I’ve woken up as the heroine of a romantic comedy.

I HATE romantic comedies. Not only are they predictable, rife with bad acting and throwaway writing, but they made me feel really damn bad about being single. And yet here I am juggling pieces of the perfect equation:

1. Perpetually single and loney overachiever
2. Interesting creative job in a metropolitan area 
3. Education and career pursued methodically (but I don’t “Lean In,” thank you and no)
4. A cute home in a trendy part of town
5. Met the love of my life shortly after I started TKD and watched our relationship growth parallel my martial arts progress
6. At a very low emotional point when I found my salvation in taekwondo last April. Cue the montage of me doing knuckle push-ups, doubling over trying not to throw up while my heart is going all Keith Moon in my chest, being meticulously corrected by my Grandmaster, yelling and kicking at pads/boards/preteens, gazing in the mirror at new ab muscles, and zoning out in an Epsom salt bath (with copious bubbles and candles of course) 
7. Lastly, I’ve been told I look like a dark-haired Scarlett Johansson

Crap. It’s the perfect storm.
No! No! NO! When I imagine my life in celluloid there’s an indie quality with long conversations and private crying sessions mixed in with cuts of violence (real or imagined) against cheery-dark songs like “Care of Cell 44” by the Zombies. The only Beatles song I would allow in the indie film of my life would be the frantic early years cover of “Besame Mucho.” (cha-cha-BOOM!). Woody Allen meets Martin Scorsese at best, a moody high school kid with an outdated camera phone at worst. I have had more than one Ducky moment of sitting alone in my room listening to The Smiths, at ages 15, 30, and beyond.  Besides, if this were a guy’s story it would totally show up on the Sundance channel.
I still wouldn’t mind being portrayed by Scarlett Johansson. 
TKD is the only place where I don’t care what I look like, how I sound, or other than the approval of my instructors, what other people think of me. It is where I am most vulnerable and most free. 

But I’m contributing to my own feminine mystique. One evening I was clicking around the car in my heels, my electric green long coat, and a prim dress with a designer purse in one hand and a sparring chest protector and gym bag in the other. I saw a woman do a double take at the odd combination, and I grinned. I fantasize about that moment when someone can look at me in all my petite coiffed glory and say, “YOU got a black belt?” To which I would bat my eyelashes, flash a smile, and sweetly reply, “What, like it’s hard?” 
I wasn’t always like that. I spent my junior high years dreaming of a cartoonist career. I wore baggy T-shirts and jeans in high school and hung out with the band and theater kids. I was a ghost in college. Something shifted over the years. I started to care and somehow wasn’t present to enjoy my own achievement of the American Dream.

…Which leads me to ask…What am I still trying to prove?

Hopefully the point of this journey won’t be lost on me while I’m touching up my lipstick.

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