Over the weekend, I went to a Historical European Martial Arts (HEMA) sword-fighting class. This is something I’ve considered doing for over a year (because, swords), but consistently found excuses why this wouldn’t be a good idea (I’m 40! I’m in terrible shape! I’ll be the only woman there).
For a host of reasons, I felt the need to go now, and despite my fears, I was able to do everything they asked of me (including sparring) and I had fun doing it.
I’ve taken the last couple days to reflect on this, however, and appreciate my progress. The reality is that I’ve been looking at doing this for over a year and I’ve only now mustered up the courage and the drive to go.
Because I had to work through about 10 fears to get to the point where I even considered showing up for a class like this (some include social anxiety/fear of being the outcast; fear of doing the wrong thing; fear that my body won’t cooperate; fear of strange men with weapons).
I set aside all those fears, however, and I went, and I had fun, and I’ll go again.
I’m only now realizing how much progress I’ve made. Last year, this could never have happened because of my fears of judgment and of being seen. I’m realizing now that, in the moment, I wasn’t worried about how I looked doing the things they asked me to do—I just practiced until I was doing it better. I didn’t worry about the fact that there was no way for me to be invisible in this class—I just did it.
I’m taking the time to stop and appreciate how far I’ve come. I’ve had to work through a lot of self-doubt and other issues since I quit my office job last year to start my business. It’s not easy, and it’s a lot more personal growth work than I was expecting it to be. It’s so much work that I’m often moving from a personal issue to a freelancing issue to a business issue without stopping to reflect on what progress is actually being made. The last couple of days I’ve done that, and I’ve realized that just like we acknowledge the triumphs of others, we need to acknowledge our own triumphs and progress. I, personally, spend a lot of time on what progress I need to make and not nearly enough time acknowledging how far I’ve come. So, just like I do with my friends and the children in my circle, I’ll be doing something simple to celebrate how far I’ve come—it’ll encourage me as I move toward how far I have to go.