“Yes, sir!” I chirped with a smirk when asked if we wanted to do another round of duck walks across the dojang. I have lower jump kicks and less forceful strikes than my male classmates, but 20 years of being a gym rat and yoga enthusiast makes me excel in conditioning exercises. I scurried across the floor with masochistic glee, silently thanking a thousand Buddha squats for my energy and agility.

The next day I had trouble walking down the stairs.

The day after that I could barely walk at all and ended up skipping class to soothe myself with frozen yogurt and an Epsom salt bath.

I always seem to step on the proverbial rake when I get cocky. I only get so far until I’m felled by my own blindness. Let’s not confuse cocky with confident. Confidence makes room for humility. Cockiness, however, is the asshole cousin of confidence. There’s a hint of malice to cockiness; it’s confidence at the expense of someone else. I’m awesome and you’re not.   Most of us have probably been burned by someone else’s cockiness, perhaps a seemingly charming boss or friend or lover whose “confidence” soon decays to reveal poisonous spiteful arrogance.

So I’ll go back to class with confidence in my heart and a prescription-strength naproxen waiting for me at home. Hopefully my cockiness will be neatly packed away.