Sunday, July 15, 2012

Will today be any different?

"Curiosity is the very basis of education and if you tell me that curiosity killed the cat, I say only that the cat died nobly" - Arnold Edinborough

I mentioned on Facebook that my primary motivation for trying a second jiu jitsu tournament is curiosity - specifically the question of "Will this time be different?" Even to me this seems like an odd question because I know, as a good proactive kinda gal, that I control what's different - at least a lot of what could be different. That part is boring.

I don't want to spend too much time going into my problem with tournaments because I haven't exactly figured it out yet. I will say that I survive pretty well preparing for a tournament and I seem to do moderately well actually surviving matches, win or lose. It's after the tournament - I just break down. 

I have a theory that my real fear is that I'm really not cut out for BJJ (the first sport that I haven't avoided with religious fervor) and that tournaments serve only to prove that to everyone. Here, let me put it in a way that maximizes it's ridiculousness (complete with highlighting): "My deep dark secret is that I am doomed to suck at jiu jitsu forever and tournaments will expose my secret and lead to me being ostracized". I understand how ridiculous this sounds. I also understand that the only way to guarantee I suck at jiujitsu forever is to quit now, while I suck, duh. Anyway, my point is that I haven't actually figured out ANYTHING. What am I afraid of? Do I have something to prove? Is it to myself? Is it to everyone else? Can I do better? Can it be worse? The more questions I have about something the more I will suffer through to get answers. This is where curiosity comes in.

Curiosity is, essentially, the only reason I get up in the morning. This is not counting the several years in my recent past where I didn't want to get up in the morning at all. That's a whole different problem that I have mostly gotten over. In general, when I am happy and functional and waking up in order to live my life like it matters I wake up in order to satisfy my curiosity. Will today be any different?

Maybe someone reading this will be thinking some cliche bullshit like "You make today what it is" or "Every day is what you make it" but I have lived this life long enough to know that I'm dependent on other people to satisfy my curiosity in a positive way. I may wake up curious to know if I will find a solution for a problem at work on a given day but that question is too boring to hold my interest for long (hence several years of waking up miserable). The real burning curiosity I have is for things like: "Will someone really make me laugh today?", "Will someone say or do something that makes me smile?", "Will someone ask me to do something new and interesting?". I need people. The moments of power that resonate in me require the interaction of two minds (see this post). These moments recharge my emotional reserves.

This next tournament might still be lacking in fun but I don't care. I just want to know if any given day will contain any truly interesting interactions with another mind and I have learned that truly interesting interactions are more likely if I do unusual things like competing even when I hate it.


  1. I am curious about whether your "falling apart" after a tournament is really about chemistry rather than thought patterns. Maybe you're just crashing after the adrenaline/[insert other brain chemicals] rush of the tournament, and in your crashy state you naturally tend to think the bad things floating around in your head. Then it wouldn't be the bad thoughts causing the crash so much as the crash causing the bad thoughts to surface.

    1. I did wonder about that because in addition to everything else I also forgot to get any kind of breakfast. I know better than this, but I was dealing with the anxiety side and I sometimes forget breakfast on saturday mornings. So maybe it all would've been better if someone had cornered me after a match until I drank some gatorade or something but unfortunately I was so messed up by the time I did eat that it was literally two days before I could get my shit together.

      Anyway, I suppose my next problem is I don't now how to deal with a crash any more than I know how to deal with the anxiety or the lack of confidence.

    2. You can probably learn to deal with a crash ahead of time, for instance by giving a companion a lunch bag beforehand with some snacks that you're likely to be willing to eat during or after the tournament, with instructions like, "I probably won't want to eat anything, but I'll need to have a snack. Would you encourage me to have some of this around x o'clock?"

      It's kind of like time traveling to help your future self.

      A lot of times when I fall apart it turns out that I just needed a good night's sleep, or some exercise, or something to eat. And figuring that physical stuff out is (for me) a lot easier than dealing with, you know, issues about my mother or that time when I was 4 or the beliefs I have about my own crushing inadequacies or what have you. But in the moment, the bad times don't FEEL like being tired - they feel like just returning to a natural state of feeling really insecure or irritable or depressed.

      You seem to have an unusually high level of ass-kickingness, so I think you'll be able to work this stuff out too.