Are you standing in your own way?


Current emotion: AFRAID.

Scared as absolute fuck.

I have come to the decision that I'm going to learn how to box. And while the idea of being able to throw punches and move like a fucking Jedi Master sounds awesome, and envisioning myself with that kind of ability is incredibly empowering, I continue to be afraid.

Afraid of what I'll look like. Afraid to be bad at it and what that failure will feel like. Afraid that people will be as embarrassed about my body and lack of coordination as I am myself.

It's making me sad. And really, I'm working myself into a little bit of a frenzy of scared then sad then mad for being scared and back around again.

But let me back up a little bit.

Recently, I went to pick up dinner for myself and my husband. I got hit with a bout of the flu earlier that week, and while I was waiting for our food, I had a coughing attack. I made my way outside to hack up a lung in peace.

As I stood gracefully wheezing and choking, a man walked by repeatedly calling out: "Hey wife."

This rando not being my actual husband, I ignored him, assuming he'd give up and keep walking away.

Instead, he stopped a few feet from the entrance of the restaurant and said "Why don't you give me your number?"

I declined.

He asked me again, this time telling me to come over to him and give him my answer.

Once again, I declined.

He persisted, asking me why I didn't want to give him my contact information. I said "I'm married," while mentally going through the THOUSANDS OF OTHER SUPER OBVIOUS REASONS I was not about to acquiesce. (Also, I feel SO ICKY that this is what I defaulted to under pressure. As if because I am claimed territory, this prospector can move along for no other reason than THAT I am claimed territory. UGH.)

What was his response to my statement, you ask? It was: "Yeah, to me."

At this point, I was less than casually calculating how quickly I could make it back into the restaurant, and whether he would get there before I did.

I said "No, not to you," to which this man responded by putting down the bag he was carrying, pointing at me and yelling: "you're being a bad wife, and I'm about to beat you."

I didn't wait to do any other calculations. I went as quickly as I could, slipping back into the restaurant, turning to see if I had been followed and grateful to confirm that I hadn't. 

I stood there by the counter trying to make sense of what just happened. Did a guy just threaten to beat me up for not giving him my number? Yeah, he kinda did. Was he probably on something or potentially mentally unwell? He could have been. Should I not have responded so much and just gone back into the restaurant at once? Probably.

But, after pretty much sprinting back to my car with my dinner order and calling my husband to tell him what happened, I found myself feeling completely clear on one thing:

"I need to know how to fight," I heard myself saying. "I have to be able to defend myself."

Fast forward to this moment where I have decided to start boxing and am scared about it.

Now, we can talk about feminism stuff. We can talk about societal weirdness and socio-political pandemonium until we run the fuck out of breath. But we're not going to right now. Because that's not my point.

My point is that sometimes stuff gets messed up, and we can see potential solutions, but then we don't do anything about them because we're scared.

Because we're standing in our on way.

I am currently firmly planted in the middle of my own path to glory.

I am not the Decider of the Universe, and I don't have control over all the things that happen in my life on a day to day basis. Even if we lived in a world where women didn't have to feel nervous about needing to defend themselves, something else would still go wrong sometimes because that's JUST. FUCKING. LIFE.

But the one thing I DO have control over is my decisions. The choices I make every moment of every day are solely up to me.

And, as I write this, I realize I need to ask myself "Is this important to me?"

Is it important for me to feel powerful in my own body? Is it important for me to feel capable instead of afraid if I'm ever again in a situation like the one I described? Is it important for me to move my body in a healthy way that challenges me both physically and mentally?

Yeah. It fuckin' is.

So, this is the moment that I have to take a leap of faith in myself and summon up my courage and say "Hey, it's ok if you suck super hard at this when you start and people look at you funny and you make an ass of yourself. This is about you taking care of yourself, and that's important."

In working with my clients, I see this a lot. People are afraid or unsure, so they set up walls that they think will keep them safe. 

The walls usually show up in the forms of assumptions about how something "must" be done, deprioritization of something they really care about, reasons something "won't work anyway," and on and on.

But instead of keeping you safe, the walls just end up keeping you scared. And when you're scared, you either keep doing the same things over and over expecting different results, (which, PS, is the literal definition of insanity...) or you freeze--neither of which will help you out of the pothole you seem to have driven into.

So what can you do to summon your courage? What can you tell yourself to get just motivated enough to try and see what happens? 

Because those things you want? They're important. And you're worthy of having them. 

So get the fuck out of your own way and go get them. You can do this, I know you can.

I have to know you can, so that I can know it about myself too. Excuse me while I go find a boxing gym to join. I'll be right back.


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