Progress Report, February 2011

Well, February got interesting. Despite advice from commenters and training partners, I wasn’t able to completely straighten my head out. I’d have a night or two — sometimes just a roll or two — where I could get things together, but always fell apart quickly again. The downward spiral is strong with this one.

I’ve always used my blog as an outlet, whether good or bad. Truthfully, though, it’s probably been more bad than good — I had this idea that by focusing on what I was doing wrong or where I could improve or when things didn’t go well that I could somehow mull on them, figure them out, and fix them. This strategy often works well for me. Instead, the opposite happened: I got stuck in a cycle of holding on to old and “bad” experiences and replaying them on the way home after class, again in the shower and when writing, and then again every time a new comment appeared or traffic spiked. I had somehow thought that dumping things out into a blog post would help remove them from my brain, though I should have already known from past experiences that I retain everything better once I do write it down. Duh.

(I still think it’s important to write what happened, even if it’s not always pretty for yourself or for other people. And I know that was one of the things I was really looking for when I started reading other folks’ blogs — I needed to know that other people had bad training days, bad training partners, bad experiences, and that they lived to tell about it and get through it. It was reassuring to know that I wasn’t alone. Too often it seemed as if everyone else, online or not, had a charmed BJJ life and that I was somehow stunted or strange. But I think my problem is that I went too far in the opposite direction, focusing on the negatives and not bothering with the positives.)

I finally decided that I needed to take a drastic step in order to get out of my own head and out of my own way. I turned off comments on my blog and committed to writing more factual and less analytical and/or emotional posts. The former I had to do because I feel that I was sometimes writing to an audience, trying to get a certain response. (Even though this involves a setting on the admin side that I don’t have to maintain, I’ve still had some trouble with it — I still check for comments on posts! I’m getting better; now it’s only once or twice a day, lol.) The latter, I haven’t been as successful with: it’s hard to not talk about things sometimes! I want to scream and throw things. There are many nights I’ve written something and then had to go back and erase it. I am having a hard time separating the analytical (the why) from the emotional (how either the what or the why affected me). I have also tried to find other ways to occupy myself between the end of work and the beginning of class (home is too far away and has comfy couches, food, & internet), so that I’m not in early, sitting and waiting and thinking and critiquing myself before anything even starts (!), though still now I sit & watch the clock until I can go. And I’m trying to drag myself home earlier when there isn’t any point in staying (though sometimes I just get comfortable, and I still like being there).

Well, so what’s happened since then? I wish I could say that everything is suddenly rainbows and kittens, but it isn’t. (But I really wish it were. I’m not patient once I make a decision like this — I want to see immediate change. But it’s not here yet.) My jiu-jitsu seems to still be stuck at the same place it was, flat with little bumps in the right direction and sharp dips in the opposite. My brain is still all sorts of screwed up, still careening off down long trails of worry and doubt and berating me in private. I’ve put my goals list on hold for the last two weeks with the exception of “Keep moving!” and am trying to empty my head of everything, especially any expectations. This isn’t easy, and I constantly mess up royally, but the whole point is to not focus on the screwing up but to keep moving. Though it feels more like a fish flopping on land, I am still moving…