The Moment I Realized I Had Nothing to Lose
My life is about to change. Do you ever just feel that you are on the verge of something?
I had to make some hard decisions today. None the least of which was how to pay for jiu jitsu. I really don't like when I hear jiu jitsu practitioners criticizing people who bring up finances as a reason why they don't train. I also hate the word "excuse", because I think there are legitimate reasons why people don't train. I've seen people call it an "excuse" when someone simply wants to take good care of their body after an injury, making sure that they are healed adequately for return to play. I've seen people call it an "excuse" when someone makes responsible, adult, financial decisions and chooses not to prioritize spending in jiu jitsu for a period of time. Jiu jitsu is fun, but don't let it make you an idiot. Even professional, multi-million dollar elite athletes have a hard enough time managing their finances. Don't be a recreational jiujiteira who drives themselves into debt to train.
I don't want to be that person, so I made some decisions today.
I will do whatever it takes to train. I don't care that this means I will have to take on a fourth job (yes, you read that right). I don't care that this job will probably need to be a night shift somewhere and will mean I have to come up with a weird sleep schedule. I don't care that this makes my life less-than-glamourous. I don't care that my friends and family call me "crazy" because I drive an hour and a half one way to get to training (my teammates call it "dedicated").
I was driving today thinking about my options. I thought about what my life could look like if I just gave up trying to do cool things, and just live the kind of life that I see 99% of people living. Watching TV, caring about what's on TV, caring about what's being sold at the mall, stressing about dating and "finding the right guy" so that you can get married and make babies and tie your existence to a house that you spend tons of money making into a home based off of what you've seen on TV, then spending the rest of your life sucked into a vortex of mind-numbing mediocrity.
I literally said out loud to myself in the car, HELL NO.
I would, and do, choose any kind of challenge and "being different" over that mediocrity machine any day. I don't care if it means that I take yet another part-time job and have no idea what 9-5 feels like. My goal in life is to never know what 9-5 feels like. I've got two more years in grad school and am now mentally preparing myself for what promises to be a busy couple of years. But I choose the chaos over being normal. I've never liked normal.
I went for a coffee with my pastor today, and it turned into a two-hour long conversation about the differences and similarities between jiu jitsu and Christianity/religion. I've been extremely involved in church the past few years and have recently felt that my role in it has been changing. I really don't want to be that stereotypical person who encounters jiu jitsu and then becomes obsessed and alters their entire life for it. My first blog I ever wrote was about how I don't want to join another cult, and that I wanted to keep some distance from jiu jitsu to start.
Today Pastor Jen said that she sensed I was feeling frustrated and angsty about church, and I said she was right. She asked what was different about jiu jitsu. I answered that I find it extremely frustrating that someone can call themselves a Christian but refuse to mature spiritually, can even be a horrible person, but as long as they say the "right" things in a religious setting, they are comforted in their position as a church goer, as an elder, as a leader, as a board member, as whatever their role is. I feel like it is very easy for those in church to not be held accountable. And I said that I don't feel this is the same in jiu jitsu, at least not in my as of yet short-lived experience. Yes, I've met some brown and black belts I would never want to cross paths with again, and this is why I very adamantly reject the idea that a higher belt somehow automatically confers some form of moral superiority. Yet, I think in jiu jitsu it is harder to posture as something you're not. You're not just given a position because you say the right words or affirm a statement of faith. You have to prove it. I wish in Christianity/religion there was a way to really prove your faith to others. We talked about "White Belt Christianity", and how some people just never mature from there. You can be a white belt Christian forever. I guess you could be a jiu jitsu white belt forever as well. And, to be fair, I guess we have seen our fair share of fake black belts on the internet lately. I just feel like I know so many fake "black belt Christians", and that is what I find frustrating. Just like in the videos where fake black belts are outed, I want to walk into some churches, rip off the fake black belt, and be like "I know you're not the Christian you say you are! You didn't earn this!". No, I'm not being politically correct. Whatever.
Everyday I pray, "Not my will, but yours be done" (Luke 22:42). I don't pretend to know what I'm "supposed" to do. Is it smart of me to continue to practice jiu jitsu, if I know it means some significant sacrifices in my life? I feel like what I gain from engaging in a jiu jitsu practice outweighs the trouble it takes to make it happen. I feel like to continue along the path that I'm going, I am going to have to make some decisions that I may be mocked for, that aren't going to make sense to the 99% of people who are concerned with what they see on TV and the right guy and the right clothes and the right kids and the right life. I have to decide that I don't care about any of that. I have to remember to die to myself (my ego) daily: "For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it" (Matthew 16:25).
I wrote that I realized tonight that I have nothing to lose. I am told to lose my life in order that I be found. Our lives are just temporary flicks in time. I always say that if you are not having fun, it's your own fault. As far as I know, this is the one life that we get, so we might as well have some fun. Jiu jitsu is fun, and if that means being known as the crazy girl who does crazy things just so she can train, then so be it. I don't know that my plan is going to work, but if I've learned anything in jiu jitsu, it's that I don't know until I try.
The hardest times make the best blogs. The hardest times weed out the people who don't want you to live your life. The hard times make a life worth living. I hope that you will continue to read along, and accompany me on my journey. We can be the crazy 1% together.