What if I told you that when you start Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu it will be a life changer, that you will never be the same person as you were before… that your entire existence will be altered into a different way of living, viewing the world around you and how you choose your next goals. This change is amazing and continuous, from day to day all around you as the sun comes up and goes down… a journey has begun, and it takes a hold of your very being. This journey is not the same for every person, some have athleticism that learns faster, while others need to slow down and really dig into the lesson. The goal can be a first stripe on a white belt or a complete belt promotion but what is important is that the Journey Never Ends.
My personal goals for this year have been a roller-coaster, I wanted to compete more and I did, I wanted to win a Gold my first year as newly promoted blue belt and I did… all in all, I really completed my goals. Granted I would have loved to competed more but I am a mother of four school-aged children and have had obstacles thrown at me that I could not ignore. Everyone’s journey is different, and while I am writing this I can vouch on my own personal experiences and how what has happened this year has effected my BJJ Journey. About two months ago, I had a scare with cancer, specifically breast cancer. I found a lump… ignored it, and pressed on but with my older sister’s struggle with breast cancer I decided to make an appointment (with my husband’s urging). One of the scariest things I have ever had to do was say the words “lump” and “breast” in a doctor’s office. Those thoughts or possibilities were all of the sudden real and I would not be allowed to ignore it any longer. The doctor confirmed a lump and the race began and the appointment was scheduled for TWO WEEKS later. That is two weeks of wondering what the radiologist will find, wondering if I have done everything I could to love my family, friends, children, and my kids… my God, I cannot bare to think of not being beside my children as they walk through this thing called life without me by their side. So we took time to hold each other more, to listen to every word, give extra hugs and just soak up as much time as I could with my family. For two weeks I was sick, mentally sick with thoughts like what would I need to do if the test comes back positive, what if the worst is found… how do I prepare my children for this, my husband, my parents… Two weeks passed, and I ended up going to my appointment alone and this was fine with me as I’m typically good as a “lone wolf”. I get into the office and am shuffled to the very back of the office and after a quick introduction I shimmied out of my top and into a paper gown. My first thoughts as I looked around the room was that it was warm in the room, the machine looked odd and what the heck was in the corner (looked suspicious and scary). Finally the radiologist came in and after a few movements that were not uncomfortable or painful, just annoying I remember thinking that her hands were warm, the room was warm and OH YEAH… well, we are dealing with Breast for crying out loud! Cannot have those things pointing in all directions with cold air, of course! The radiologist looked over the film right there in front of me as I was watching her with horror, waiting for the bad news or good news… like watching a great moving and all of the sudden a damn commercial comes on and your like NOOOOOO, WHAT HAPPPENED!!!! And then she said, “Well… I do see some small spots of density but nothing that looks bad”. That sentence right there was enough for me, and I thought sweet, I am ok, everything is fine… I have a lumpy breast and I can handle that. But then two days after that (notice we are working in 2’s), I got a letter in the mail with the words ABNORMAL stamped in red on the very top of the letter. I was literally so confused you could probably have seen me go cross-eyed trying to make sense of what I was reading. Like any good movie, a commercial was the ringer for a follow-up scene only to be followed up with a AHHHH…. didn’t expect that ending. Basically, the letter says there was no conclusive diagnosis of cancer from the pictures, but that they want to do a sonogram to confirm that there is no unseen cancer.
Christmas is around the corner, and I really am just so mentally exhausted that I can honestly say I do not even care anymore… this time of year we are all focused on the kids and making this one of the best times of their lives. One of those memories they can look back and say, dude… do you remember Christmas time with mom and dad?! (Because it was the BEST)…. and that is where I am right now, waiting for a letter with a date for a sonogram and I’m ok with that, tired of worrying and have convinced myself that I am not sick, I cannot be sick, I will not be sick with cancer. I have four beautiful children, and they need me… this cannot be happening and will not happen, so there! PISS OFF WORRY BUG!!!
Back to my BJJ Journey: Sorry… How did I ever abandon you… How did I ever forget to put you ahead of my worries… in fact why didn’t I dig into my journey because we all leave our worries at the first step onto that mat. I get on the mats and I feel at home, my place where I am happy…. I roll and it is like a dance…. such peace of mind, focus on survival and the kill. You cannot beat that feeling, and is almost unexplainable. I found myself wondering if I would ever be able to compete again had the results came back positive, and I wanted to compete one last time… f*ck it, if I was going to be sick I wanted to get my butt back out there just one last time…. And this is where I can look at my journey now and say, “Damn… there was no Ending Goal, there was no stripe… my journey is a series of steps of finding peace inside myself that I can only show when I am on those mats and dancing”. I may have competed in the past to prove I was capable of promotion or even to myself that I had learned and could compete at the next level……… I have completely changed my thoughts on this. Today and forward, regardless if I win or loose… I roll because I can, I compete because I love the competition, because I want to… and because I LOVE this sport. We all have so much to be thankful for and unless you have had the threat of life being ripped away, this really is just a meaningless piece of writing… Stop and think about all you have, talk to the people who mean the most to you and never abandon what you love to do. When my younger brother’s, may his beautiful soul rest in peace, life was taken away in a car accident in 2011… I dove hard into my BJJ training and let it all go, there were a few days I knew I had given my partner’s H*ll and I readily stated that I was sorry, but I really just needed to let it all out I focused all of that negative energy onto the mats and training. The following year, 2012 we lost my a spirited soul my grandmother, and again I dug into my training… I was still mourning my younger brother. Again I retreated to my gym and dug into my training, it took my mind off what was happening outside of the gym, the guys in the gym all knew what was happening and no one asked about it – I really think they all just knew I wanted to train and not talk. My retreat is BJJ, where I can let go of everything and just roll.
BJJ is My Happy Spot.
~ If you are ever in North Texas and need a place to train or simply passing through, Please check out Redriverbjj.com & Remember You do NOT have to be Great to Start…. but,
You have to START to become GREAT!!! ~