Lions Lurking in the Dark.

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Our heads can be a pretty messed up place sometimes.

It’s probably rude of me to use the word “our” and make the assumption that your head is as messed up as mine, but I thought that if I said “our” it made me sound less crazy. By not taking offense to my use of the word “our” and me collectively lumping us all together, you are taking one for the team. I thank you for your service.

Sometimes I think my brain just fucks with me for the fun of it. Kind of a “I’ll show you who’s in charge,” thing.

It could almost be considered an art form of how brilliant my brain (probably the only time I’ll get to use brilliant and my brain in the same sentence) is at creating nonsense. Worrying about things that haven’t even happened yet. Stressing about things that are out of my control. Putting too high of value on things that don’t matter. Letting my fears steer my direction.

It really is amazing how complicated and cluttered my brain can become over some of the dumbest things. How I can make up fears that are completely unnecessary and often times impossible.

I chalk a big part of it up to having a huge imagination. Good for my job where I rely on creativity and I can use my imagination to dream up different and unique pieces to include in my work. Bad when you can imagine and vividly play out impossible scenarios like a strange and twisted movie as a private showing in your head. I take it to the next level of bad when I actually let it scare me like it’s a rational thing.

Like my fears of being eaten by a lion…

that had escaped from the zoo…

and made it all the way to my town…

lurking in the dark field at the end of our street where the light can’t reach…

and pouncing on me as I walk to my car to get something I forgot to bring inside…

sharp teeth stained with blood as my intestines hang like a chandelier from the jaws of the beast…

eating me alive as my family helplessly watches from the window…

I fully understand that I might have just open a giant can of holy shit she’s crazy. (Like I hadn’t already done that long ago.) I might be exaggerating just a bit as to how wild my imagination is. Might. Might being the key word. I mean everyone worries about lions lurking in the dark, right? It’s a totally a valid fear, right?

Riiiiigghht…

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Alright, alright, I promise this is jiu-jitsu related. My brain just took control and ran with it and when I let it do that we can go down some pretty curvy roads of ridiculousness.

In jiu-jitsu my brain often times gets the better of me.

I worry about things that haven’t even happened yet. I stress about situations that are out of my control. I put too much value on things that don’t matter. I let my fears steer my direction.

My latest challenge, and I only say latest right now because it is only within the last few days that I made the choice, with the help and guidance of a few SFC peeps, to actually take some leaps at this hurdle of putting myself out there more and asking more people to roll. This has been a struggle from day one and it’s been a challenge that I have avoided. I’ve built it up to be this awful thing, worrying and stressing about the possible rejection. And, the more I sit there at the edge of the mat and build it up in my head, the scarier it becomes. A lion lurking in the dark unknown ready to pounce and eat me alive if I dare to put myself out there.

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I knew eventually that I was going to have to face this fear, but I put it off and put it off, knowing that this area was quite possibly going to be the biggest mental challenge I would face in my jiu-jitsu life. Or just life in general.

My brain tells me to hang out in my comfort zone. It’s safe there. No rejection. No embarrassment. No lions.

It’s also boring there.

No learning. No growth. No glory from taming the wild beast.

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But, here’s the funny things about these fears and worries that we build up in our heads. They are never as scary as we think they are going to be. Afterwards, when you’ve taken the leap, asked someone to roll, and they didn’t loudly say in front of the whole class of people, “Fuck no! I’m not rolling with you, you loser,” you realize that it wasn’t so bad and it actually felt really good to put yourself out there.

I know that I’ve still got a long road ahead of me with this challenge. It goes so much deeper than just a presence in my jiu-jitsu life. This has been something I have struggled with for as long as I can remember. It’s obviously going to take a lot of practice and consistent effort to get my brain to stop making up these ridiculous rejection worries.

I felt like last night was a good first step in the right direction. I asked people to roll. I got in a lot of great rounds. I left feeling on top the world, proud of myself for not letting my brain and fears control my progress.

Hopefully, if I keep this up, one day I can quit fearing the lion and instead become one. Full of courage and unafraid of the challenges in front of me.

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