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Back to the Mats: A Personal Account of Conquering Fear

I finally did it.

It’s always so much easier when it’s not you. Analyzing others’ fears and giving advice makes way more sense than facing our own, right? Sometimes, but especially when it’s your job. 

When COVID happened, I quit training and also quit working at Easton. I got the opportunity to come back this year, and for four months now I’ve been raving to potential new members about how amazing our community is and how great the Jiu-Jitsu and Muay Thai programs are. I’ve even been calling people to see if they’d like to get back in to start training again, to break their COVID-induced training slump.

None of it is a lie; I absolutely love the community. 

Though I’m not a fighter and have no interest in competing, Easton is the first movement community I’ve found that fulfills my need for human connection and practical mobility, a tribe that’s passionate about mental and physical health, and how the two interplay in our growth towards the best version of ourselves.

The truth, however, is that though I love the community and have no problem talking about classes, I’ve been absolutely terrified to jump back in. It had been over a year since I took my last class, and all the anxieties filled my brain every time I imagined putting on my gi. 

Would I look like a poser? Will everyone know I have no idea what I’m doing anymore? Do I belong out there with everyone else? Will I remember how to tie my belt? Will I suck and make a total fool of myself?

I finally decided to go for it to conquer the nagging voices in my head that I knew were lies.

One Saturday, I jumped into the women’s class taught by Coach Ashley. I surprised myself on the drive over to Longmont, finding my eyes filling with tears as I thought about how long it had been, and how much had happened in between. It felt like a return to a long-lost relative, one I hadn’t seen in years but who wanted to offer me all the tea and cookies. 

I know, very dramatic. But I mean, these things aren’t easy! Quitting something and coming back is filled with all kinds of irrational mental associations, and sometimes even physical hurdles we have to overcome to get back on track.

Of course, class with Ashley was amazing. We worked on a technique that I actually somewhat knew, and I was surprised with how much my body remembered. Most importantly, it was FUN.

So often we forget that ultimately we do something because we want to. We have a choice, nobody is forcing us to do anything. 

If we’re going to spend our time doing anything, it should be because it’s helping us be better. It won’t always be fun and it definitely won’t be easy, but if you feel good afterwards, it’s worth it.

That’s my biggest takeaway and best piece of advice for anyone hesitating to get back into action. Do it because it’s fun, and do it because you want to. Do it because you know it’ll make you feel good, because it’s healthy and your brain will feel better when you’re done.

And most of all, remember that you’re in control and nobody is making you do anything. If something doesn’t feel right, don’t do it. But if it’s fear that’s keeping you from even trying, try to silence those voices in your head and remind them that you’re the boss of them. 

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