Punching My Fears in the Face ... Literally
Sometime last year, I finally admitted to myself that I struggle with anxiety. I don't know why I never recognized it, but I now realize that it's something that I've dealt with since I was a little girl. My fears were always dramatic, imaginative, and unfounded. As I grew, my fears grew, and they came to a head last year. One of my biggest fears has always been getting attacked, raped, murdered, and/or kidnapped. There have been times when it's been crippling. I was afraid to go grocery shopping at night, afraid to leave the church by myself, I carried a knife around the house with me when Zach wasn't home ... it was bit ridiculous.
I don't like being weak, I don't like being dependent on people, and I don't like being afraid. I decided to face my fears head on and do something about them. Since my biggest fear is being attacked, I decided to take the fear, face it, control it, and channel it into something productive. So I signed up for Krav Maga, bought myself a new pair of Nikes and workout pants, and I started facing my fears.
At my first class, I was the only girl and I was hilariously out of shape. I refused to stop, even when my side was cramping and I felt like throwing up, because I didn't want to be that girl. I wanted to prove that I could hang with the guys that towered over me in both height and stature. Intimidating? Just a bit. But everyone was so nice and patient and took the time to make sure I understood everything. Every week, the classes get more and more intense. This past week was huge challenge for me mentally.
We do these endurance challenges where you have to keep punching, kicking, and attacking, in spite of what's happening around you. It's always intense, but last night was on another level. We had to keep punching the guy holding the pad while two people pushed you, grabbed you, and tried to keep you from punching. At one point, the trainer came over and picked me up off the ground and spun me around while I wriggled and struggled to break free. As soon as I got loose, another guy came up yelling and grabbed me and knocked me to the ground. It's all part of the training and immediately afterwards the trainer and a few of the guys came over to make sure I was ok, but I was off for the rest of the night. It sucked.
When I woke up this morning (a little sore from headlocks and throat jabs), I was so thankful for last night and for this training. I was shaken and on edge for awhile, but now that initial shock of being attacked is over. It happened within the safety of a gym with guys that are intense, but caring. If it ever happens outside of the gym, in a real life situation, I'm ready for it. I won't have that shock of getting hit for the first time, or being grabbed, or having a 6'5 man staring down at me and yelling in my face. I'm so thankful that they don't take it easy on me over there. I've taken a punch to the ear and to the face (chipped a tooth with that one), I've been thrown to the ground, picked up and dropped, kicked in the stomach and elbowed in the eye. I have faced almost every fear that I've lost sleep over and now I feel empowered and strong.
I'm no where near done with my training, as I'm only 4 classes in, but I'm not stopping anytime soon. It expensive and intense, but worth every penny and every drop of sweat. Are you scared of something? Face it. Can you do something about it? Do it. Fear only has as much power as you give it and we need to be stop feeding the beast. Don't hide from what scares you. Get out there and punch it in the face. If this 5'2, 119 pound, mom of three on an embarrassingly tight budget can do it, you can do it. I swear to you, you can do it. You are stronger than you think you are and you can handle more than your fear lets you believe.
Ok. Pep talk over. You've got this.
Click here for some info on Krav Maga. This is where I go, so if you're in the Western Mass area, come join me! We can feel silly and intimidated together.