Picture, it Sicily …
Just kidding, but if Sophia Petrillo is not your role model, you’re doing life incorrectly.
Picture it, south Louisiana May 2016. I was scheduled to compete in my first Jiu Jitsu competition. I know you’re thinking, “wow, what could possibly go wrong with this story?” After training Jiu Jitsu for approximately two weeks (you read that correctly), I decided it was the appropriate time to sign up for a competition. If you’re not familiar with Jiu jitsu, it’s a grappling martial art similar to wrestling. Having no background in martial arts, wrestling, or sports, this seemed like a great idea.
*This is the part in the story where I tell you that I’m extremely sarcastic and dry. If you didn’t pick up on that, go back and read the first paragraph.*
Leading up to the competition, I was all in. I trained every day, I visited other gyms, I got the crap beaten out of me, I laughed, I cried, I practiced visualization. I was living the training montage of Rocky preparing to fight Apollo Creed. It was game time baby.
Did I happen to mention that I am not a competitor? I’m a lover, not a fighter. 10 out of 10 people that know me would describe me as a nurturer. So how on earth did I find myself in a gym on a Saturday morning about to go into a literal and figurative battle with another human being? I realize now that my predisposition to dive into things head first without fully weighing the consequences led me to this moment. Sometimes this behavior works in my favor, and other times I find myself in some pretty precarious situations.
There I was, in the gym, watching Jiu Jitsu matches for the first time ever, and subsequently wanting to run out of the gym. Of course, I did what I always do when I experience moments of self-doubt. I put in my earbuds and listened to Kanye West. I know people have their opinions about Kanye, but nothing will pull you out of a pit of self-doubt faster than listening to Kanye. Get down girl, go head get down. Thanks Kanye.
The longer I sat in my space and zoned out from the happenings around me, the more I started to recognize things about myself. Out of everyone in that gym, stereotypically, I was the most out of place. Instead of shying away from it, I owned it. I allowed myself to believe that win or lose, I would be proud the fact that I showed up. I mean seriously, what business does a mother / homemaker / wife / civic leader / sometimes writer / volunteer have wrestling in pajamas with men twice her size and half her age? None, the answer is none. So of course, the rebel in me HAD to do it. I also allowed myself to be scared and feel all the feelings that come along with it.
Once I allowed myself to feel all the feelings, I realized that I am an adrenaline chaser turned full blown addict. My adrenaline chases involve doing things out of my comfort zone. Tell me I can’t, tell me I don’t belong, and that’s exactly what I’ll do. After that day, I started to think back on the landscape of my life and realized that it’s been a whole lot of “scared to death rebellion” strung together to create this life of mine. From switching schools as a young child to dealing with and rising from tragedy to moving across the county at 19 years old to getting married and having a child after swearing that I would be single and childless to starting a business as an adult, plus all the little insignificant purists like BJJ that fell in between significant life events.
I didn’t win that competition that day; however, I did get treated to burgers and beer – so who’s the real winner?? Even though I lost that day, I learned. At least that’s what they tell you in BJJ when you lose. “You either lose or you learn.” I tend to roll my eyes at that statement; however, I DID learn that day.
I learned that I’m happiest when I’m pushing past my comfort zone and surrounded by people who will push me past my comfort zone. I learned that I don’t need to believe that I’ll be good at something to pursue it. I simply need something to chase. Most importantly, I learned that even though I’m a mom / wife / volunteer / advocate, and that all takes up much of my time, to really feel alive, I still need to step away from the day to day pursuits and pursue those things that make me feel a little bit scared.
Moms, when was the last time you stepped out of your day to day routine and did something that scared the hell out of you?
Maybe you’ve been wanting to make a new friend, join a new social group, or try that fitness class your friends invited you to. DO IT (I’m screaming at you Shia LaBoeuf style now)! Even if you’re a little apprehensive at first. I promise it will make you feel so alive … and that feeling is something you will never regret.