April is Stress Awareness Month. Something we heard a lot during the pandemic was “jUsT bE reSIliENt” as if we could magically change how we felt overnight. Sometimes the sentiment came with support. Other times it came as threat from those who refused to budge. Either way, building resilience in a healthy way is possible.
Out of the vast hellscape of the pandemic came a cry for authenticity–in our workplaces, in our homes, and in our hearts. If you’re a practicing martial artist (or have any kind of hobby, passion, sport, etc.), the power might already be within you. In this month’s article for Martial Journal, I describe how practicing martial arts can help you find your authentic voice.
There are a few things I do every day, and most of them pertain to keeping me alive and healthy: eat, bathe, drink water, take my prescribed medications, and sleep. Lately I’ve been enjoying journaling every morning while I drink my first cup of coffee. For the past two years I’ve done something, no matter how small, nearly every day to rehab my right knee.
Other than that, my daily activities vary, even my true passions and beloved hobbies.
I don’t mean physically, although after having two knee surgeries and gaining weight as I recovered from anorexia, that’s partially true (in a good way). I mean my determination, drive, and hunger seem muted.
I miss doggedly pursuing a goal. I miss the hunger of seeing something on the horizon and working until I reach it. I feel like my brain has been on pause for the last two years.
I had a great weekend using my reconstructed and rehabbed knee. My partner and I swam in our pool Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. On Saturday after my first post-op Body Combat class, we walked about half a mile to a local pub to play pool, have drinks, and eat delicious street tacos, and we did strength training on Sunday before our afternoon swim. Unlike this time last summer, I was not recovering from another arthroscopy. I haven’t reached 100% flexion and extension, but I’m so much closer than I was a year ago.
Despite the current state of the world, I’m feeling more relaxed and optimistic about my future than I have in a long time.
I had plenty of moments of feeling pretty bad, but overall I did take the advice I shared in last year’s article. I learned to be patient with my frustration and not get caught in an emotional spiral. I worked on what I could control. I very slowly let go of the need for everything to be perfect and “right.”
The most helpful and yet most infuriating factor: time. I just had to keep doing what I could do to stay sane and get more physically fit and let things work out in time. The deus ex machina I prayed for never came other than a big change at work, and even then, that has required several months of learning and adjusting.
My old therapist Ramona, who is mentioned in my memoir, used to say, “One day at a time…It. Will All. Work. Out.”
So, how to get unstuck? Go back to last year’s article and read the tips. Do what you can, give yourself grace when you can’t, and be patient.
Last Wednesday I found out that I did not place in a book contest I’d entered my memoir in. This came on the heels of a disappointing (and expensive) marketing campaign and seeing a smarmy swath of authors from my publishing cohort bragging (rightfully so, to be fair) on social media about sales, interviews, awards, or other book-selling wins. Their books are good…but g-ddamnit, so is mine. It’s really good.
You guys…for the first time in eight years I forgot to do my anniversary post!
My blog turned eight on April 15, 2022. Since I began my blog I have made new martial arts friends, shared both my triumphs and struggles, and have been able to promote my first book and many media appearances!
I also started writing for the online magazine Martial Journal–you can find links to all my featured articles here.
Thank you all for your support.
As is tradition, here are my ten favorite posts from the past year:
Some time in late November, my publisher advertised a webinar focused on preparing authors to give a TED Talk or TED Talk-like speech.
“I want to give a TED Talk!” I thought. Why not? My book is interesting; talking about mental health is very timely; and I have ten years of public speaking experience.
The problem was…I wasn’t really living my imaginary TED Talk. With my memoir and various articles and podcasts I’ve told a compelling beginning and middle of a story, but I find myself further from the end (or a picturesque “happy ending”) than I thought I’d be.