Monday, September 3, 2012

Shark Girl Is Sad

sniff sniff . . .

Or am I just . . .
jealous?     feeling sorry for myself?
over competitive?     overworked?
                all of the above?

I’m a busy gal. You know, mom-of-two, spouse and full-time teacher. And I run three times a week and do BJJ three times a week.

Lately, some younger, spryer folks who started around the same time as me have been going to class more often. And getting better. Than me. You can see why I’m upset, right? Oh, I mean sad. Jealous? All of the above?

I know I’m supposed to concern myself only with “my own progress,” not “compare myself to others,” leave “my ego off the mat,” blah, blah, blah.

Let’s get real. I’m competitive and have high standards for myself. I work hard. I try to cut myself some slack and learn at my own pace. But when my ass gets handed to me by some young teether whom I previously trounced (okay, maybe stalemated), well, I’m not too thrilled. Intellectually I know they don’t have the pressures and commitment of spouses and children. They don’t have the same weight of years on old bones. But I don’t feel this inadequacy in my head. I feel it in those old bones.
Don't let the cute face fool you. He's a killer.

I have mixed feelings about this.

Part of me says, “Chill out, Shark Girl. You’re a forty-two year old lady doing righteous jiu jitsu. You should just be happy you can drag your AARP-solicitation-receiving ass on the mat.” But another part of me wants to embrace that unsatisfied part of me. Isn’t it those very “fighting” feelings that got me on the mat in the first place, the lone girl confronting men much larger in hand-to-hand combat (really, who does that?), convinced that I could have a shot at winning? If I “chilled out,” I would have been long gone after the first lesson.

In the end, I suppose I need to strive for that balance between competitiveness and reality, jealousy and satisfaction, hard work and rest. I need to find the happy medium that will keep me on the mat and striving to improve without feeling overwhelmed. It’s sort of like what I try to do everyday in my roles as mother and teacher. Jiu jitsu is so much like real life, isn’t it?


  1. I understand exactly what you mean!!!
    I have been training for about 18 months now and whilst I'm 27, not a mother, I work fulltime in a job which requires me to be on call 24-7 and I do respite for foster children on my weekends and volunteer elsewhere. There are "youngsters" at my gym that have been training for a shorter time than me and i can not help but compare myself with them. They have the freedom from responsibilities to train in all the classes when i have to stay late at work or even financially they attend seminars and go away to training camps when I'm at home paying my mortgage.
    However in contrast I find my value and progress in contributing a different way. I focus on strengthening my knowledge in the basics and help with the children's classes. My "responsible" characteristics mean that I can reliably commit as a back up if an instructor is ill or away. Additionally my organisational skills help greatly when we all travel as a team up to 1,000km away and there's all the logistical aspects of that which I am great at working with.
    Thankfully everyone acknowledges that we all have different lifestyles and circumstances. As it is commonly said "life happens" and our priorities may have to shift and lay elsewhere time to time, it's the fact you continue to put in the 100% possible in your life that counts, not when compared to anyone else's.
    On a side note, your blog contributes! I love reading your articles and reassuring myself that I'm not the only one going through these thoughts. Thank you

  2. Wow! You do amazing things! Props to you.

    Thank you for sharing your experience. I put my thoughts out there hoping for replies like this that show me *I'm* not alone, so really we are reassuring each other!

  3. I feel you, SG. I have had to put training aside for a little bit (we're undergoing IVF and the doctor said so) and it's really annoying me that I'm even bothered by this, but I'll say it: everyone (on the internet) is getting promoted past me! Seems like girls I knew as whitebelts (when I was a new blue) are now purples! I know I'm not supposed to care about belt color and usually I don't... and I know I'm not progressing because I am devoted to a higher cause at the moment... and therefore it's appropriate that I'm not being promoted... but it's still sad...

    Sorry for all the ellipses too :)


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