Posted: Sat Jun 12, 2010 5:50 pm Post subject: Isabella E Brain thread.
I had a really long post already typed up but I hit a link by accident because of my stupid !@!%(ing mouse on this computer and have to start over. This thread is a bit stream of consciousness like and for that I apologize but I don't know how else to get into it. So, this is for Jess and anyone else who might be interested. I'm breaking it up into a few posts so it's easier to read. Feel free to comment.
So, to paraphrase. As a kid I remember being pretty adventurous in a lot of ways and I played several sports a year and didn't think twice about risk taking like running as fast as I could down a steep mountainside or cliff jumping or doing stupid kid shit that we look back as adults and ask what the hell we were thinking at the time. Somewhere along the line I shut that courageousness in a box along with some other parts of myself until I found that I was unhappy and didn't even recognize who I was anymore. When I first encountered the SCA my daughter was still little and I had no outlets for anything and I was generally pretty miserable. Life around the house was sometimes pretty rough and it wasn't anybody's fault; it was just difficult. I can elaborate but it's not really all that important except that for a few years little pieces of me I had given up or let people take from me and I felt really lost. Boy, early 20's really suck and trying to figure out how to be married and be a parent on top of it muddles things.
The local group where I live looks a lot different now, but at the time the only heavy fighters in the area that I knew of looked terrible. I just wasn't interested. None of them looked the part of medieval warrior to me, but they did tell me that an hour away there was a group with a lot of fencers and if I was interested I could tag along when they went down there for the other group's wednesday night practice. So I did. I got a completely different impression. Those people had their shit together. There were one or two heavy fighters but a half a dozen fencers and they all looked the part. There were 2 Pels and 3 DWS and it only took me going down there once to know I wanted to get involved. So I did it by myself for a couple of months and it was a refuge for me from life. It helped me get back a little bit of the competition and challenge that had been missing from my life for a while. After a few months my husband finally came down to see who these people were and what I was doing and got involved shortly thereafter. When we got involved in a Kingdom level I found a welcoming community of awesome people that I'm still very close to even now. Overall I was a lot happier. I missed competition and physical contest and being an athelete. I realize it's not the same kind of risk and hazard as armored combat, but contrary to what some people believe you can't just pick up a schlager and expect to be good at it. It takes practice. For about 3 years I went to a weekly practice and drilled at home almost every day. _________________ It's not the most powerful animal that survives. It's the most efficient. -Georges St-Pierre
A few months later I was at a Kingdom war practice just before my first Estrella. The first time I saw and heard a bunch of guys in armor march past and watched them fight a melee a little seed in my brain was planted and over the following couple of years a little battle was waged in my brain before I ever put on armor and went out to play. What finally tipped me over the edge were the women who I looked up to. My White Scarf and a long time friend of hers decided they were going to hit the heavy field and I sure as hell didn't want to be left out, so despite my knawing, constant self doubt and fear of bodily harm I went out and did it anyway. I was given a set of horrible black plastic armor that another DWS friend and also heavy fighter was getting rid of and the rest was some cruddy self made or loaner stuff. I actually fought in armor the first time in the opening battle of an Estrella I think 5 or 6 years ago now. Authorization in Atenveldt is really, really informal.
My first battle I can remember being somewhat terrified. I don't think I would have made it out there at all if it hadn't been for the fearlessness of Regan and Deborah. Their courage became my courage until I managed to find where in myself it had been hiding for years. Every time I took the field (and still to a lesser degree now) it was a challenge for me to get out there. I still go through a gauntlet of fear and self doubt in my mind when I put my helm on and look across the line at the guys on the other side. It's usually not until I get killed for the first time that some of that starts to go away and I can relax and enjoy myself. I worry about getting injured. I worry about being a crappy fighter. I think about what will happen when a line of huge dudes comes charging at me. Do I have what it takes to stand my ground or will I falter? Because that's what I fear I will do. There is a part of me that is always afraid I'm not enough, of whatever it is I need to be. That creeps into every part of my life, unfortunately and there's a part of me that's always looking for praise and wanting to please people and be good enough. So I feel like when I put my helmet on I'm proving something to myself. When I went into the fire academy I did the same thing and I ran the gamut of those emotions on a daily basis. And to be honest I almost didn't make it. _________________ It's not the most powerful animal that survives. It's the most efficient. -Georges St-Pierre
I think most people don't try and really take on fear of failure. We live in a culture now where self esteem is everything and we do everything we can to keep kids from experiencing the pain of losing. For me, a serious fear of failure kept me from really trying on many occasions. It's easier to make up excuses about why you can't do something than it is to do it and fail and face the fact that you couldn't. I spent a few years only putting on my gear a few times a year. The rest of the time I had a lot of excuses. I didn't have the time. I wasn't strong enough. Whatever. It was all bullshit. The fact is I just wasn't committed and I am a perpetual procrastinator and half way there then get distracted and do something else sort of person.
I did not find it in me to face those parts of myself and change them until my life situation was such that I had no other option except change. There are some days where I wish I could rewind the clock and figure that stuff out sooner. I still hear those competing voices in my head, I just have to sit there and remind myself not to listen. I'm just out of excuses and I know it. If I can be a firefighter of all things, I can put on armor and go fight. I am stronger now than I've ever been, mentally and physically so I can't hide behind being out of shape or weak. I do love it, so I'm not just doing it as some kind of weird therapy. It's a thrill like few other things are and doing it, particularly fighting with friends, is incredibly fulfilling. But I don't want to just dabble anymore. I decided after I had to sell my stuff a few years ago that if I was going to do it again I was going to really do it, and do it as well as I can and be the person I want to be. To purge the weakness from myself and live up to my potential. You can't do that playing World of Warcraft or by watching sports on TV.
Anyway I think that's it for now. Jess, I don't know if I even hit on anything you were looking for, so if I mssed completely helpe me narrow it down a little. _________________ It's not the most powerful animal that survives. It's the most efficient. -Georges St-Pierre
This discussion isnít exactly where I thought it was going, but that doesnít mean it isnít worthwhile. It is.
Iíll try to be as earnest and honest as you have been.
Even as a little kid, I was never really interested in other people, what they thought, or what they wanted, or what they needed. I was always obsessed with my own thoughts and ideas in some sort of ceaseless monologue. It never stops. When I sleep, I dream. Despite the fact I never shut up inside (or maybe because of it), Iím bored most of the time. Iím flat. Iím never satisfied with much of anything. Physical activity never really interested me as a kid. Team sports combined physical activity and other people, so that was an annoyance I avoided.
I have a brother who is five years older than me. As a child, he was interested in martial arts. My mom always tried for some sort of equality in raising us. My brother was going to get $x of money spent on him taking martial arts classes, so she looked around for something to enroll me in to be fair. I really think she just couldnít stomach sticking me in ballet and having to socialize with all the other neighborhood girlsí moms during class. So when my brother started studying Kung-Fu, so did I. I think I was about 7 years old. It wasnít boring. That started my lifelong obsession. My brotherís interest didnít last. He dropped out, and my mother took me out too. Despite her liberal concepts of general roles, it never occurred to her that her little girl should keep studying martial arts when her son wasnít.
Years later, I would study karate. My mom thought it would be good exercise. I think she thought it might help me keep my weight down. It probably did. I loved it. I was good at it. That wasnít surprising to me. Pretty much everything I ever wanted to do, I was pretty good at if I put forth some effort. I started picking up weapons forms as part of competition. I heard about kendo. I knew immediately that was what I wanted to study. But there was no school anywhere nearby.
When I was 13, I saw an SCA demo. Here, again, this was what I wanted. But I was too young to fight and too young to drive. My mother wouldnít drive me to participate. I waited. I attended my first SCA meeting about a week after I got my license, only to learn that the fighting age had gone from 16 to 18 in the Midrealm. I started working on my armour.
Thereís never been fear for me in this. But thereís never been much fear for me in anything for very long. I just canít stand to be afraid. Iím always evaluating. I immediately sketch risks out to their worst possible outcomes, prepare myself, accept the consequences, and let fear go.
Iím not an adrenaline junkie. Iíd like to be. Iíve tried to be. But even skydiving, Iíve never felt a rush. I donít get a rush from armored combat. I canít remember the last time Iíve felt a rush. Maybe when nearly avoiding a car wreck. I guess Iím a mushin junkie. Iím looking for those seconds when my head isnít pounding with conscious thought. When Iím not thinking anything and I just act. My body just performs on its own. Those seconds of kinesthetic intelligence please me. Itís powerful. Itís peaceful. Itís some sort of hyperawareness and a feeling of being whole and alive. The only other time Iíve felt like that when not fighting is when riding a motorcycle at high speeds on a curvy road. Iíve felt something akin to it on rollercoaster drops. Thatís it.
Another part of it is that SCA armored combat is very difficult. This is the first thing Iíve come upon that I couldnít succeed at with minimal effort. Itís been physically challenging. Now that Iím getting stronger, I find it intellectually challenging. I can see the next set of challenges around the corner, and surprisingly to me they seem to pose emotional hurdles.
But saying all that, doesnít touch on the transformative nature of SCA armored combat. Iíll think about that some more and try to articulate it. _________________ First authorized: 1996 - 2000
Re-authorized: 2006 - now
Last event: Coronation
Next event: Border Raids
The Misery Tour: You'll wish you had less fun.
I'll have to take some more time to think about it. For me, my SCA participation as a whole has been very transformative but I;ll trying to think about it from the martial perspective.
I too, think too f**k much. Fighting takes me out of it, as does doing art and those few times in my job where my training kicks in and takes over because there is stuff happening that parts of my conscious mind do not need to be dealing with. _________________ It's not the most powerful animal that survives. It's the most efficient. -Georges St-Pierre
Maybe what I ought to say is that saying all that, doesnít touch on the transformative nature of SCA armored combat for me.
I thought your post was relating exactly that. _________________ First authorized: 1996 - 2000
Re-authorized: 2006 - now
Last event: Coronation
Next event: Border Raids
The Misery Tour: You'll wish you had less fun.
Well, I think what someone gets out of it probably varies widely. *shrug* _________________ It's not the most powerful animal that survives. It's the most efficient. -Georges St-Pierre
SCA combat has been the most transformative experience of my life. I can't explain it well because it goes beyond the verbal. _________________ Martel le Hardi
squire to Meser Lyonel Oliver Grace, fostered to Sir Gaston de Clermont
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