Sometimes I Just Want to Quit

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No, this isn’t a belated April Fool’s Day joke.

I had this really weird thought recently: “I could just quit taekwondo and not care about it at all.” I love taekwondo, and at that time I had that thought I was looking forward to going back to regular classes.

I’m positive it came from a place of placid laziness rather than a dislike for my martial art. I love being a homebody, and for a while thanks to the pandemic and my prolonged injury recovery, my partner and I had a nice routine of eating dinner and watching TV every night (sometimes with a Boggle or Scrabble game thrown in).

Our routine was safe, easy, and cozy, and all that TV and movie-watching did inspire us to start a movie/TV-themed podcast…so it’s productive time, right? I don’t have to put on shoes. I don’t have to drive. It’s wonderful. I could stay inside my house forever.

But damn if it isn’t the BEST feeling on the other side of a taekwondo class–I’m sweaty, tired, full of endorphins, and have gotten to spend time with people I like (but for a limited, doable time; prolonged time spent with people cramps my style). My partner goes to a black belt-level grappling class with me so I have a built in training buddy to work on techniques with. I’m really happy to be back after being out of the game for so long.

Funny how I procrastinate the two things I love to do and the two things I’m best at–taekwondo and writing. I will literally do anything to get out of creative writing–clean the toilets, fold laundry, work on a smaller writing deadline. But when I get on the other side of a writing spurt I feel amazing. I trick myself into working by setting a timer. So far that’s the only method I’ve found for making myself sit down and work.

I’m feeling happy at this point in my life. All is well. I guess it’s time to chip away at old habits and build new ones.

Unlike some of my other blog posts, I’m not offering a solution. I’m just sharing an observation.

It’s kind of funny.

Little Black Belt is Eight!

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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:

  1. First Post-Surgery Jump Kicks–scary AND exciting!
  2. What’s More Motivating: a Trigger or a Goal?–in the midst of a stressful year, I was beginning to figure out what drove me.
  3. How to Talk to Your Boss About Your Mental Health–this was a big step for me personally, professionally, and in my role as a mental health advocate.
  4. My Post-Pandemic Body is Different. And That’s Okay–it’s still okay.
  5. Letting Go of What No Longer Serves You: Marie Kondo, My Knee, and Me–some wise words from my sister-in-law help me make a choice to move forward.
  6. How to Feel Unstuck When There’s No End in Sight–burnout, depression, boredom were all the bane of my existence. In the midst of the frustration, I learned a lesson.
  7. My Top Ten Pieces of Advice for New Authors–boy, is there a lot to learn when you publish a book.
  8. The Way Forward is Through: a Meditation on Depression–did I mention that 2021 was a stressful year? I had a long-lasting mental health crisis, but unlike my earlier struggles, I had lessons and tools to get me through it. I got through it.
  9. Finding a Happy Medium After a Two-Year Emotional Roller Coaster–2020 was the ignition for collective and individual crises, challenges, and trauma. After two years of struggle (and a lot of therapy), I’m coming out on the other side feeling better.
  10. Developing Mental Agility as a Martial Artist–you can’t keep an old black belt down. I’m still learning, growing, and succeeding.

My Top Ten Pieces of Advice for New Authors

In April 2021, I became a published author. My book Kicking and Screaming: a Memoir of Madness and Martial Arts entered the world after years of writing, editing, pitching, fielding rejections, more editing, more pitching, and finally publishing. I’ve learned a lot during the publishing process and am at a point where I can begin paying it back (and forward) by helping other authors.

Here are my top ten pieces of advice I’ve learned over the years it took to deliver my book to readers’ hands:

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So I Have a Side Hustle After All. Um…#BossBabe?

Boss Babe Starter Kit

Today (a Saturday) I recorded the first of seven podcast interviews my publicist booked for the month of April. I’ve written several articles said publicist has pitched to online media, and I have more items on my to-do list. There’s an essay contest I want to enter (but I have to write the essay first), and in my dining room I have a box of books that I’m slowly figuring out how to divvy up among family, friends, and business associates.

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How I Got a Publishing Deal…a Story Told Backward

Publishing contract

Around this time a year ago I submitted draft pages for my memoir Kicking and Screaming: a Memoir of Madness and Martial Arts to hybrid indie publisher She Writes Press. I was at the end of a two week “staycation” to celebrate turning forty. I cherished the time to work out, read, write, take care of my home, do a little shopping, eat, relax, and just enjoy all that time to myself.

At the end of those two weeks I came to two conclusions:
1. I am going to be a very busy retiree when that blessed day comes.
2. I was going to take my dream to publish my memoir in a different direction. More on that in a moment.

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Gordon Ramsay Is My Spiritual Writing Guide

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This writer takes “kill your darlings” seriously.

After Americans united for the collective experience of watching “Tiger King,” we all  retreated to our own private means of surviving everything 2020 kept (and keeps) throwing at us.

My coping mechanism has been binge-watching “Kitchen Nightmares” and more recently “Hell’s Kitchen” with world-renowned chef and restauranteur Gordon Ramsay

I love Gordon Ramsay, and I am also terrified of him. For some strange reason, watching him scream at people over scallops, risotto, and raw chicken is so comforting and enjoyable in these dystopian times. 
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I Don’t Have a Side Hustle. Am I Missing Out?

Throwing-Money-Away

Remember FOMO? We love our abbreviations and acronyms, and society-at-large couldn’t help but apply one to a phenomenon that people were experiencing with the explosion of social media: Fear of Missing Out.

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Little Black Belt is FIVE!!!

five fabulous

On April 15 my blog turns FIVE years old! Since April 15 is a Monday, and many people will either be either working or madly rushing to submit their income tax filings I thought I’d treat my readers to some weekend bingeing. Happy early birthday to the blog and happy reading to you…

Wow! Five years have gone by in a flash, and so much has happened in my life both inside and outside the dojang. What an amazing five years it’s been, and I am so thankful to all of you who have read, commented, and encouraged me along the way.

Usually for my anniversary posts I’ll pick my ten favorite articles from the past year…but since 2019 is a milestone year in more ways than one, this is going to be a MEGA BEST-OF POST, YAAAYYYY!

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When Starting is More Difficult Than Finishing

FirstStep

I can win a game of pool, but I’m not very good at starting one. Let’s just be real–I’m terrible at breaking. I can never seem to get enough power to create a smooth and clean strike. More often than not, the cue ball barely moves the rack of balls, and sometimes I end up scratching. The last time I did a decent break had more to do with the extra-smooth surface of the table I was playing on than any of my technique.

Come to think of it, I could never get the hang of serving in a tennis match either. Sure, I could chase after the ball and lob it over the net, but starting the game on a strong note always seemed to elude me.
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