National’s Retrospective

Warning, This post is full of self angst and other personal life bullshittery. No advice, humor, or other diverting things follow. Just me figuring out my own shit. Keep reading if your into that or wait for the next update if your not.

It’s been a month since Nationals. A month in which I’ve slowly been working my way back towards myself. I’m not exactly sure what of the many things that happened in the past 60 days pushed me over the edge, but for the past couple of weeks I’ve been spending a minimum of an hour a day questioning my life choices. Wondering if this sport is worth it. Wondering if the pain and the sacrifice bring me corresponding joy. Wondering if the money blown should be kept to reduce the stress it causes, living perpetually broke, paycheck to paycheck, occasionally making the choice between eating for a few days or putting gas in my car. Wondering if the time I’ve lost spending with other friends, time I’ll never get back, is really less important than the training I put in…for a vague and unspecified goal, that will bring me no measurable gain.

I should be using this space to talk about the fighting and the incredible jump in talent certain regions have brought. I should speak on how pressure affected myself and other fighters and what can be done to mitigate it. I should spend this time going over the mistakes I made and saw or the brilliant plays everyone can learn from. And mostly I should be thanking the amazing people who put up enough money to not only get my ass out there, but to get me back on my feet enough to get a solid set of wheels.

But I find I can’t talk about any of that without facing the personal issues and demons that came up there. Because that was where things seemed to pivot for me. A few days before getting out there I felt mostly normal but stressed. The day I touched down though things were off. At no point did I feel like I was really fully invested in the event. I had fun. I went through the motions of the activities that bring me joy and I felt the emotional reactions they bring bubble up in me. Everything felt somewhat hollow though and I pretty much constantly just wanted to move onto the next thing and get shit over with.

I’m rarely an anxious man, but I was that whole week. Have been since then. I was also depressed it seems. That hollowness, that lack of ambition, I recognize that from my apathetic semi suicidal days. I hear in my own words the feelings I get from other depressed people.

Having been back I’ve thrown myself into a number of projects. I’m spending more hours at work and being far more focused when I’m there. I put together an event for the Knights Hall. I made a video and began working on some more. I’ve taken over teaching one of the knights hall evening classes and with Cat have been working on my lifting and sparring. I’ve been trying to find time for writing, while making sure to carve time in my schedule to visit old and neglected friends…..I’ve made a budget for the first time in like 5 years…and I’m even kinda sticking to it.

I’ve basically finally grown up. Maybe. I realize now that my problem was that I had put too much of myself into fighting. I was only able to practice my hobby this year because of some major charity from supporters and friends. That is the second time I’ve needed to do that in 3 years of fighting. And probably the 5th or perhaps even greater time I’ve failed so hard I’ve had to have some group of others pick me up and support me. It was not a good feeling. Realizing that the only thing I was really proficient and competent in was a sport maybe 1000 people total in the US care about. Probably only 10000 across the world.

I was really worried I was going to drop and give this up for a while. My life has had a pattern of giant upheaval every 2-3 years for as long as I can remember. I would be deeply invested in a thing only to essentially completely leave it behind and move on to a new shiny. It was time for that life change…but I didn’t want to give this up. I love it. I love the people I meet. I love the excitement, the danger, hell the stress from pulling it off. This life calls to me.

But I needed a change and I guess I found it. As I work hard on being a successful person in a balanced sense I find I can still dedicate myself to this as much as anyone else I know is. However I can find room to fix the rest of my fuck ups. And I need to. I can’t fall to needing charity again. I don’t think my pride could take that. I don’t think my self esteem would let me. Even as is I feel like somehow I’ve cheated people out of the money they gave. That I don’t deserve this love and support.

I know that’s mostly left over issues from never having self worth until recently. But I also look at my past and go, fuck here I am fucked up, taking a hand out because it’s easy. They wouldn’t give if they realized how much of pattern this is. And I realize I can’t put people in that position again. I’ve never learned how to handle myself…because I’ve never had to. Becuase people keep lifting me up. I keep finding safety nets and not hitting the rock bottom and learning the lesson I’m supposed too.

But I think I did emotionally this time. I was ready to walk away from everything…and it was only within the past week that I really realized how much I didn’t want to do that. I know I’m rambling at this point, so I’ll try to wrap up, in case anyone bothered to read this bullshit.

The weeks leading up to Nationals exposed how fucked up my priorities have been. The subsequent weeks I went through and was able to face a bunch of my bullshit and some of it I’m actively addressing, though I still have so far to go to become a functioning adult, let alone a good and worthy person. Nationals itself showed that even with everything I’ve done, I am not where I want to be in this game, because while I train hard, I don’t train smart enough and I buy into my own hype. It showed me also that while I love this game…it isn’t all that I need and want in life and can be just as hollow as the rest of it was.

I’m not going anywhere, I love this shit too much. But I am learning how to be more than dumb sword jock. Maybe if I learn how to be a complete person one little fuck up won’t so completely warp my world view. Hopefully this balance things is as good as everyone says it is.

Friday’s update will be less whiny and self absorbed. Promise.

As always,

See you in the List.


One thought on “National’s Retrospective

  1. Perhaps one of your best writings yet. You may be surprised to learn you are far from alone, in these feelings.
    There are those that have never felt quite good enough.
    Please continue to inspire


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