Of Fear and Martial Butterflies

November 21, 2015 by Rieshy

At last night's meeting for the 2016 candidates for black belt testing I was taken aback by my emotions.  It was our first meeting- just to go over necessary info and dates for the 39 weeks of testing.

39 weeks.  I'm scared spitless.  I really am.

We were all asked to share what scares us most about the 39 weeks; for me this was the de facto beginning of testing.  Saying publicly what scares you most is pretty.... scary.  I felt a water-buffalo-herd of emotions as I waited my turn.  It was impressive to hear even the youngest testers communicating very insightful fears.  It got harder to breathe.  All my doubts about myself were suddenly almost suffocating.

My main fear was easy to identify.

But later I realized that most of all, even more scary than fears I have about the testing itself is that it's very scary to admit publicly that you really, really, really, want to accomplish something that's a little out of the norm.  No matter what that something is.  The sudden feeling of vulnerability took me right back to middle school, where sharing a heartfelt passion or a dream with classmates was as safe and friendly as swimming off Amity Island.  But, there's no room to pretend that this is a vague, sorta interest; at my age I'm either all in, and by definition totally insane, or I wouldn't be testing.

As I sat there I also realized that this feeling of fear isn't bad.  Doing something, trying for something that you can publicly fail at is exhilarating.  Butterflies in the stomach sort of exhilarating.  An enlivening, falling in love sort of fluttering of richness.

I've since determined to enjoy every second of even the fiercest and most fearful martial butterflies.


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