It’s All About Love

As you weirdos may remember, I do martial arts. I started doing it last summer. I’m currently working on my purple belt (I think. I have trouble remembering what colors go where in the system). I started off with one coach (Mark #2). Now I have a new coach (Mark #1).

My new coach recently told me that the marital arts are all about love. He heard that from someone, and he admitted that at first it was difficult for him to understand. It’s fighting. How is fighting about love?

What he failed to realize at the time is that martial arts is about self-defense. As a person learning martial arts, essentially learning how to fight, you learn that you don’t get into fights. You don’t WANT to get into fights. They teach you that if you’ve gotten yourself in a fight, you’ve already lost (as a women, I see flaws in this line of thinking, but I understand the point).

Here’s the idea: you want to do all that you can do to not fight someone. You walk away. You de-escalate a situation by talking. You avoid certain situations to begin with (dark alleys and the like).

But if you end up in a fight, it’s all about love.

I understood this concept when Mark #2 presented it to me like this: Do you think you could defend yourself?

Umm…

::gurglie noise::

Did it just get REALLY hot in here?

::shrug::

Mark #2: Imagine someone was attacking your nieces. Do you think you could defend them?

Fuck. Yes.

There’s the love.

That’s how the martial arts are all about love. You will do anything to defend the people you love. You will fight like hell to protect your family. I don’t have kids (#childfreebychoice), but I have people in my life that I would do anything for. If someone tried to hurt one of my nieces, one of my nephews, my sister, ANYONE in my life, I wouldn’t hesitate.

But why did I hesitate when asked if I could defend myself? I do love myself, but it’s something that is really tough. Thankfully, I’ve always had very supportive people around me. My parents loved me. They told me they were proud of me. They’ve always encouraged me to do the things I’m passionate about. They never told me that I was stupid or not good enough.

But I’ve told myself that I’m not good enough. I’ve told myself things like that my whole life. I used to stare at my thighs and pinch the fat and think I was gross. I’ve spent countless hours staring at and obsessing over my pores. It times, I was convinced that I was fat. Ugly. Gross. Unsexy. No one could ever like me. UGH!

Soon, that transitioned into not being smart enough. Not deserving to be in college or graduate school. I had the feeling that I was an imposter. No way I could have actually earned a degree (or three) based on MY ability. Someone must’ve not been paying attention. I slipped through the cracks. Really, you guys, I’m not supposed to be here!

My evielovely project, my writing, my therapy, and even part of my martial arts are all things that I’m doing to get over that. That negative talk. That imposter feeling. That self-hate. I’m working on building up my self-esteem and grow my love for myself.

My next post, I’m going to write about my depression. I wanted it to be this post, but I took me a while to figure out HOW I wanted to write about depression. What does that word mean? What does it feel like? What does it look like? What does it do to me? Someone recently asked me about it, and I struggled to explain it, in part because it’s personal (jeez, dude! It’s kinda none of your biz-nessss).

But then I got to thinking that I may be really helpful, and therefore REALLY important, to explain what that word means. Because it means a LOT of different things.

I couldn’t just jump into a post about depression, my struggle with it, what I’m going to work through it, and so on. So this is my start.

It’s all about love.

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Losing Weight and Self-Esteem

A few months ago, I notice that my jeans were baggy. This was good. I’d lost weight. I wasn’t trying, but I had made a few changes in my eating habits, and a few pounds lost was nice. The bad part that it meant I needed new clothes, and I REALLY didn’t want to have to shop. Not only is that experience terrible (crowded mall, lots of people, terrible parking, bad lighting. I can go on.), but having to try on a new, smaller size was terrifying. So, instead of going to the mall and nervously trying on new jeans, sweating in the dressing room, and lowing my self-esteem, I bought a few pairs online. Clearance ones. Because of course they wouldn’t fit, and I did not want to waste any more money than necessary on this doomed-to-fail experiment.

Turned out, the pants fit. They were a little tight, but damn it, they got on. They buttoned. I could sit down and even do squats in them. Hell yeah. I was a size 6! The lowest I’ve ever been. This meant…something. Progress? Validation that my workouts were working? Something about me being a better person because I was thinner?

But something really weird happened when I started wearing a size 6 (in addition to the clearance pants I bought, I got a couple more because, hell yeah! I’m a size 6!!). After going down a size, I started to really lose some self-esteem. I started feeling really fat. The thing was, yeah, the pants were a little tight, but not by much. Some of the pairs were a little tighter. You know what guys, not all size 6s are the same.

The weird was happening in my head. Wearing smaller pants that were slightly tight made me feel fat, like, the size of a house. I started to judge my body again. I started to analyze my actions.

I realized that I hadn’t been doing intense workouts lately. It wasn’t like I had stopping being physical. I was running, but that wasn’t the same intensity as my previous workouts. I’m still doing kenpo, but that doesn’t always get my sweat pouring, especially if I’m learning a new defense, focusing on visualizing my target and moving more mechanically rather than moving with force and speed.

Even though I’ve been active, I wasn’t gargling my heart. I wasn’t killing myself through every workout. I wasn’t pushing myself so hard I was exhausted for the rest of the day.

My previous workouts were tough. They were only 30 minutes, but they would wipe me out. I never really thought of them as that rough because they were only 30 minutes! Plus, I liked pushing myself that hard. It made me feel badass. Well, it made me feel badass when I was able to do the actual workouts. Often they would make me feel bad about myself when I couldn’t do the moves (you know what, fuck spider pushups).

I never really thought of those workouts as potentially too much for me, mostly because those were what I did. I did high intensity circuit workouts. Since about 2011, I started regularly doing Jillian Michaels. High intensity is her jam. She’s known for being tough. I’ve done nearly all of her workouts. I loved the convenience of working out in my home (gyms are gross). I loved the short, 30-minute workouts. I loved the feeling that the time was spent doing something worthwhile. I never thought that brutal workouts like JM would be bad for me in a way. But they were.

The way that I mean is that once I stopped doing them I lost so much self-esteem. I felt bad about my body because I was “only” doing kenpo and not doing suicide squat burpies or something. I felt bad because I was getting comfortable doing easy runs rather than single-legged, weighted sprints (those things don’t actually exist as far as I know).

Getting away from the high intensity work made me feel like a big, fat loser. I felt like a cow. I felt like my cool new size 6s were a big, fat lie, and I was the big, fat liar wearing them. I felt like the only way I could truly be thin was if I stayed doing intense training regularly and not settle for anything that didn’t get my heart pumping (oh my god, I’ve been stockhomled).

This post has been very hard for me to write. If you guys are paying attention (all three of you), you may have noticed that I haven’t written a post in three weeks. Part of this has been because I’ve been busy. Then an unexpected bout of depression overcame me and I decided to binge watch Scream the MTV show to help get over it (you guys, it’s so good).

But this post has also been challenging because it’s uncomfortable thinking about this stuff. I’m struggling to write sentences about hating my body. I hate writing about feeling fat.

I’ve always felt fat. Only within the past three years did I actually start to feel pretty good in my body (that’s also when I went fully vegan…just saying. #goveg). I grew up fat. Or chubby. Or something. I oscillated between being chubby and not-so-chubby my whole life. It sucks. It’s weird. I’ve had mega body issues. I’ve always been jealous of skinny girls. Showing your midriff is terrifying for me. Young women in clothing catalogues effortlessly looking great and comfortable in low-rise jeans or tight tees made me feel like a giant (do any of you remember those dELIA*S clothing? It was super popular in the 90s. Did you know it still exists!?!).

Three years ago, I finally got pretty okay with my body. I was relatively thin. It was no longer challenging for me to keep weight off. I felt like I finally got some part of life figured out. Losing a few pounds, dropping a size, showed me that maybe I don’t exactly. Mentally I’m still that fat girl in high school who is so sure everyone is judging her body, looking at her stomach and fat thighs, realizing that she’s always the biggest girl in the room even though that’s never the case.