn't or you'll never be able to. Sometimes I don't have the strength to fight back. I know that this is only temporary. I know that I will find the strength to quiet the little voice (or as my friend says, KILL IT!). I will live to train another day and very soon this jiu jitsu valley that I'm in will be a distant memory. But man oh man, when you're there, it can suck the life right out of you. I'm finding that sometimes I need a little break to take stock of just how far I've come. Heck, when I first started 16 months ago I didn't even have the flexibility to execute a simple armbar. Now I don't even think twice about it. I probably won't armbar you, because you know how much I hate them, I will choke you instead, but it's nice to know that I could if I wanted to!! I guess we'd all like to think that our path to jiu jitsu black belt is a straight line from point A to point B. In reality, it's full of so many loops and curves and dips along the way that we can't even see point A or point B. So, I'm going to try and enjoy the journey more, not sweat the small stuff along the way and worry less about those things that are out of my control. I've come a long way and I have an infinite amount of beautiful jiu jitsu left to learn. That is what keeps me coming back for more...beautiful jiu jitsu...you will be mine one day!!