One of the biggest things I have come to love about writing about jiu-jitsu is how much it helps me work through my problems. I don’t exactly have an abundance of free time at the moment, but man, do I need to work through some shit.
It’s not really a new story or experience. If you’ve read any of my posts you know that I’ve got some pretty big emotional/mental issues. I’ll probably never share with the world what those stem from. There’s a part of me that wishes I could, just for the simple fact that maybe it would help the people around me understand me a little better. But, yeah. Can’t go there.
What I will tell you is that yesterday was a bad day. A really bad day. For the most part I feel like I do a pretty good job of thwarting and handling the issues I have, but sometimes, there are triggers that really mess me up. And by mess me up I mean that I start throwing the confetti at my pity party.
“I don’t understand.”
“Why did this happen?”
“Why can’t I just be normal?”
“When will life and just existing ever be easy?”
“Will I ever feel normal?”
“I’m exhausted of being me.”
“I hate being this way.”
I am usually very anti-play-the-victim. I’ve always tried hard to focus my mindset on the importance of choices, not circumstances. Unfortunately, that’s just not always possible all the time. Some days are easier than others and some days are a punch in the gut. Some days (a.k.a yesterday) you come across an article that explains perfectly what you are going through and why you are the way you are and it just fucks with your head.
I probably should have just stayed home and skipped out on class, but I really, really hate missing class. A lot of people talk about jiu-jitsu being the best therapy there is. I’ve said it a few times myself. It CAN be very therapeutic and helpful in dealing with lots of mental struggles. But. BUT. Sometimes it can be the final nail in your I’m-having-a-hard-time coffin.
That was me yesterday.
Old. Fat. Woman.
If there were any words that could act as a repellent in jiu-jitsu, those three would be it. Put ’em together and it’s almost a jiu-jitsu death sentence. I honestly thought in the beginning that as long as I kept showing up and proving that I’m there to work hard and learn, that one day those stupid labels would disappear. That instead people would want to roll with me and see me as a challenge and a maybe even a fun roll. I’m here to report that at almost three years in, I’m still in the exact same spot I was in at the beginning.
Of course I know that if I want to roll, it’s up to me to make that happen. I have to ask people if I want to get rounds in. That’s the truth and I’ve accepted it. Most days, anyway. Over the last three years I’ve gradually gotten better and better about this. However, it never really gets easier for me. That sounds like a contradiction: I’ve gotten better, but it never gets easier. Let’s see if I can explain this…I’m still as terrified as I was the first time I ever asked someone to roll, it’s still just as hard to ask people as it was in the beginning, but I have developed the skills to cope with it a little better. Most days I’m completely cool with having to be the one to ask. But, some days, when I’m already going through a really hard time, I just don’t have the mental energy to put myself out there like that. And, foolishly I think to myself that I’ve built relationships with enough people and I’ve proved that I’m not going anywhere so surely someone will want to ask me to roll in those moments of weakness when I can’t be the one to ask. Surely at this point everyone in that place knows that I’m down to roll with anyone, anytime.
And so I sit.
One round goes by.
Eventually I give up. All day yesterday I fought with past demons and found myself dealing with some pretty hardcore feelings of rejection only to go to jiu-jitsu and feel…
It was just a bad a combination. A bad fucking day.
Maybe it’s in my head. Maybe it’s not. But, I swear if I leave it up to anyone else I get a quick look away when I make the “let’s roll” eye contact. In the last month I’ve had two people ask me to roll. Two. Most days I can handle that fact. Some days, when I’m at a mental low point, it kind of stings. I miss the days of pass/sweep/submit, when everyone had no choice but to partner with me and I got in 15-30 mini-rounds. Well, except for the time that I had to partner with the guy that refused to roll with me and just laid on his back with his hands behind his head and did absolutely nothing. Yeah, that was fun and not awkward at all…
So, I can see that I’ve got two choices.
Pssh. That’s just stupid. No way that is happening.
2. Do what Allison always does. Suck it up and keep moving forward. I may be at this current moment mentally exhausted and a mess, but moving forward is the only way to go, as far as I see it. I have to accept that my labels will always exist. I have to accept that I’ve got some mental hurdles that will sometimes make jiu-jitsu a lot harder than it should be. I have to accept that if I want to roll it’s always going to be up to me to take charge and make the roll happen. I have to accept that those are my truths and I shouldn’t take it so personally if no one else asks me to roll. It is what it is. Get over it. Move on.
I will leave this post with the most valuable piece of information I took away from my time in therapy.
I can’t control other people, but I can control how I react.
I can’t make people want to roll with me. It obvious that after three years, there is a large majority of people that just aren’t going to ask me to roll. I can’t control that. What I can control is how I react to it and focus on stepping up and taking it into my own hands to get the rolls that I want and need.