Withstanding the Storm
By Becoming It
Fate whispers to the warrior, “You cannot withstand the storm.” The warrior whispers back, “I am the storm.”
These days, I think about this quote a lot. A lot because I’m trying to start up again in competing regularly in jiu jitsu, even though the journey has been rough so far.
I’d like to think that when I compete this time around, it will be purely so that I can learn more about myself, overcome my weaknesses, and confront my fear of the unknown. When you lose 5 (or was it 6?) matches in a row, you start to question yourself. You start to wonder if this competing thing was a good thing, and if that’s a reasonable thought, or an unreasonable one because you’re too tired to think straight.
Competing is scary. Sometimes, people say that when they start competing, they feel better. I felt worse and worse as the matches progressed, though with some bright spots. Last tournament, I teared up several times, and ended up laying on the floor, crying uncontrollably. I remember telling my coach that I felt so exposed and so vulnerable…and that I hated it. He told me that the feelings like this are perfectly normal and that accepting them is advisable. I felt a little better and ended up winning my last gi match by ref’s decision, before getting murdered in two more no-gi matches.
I don’t know if I’ll ever love confronting the parts of myself that I want to change, but I do it anyways. I believe that I will do this until I die. I don’t think other options, like avoiding my problem, serve me in the long term. Avoidance offers some temporary reprieve, but soon, the doubt and anxiety that I face inevitably comes back. Instead, as terrible as confrontation feels, ultimately facing the truth of who I am brings peace. I know where and how I stand as a person, instead of living in a fantasy.
In this moment, I dare to acknowledge that I need to trust my intuition more. That I’m attached to outcomes because I’m fearful of the unknown. That I want to be courageous, but I don’t like how hard it is sometimes. That I play too much Zelda instead of studying jiu jitsu, especially neglecting important investments for class prep. That I sometimes meet the opponent’s aggression with shyness, or I’m too quick to conclude that I can’t succeed when I’m met with resistance.
It frustrates me to say all of these things aloud, but this is the truth, and sometimes the truth hurts. That, too, is something I am learning—that it’s not about just surviving or enduring this pain, but it is about transforming that pain into something more beautiful.