I just hit my head.
I hit my head hard, which actually isn’t a very difficult thing to do in my Tudor-aged house. I came through a doorway and came up too quickly and I’m actually seeing stars.
I’m only try to put my clothes away in my "wardrobes" that should be in my actual bedroom, which can’t fit wardrobes cuz the stupid barn isn’t done, but can’t do that until the bloody mortgage comes through, and probably can’t afford the stinking renovations because judo people don’t want to learn online, albeit from the best in the business, and the damn craft shop has closed so need to find another shop to stock Uniqi products, and I have to get my shit together to get the girls to school as Brooke’s car has decided it doesn’t want a f**king clutch anymore….. sigh…the vortex of negativity is real, folks.
As my dad used to say, ‘just want to move a little gravel!’ born from ‘Gravelgate’.
Exasperated in an attempt to move a pile of gravel, the truck Dad wanted use to load the gravel wouldn’t start, so he needed the tracker to boost it, but then he would need to fix the flat tyre in order to move the tractor to the proximity of the truck and, incidentally out from behind said pile of gravel. It’s now a family saying as most of Tom’s phrases have become.
I’m going to say right off the bat here, this is not a pity post. I haven’t written in a while, as again, I have let life get in the way and seemed to have lost my mojo in that mix. But I digress.....
So here I am, stars circling my head à la Wylie E Coyote. I stumbled to my bed edge to gain composure, cuz I feel them coming. The stinging, hot, salty droplets of weakness pushing at the floodgates.
No! I say to myself, Don’t give in!
Knowing once I go, I don’t know if can stop. I can feel the pent up frustrations of the last two years dangerously close to the overflow lip just waiting for that one extra drop to send it all spilling over the edge.
I see it before I feel it. The blurry, wet vision to say, ‘Here I Come!’ Then the single, hot rivulet, tickling down my cheek plopping with an almighty thud from my chin onto my jean-clad thigh.
Then there’s the gulps for air, thinking that somehow air elementally trumps water, but it’s no use. The brain has engaged, craving the release that a good, ugly cry gives.
I’m now cursing that I can’t even let loose and give it a good ol’ howl as my two daughters are home from school and in the next room. Motherly protection kicks in; I don’t want to worry them. I don’t have the energy to talk about it.
I don’t really want to say it out loud, as really I probably couldn’t, not really knowing what IT is, specifically. It’s all just a haze of grey. And I have friends who are going through some really tough shit, I mean really tough, and I can’t rationalise my frustrations against theirs.
Mine are business-based, theirs are family and health troubles, not that The Adams & Jenkins haven’t had their share of family drama in the last few weeks, both great and not-so-great, so thankfully my mess is a bit more in my control or at least my reaction to it is. As you can note from above, not reacting so well at the mo, though.
Being in business for yourself is a freeing, frustrating, pride-building, ego-dashing, rewarding, and soul sucking rollercoaster.
The pandemic again was an oxymoron for us. It finally demystified online learning and showcased our teaching website to wary judokas. However, we found a new formidable opponent in the explosion of free YouTube judokas. How do you combat free content when it’s their hobby and it’s our business?
You sell bands. You sell judo bands like they will save the world, and in some truth they did, our world.
And you innovate. We took an idea that Neil had floating in his head for some time and ran with it. To be honest, I enjoyed the process and now our Skimmers are gaining traction, or should I say, sailing out the door.
Also, our mortgage came to term which we have been painstakingly planning for 5 yrs to satisfy, when in a blink of an eye, events were stopped, dojos were closed, contracts were cut, therefore our earnings, and if you’re self employed, you know what a picnic getting a mortgage is!
Another hot, salty one of frustration, bordering on anger, finds its way from my cheek.
My instant thought is how do we cover that loss of earnings? I really thought we were passed this point in our business.
I really take umbrage to being put back into this position as I had finally settled into the thought process of ‘enough’.
From all my life of trying to be the top, or at least ahead, to finally sitting down, looking around saying- we have it good here, we have enough - to then suddenly being whipped-lashed back into ‘chasing the money’, I’m suddenly really tired.
And I don’t like it.
It’s the knife edge of a slippery slope to resignment, which is nowhere near the feeling of ‘enough’.
I wrack my vault of memories for lessons from my past, as I do, and the first vision that pops up is qualifying for the Olympics in the years of our Lord nineteen hundred and ninety-five and ninety-six.
I remember sitting there on the edge of my bed, as I am now, in my one room flat in Mount Royal, Montreal feeling exactly this way. My bed was a mattress on the floor there and here I am on a super king bed frame, so I’ve done something right, I suppose.
In my mind’s eye, I can see my judo bag open in front of me, judogi folded but not yet put in. My black belt thrown in but hanging out, reflecting my indecision.
Why? I remember asking myself. Why am I doing this? Who am I doing this for? Is anyone going to thank me for doing this, if I succeed? What is success? The qualifying or The Games, itself? Rue Rachel, Mont Royal, Montreal, Canada
I was, then, in the middle of trying to qualify for my place on the Canadian Olympic Team and the Gods were making me work hard for it. There were only 2 spots available in the whole of the Pan-American Union. Upon a disastrous Pan-Am Games, I was in spot 2, however, I was tied with the Brazilian candidate for that last coveted ranking.
I had just heard, for the third time in that last 8 months, that our fight-off had been postponed. The Games were in July and here I was, knocking on May.
I was tired.
My body was tired from training for three fight-offs.
My mind was tired of the singular focus needed to pack that damn bag every day.
My soul was tired of being used as a political bean bag and feeling alone in my quest.
Everyone else had either already qualified or knew they hadn’t and were embarking on new life adventures.
I was in limbo. And it was lonely.
I’m trying to remember what I did next. I must have heaved myself up from that mattress on the floor, pushed my judo belt back into the bag, slung the bag strap over my shoulder, and went through my apartment door for the walk to the metro which would snake me to Shidokan dojo.
My residual feeling from that memory is what has now become my favourite saying:
‘You haven’t come this far, to come this far’’
My goal was to go to the Olympics. Hopefully medal. And I see now, being with Neil, just how your focus can create your reality. My focus was to get to The Games, hoping to win, something. Neil’s was to win it, end of. My Olympic mat time was a total of 4mins 44secs.
4 years to say that I was on an Olympic mat for 4:44 minutes.
If you’re into numerology, according to the internet, the number 4 is said to mean,
‘Encouragement is being given for you to use your own inner power and abilities to reach your goals. If you don’t take action now, you’ll never be able to achieve the life you want to lead. It is a sign that your efforts have been answered, and you are finally able to actualize and achieve your dreams.’
It, the internet, carries on to say, that ‘it’s critical to have self-confidence and tenacity. Everything is achievable if you believe in yourself. Only those who are willing to take a risk will be rewarded.’
This, slows my crown of circling stars by a tad.
The impact of that win/lose result forms and hardens a part in you that you lug around, that you either use as a limiting, pegged ball & chain or as a hammer throw to let loose.
You haven’t come this far to come this far….
The goal I share with Neil is to be the best teaching resource and technical institution of our sport. Not to just show up but to lead.
I know this isn’t the best money-making model, we would’ve picked another market, if, in all honesty, that was the goal. Maybe that’s it though…just showing up and hopefully making a living from it, is the wrong focus. Maybe it’s about creating a living and hoping people get something from it.
I feel my focus shifting slightly. Stars are slowing.
My daughter has come in asking if I’m ok.
‘Yeah, I think so. Just hit my head on the door frame’.
I wave her off.
‘Honestly, I’ll be just fine. I just need a minute to calm down’.
I wipe my face; tears of pent-up, convoluted frustration disguised as simple pain.
I stand up from my bed, draw in a deep breath. I take stock of my bedroom - the one attached to the not-yet renovated barn and the doorway between.
Here, in this bedroom I have enough, but looking through the doorway, I can see the possibilities and so much more to tackle to bring it all to it’s true potential. The Universe isn’t ready for me to sit back and relax.
I’ve not come this far, to come this far….
As I start to focus, I realise, those circling stars are now starting to align.
(Thanks, all, for this chat. I needed it. I hope I can always do the same for you whenever you need it x )
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