The following excerpt is from my journal:
May 20th, 2012
The Day of Departure
It has officially begun @ 10:20am. Sitting in the parking lot of Jack in the Crack in Torrance. Centering myself. Some notes to self: All you can do is set a date; doesn’t mean you’ll go on that day. All you can do is make plans; doesn’t mean they’re gonna be stuck to. Another note: As I made my way away from the house this morning, I was crying and disoriented. As I made an attempt to get into the left lane on Hawthorne, I nearly bumped into a Lexus mini SUV. The license plate frame read, “GO BLUE. MICHIGAN.”
4 years later.
Here I am. In Torrance again. In my parent’s house. In the same room I had in high school.
Things are different now. Not just superficially of course. Things are not the same anymore. These aren’t measurable differences, besides maybe a few more gray hairs on my head. I feel different inside myself. I feel myself differently. I am more me now than I ever was.
I wrote something down in my journal today that I’d like to share here. The context is that I had gone to the dojo to speak to my teacher about how I have been feeling recently. I didn’t have a script. I didn’t really want one. I knew what needed to be said, I just had no idea how it would go down. I began by asking him, “What do you want me to do?” I clarified that since he had taken down the names of other black belts off his wall, people that he once had friendly relations with, was he planning to do that with me? “That’s your choice!” he said, a bit bewildered. What I had meant of course was that, since I am no longer interested in training at his school, and no longer interested in helping him run his organization, was I to be kicked out? “Oh, well if it’s my choice then Sensei, I don’t want to be kicked out.” The conversation then veered into a debate of sorts, regarding my interest in kata bunkai, him trying to explain away my questions, me trying to stand my ground and stay clear-headed. It was difficult. And then a mom and her daughter came in for class and the conversation/debate had to be ended abruptly. I told him I’d be back to discuss it some more.
As I drove home, a hot, fiery rage burned inside me. Not a conflagration. But a renewing fire. One that made me want to create a PowerPoint presentation of what I had learned about kata and why that new information makes more sense than what I was taught. One that made me want to begin outlining the idea for a documentary and call it, “KATA: The language of karate”.
Instead, I wrote these words:
Sensei tells me, “You’ve changed a lot. Your thinking.” Yes, I have teacher. I’ve changed a lot. Changed the way I’ve thought about what I’m learning, about myself, about life, a whole helluva lot. And that’s not gonna stop. It can’t stop. It won’t stop. The world is spinning, revolving. People are living, dying. Nothing can stay the same forever. The only real stability, paradoxically, is in that changing. If we can embrace that change and not get “stuck in old ideas” (as Grace says), then we can live more fully in this life instead of fearfully. I’m not saying it’s easy or that I’m great at this. It takes courage to face uncertainty, to assert your authentic Self among the naysayers, to live life according to what you know to be true inside yourself. The truth I’ve brought back home isn’t about karate or bunkai or fighting or violence. The truth I’ve brought back is how I move and shake in this world. How I believe things need to be taught and learned. Part of my struggle with suicide and depression comes from that old confusion of Self. From that place of devaluing, worthlessness and rejection. Being introverted and highly-sensitive, I’ve naturally dwelled on that inside myself, turned them over and over again. Not understanding how my environment, especially the people in it, have affected me. I’ve soaked in their thoughts and ideas, marinated in their opinions. Not recognizing that these gifts I have were being used against me. Not by them, but by me. Often, when we don’t know the magnitude of the power we hold in our hands (like a gun), it’s very easy to hurt ourselves. And so, armed with new insight and knowledge, I sit here, waiting, watching, listening to myself. Learning new tricks to manage the arousal. Learning new skills that feed the soul. I have no idea where I will be in 5 years time or what I will be doing. Life is just too damn short to have expectations.
Happy 4 years later.
– elbow SMASH.