Tonight was my first taekwondo class in about a week and a half. I took off two Fridays ago to spend time with my parents and it seemed like a good idea at the time to skip the entire following week. As I’ve said in previous posts I was burned out. I needed a break from taekwondo, even though it was more of a mental break than physical.

I was very tempted to stay home tonight. I am still privately dealing with a painful situation that has taken a great toll on me. I had sunk into a deep depression, and interacting with the world seemed difficult and uninteresting. My couch and Netflix were beckoning, but I thought that if I got on that slippery slope of skipping class after class I might sink so low that I’d never go back, which would be tragic since I’m so close to black belt. The more I isolate myself the darker my mood and my outlook become.

“Were you on vacation?” Grandmaster asked brightly, teasing me a little for my long absence. I smiled shyly, shook my head, and muttered something about having a bad week. He slung his arm around my neck in a half-hug and then pushed me out onto the mat to warm up. I was quiet at first, keeping my distance from my classmates, listening to their jokes as I twisted my body and slung my limbs around.

Monday is cardio night, so I was dreading the thought of jumping, spinning, and kicking with sluggish legs and clogged sinuses, but I held up surprisingly well. Suddenly I had lots of energy, kiyahp-ing loudly, jumping as fast as I could, and attacking the focus pads with vigor. The A/C was broken, but instead of complaining I welcomed the heat. I felt like the past weeks’ stress and sadness were being squeezed out through the sweat pouring down my face and back. I was home. The problems I’m facing won’t disappear with one class, but it was such a relief to lift it off my shoulders, if only for an┬áhour.

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