Week 6. Guarding your ears, take two

When I first began training in the martial arts, I had a lot of fear. I was afraid I would get hurt and that people wouldn’t like me and I would never fulfill my dreams and I would never have a family and on and on.

The first kick started breaking away the fear. But beneath the fear was a lot of anger. And uncovering it was unpleasant and uncomfortable. It turned out I was angry about a lot of things. About why I felt I had to keep quiet and the unfairness of the sexist assholes who had too much influence over my life and like that.

After a while I got tired of the anger and the fear and I let them go. Not completely: I still have a fair amount of outrage. And the only people who are completely fearless are psychopaths, which is not a condition I care to emulate. But it’s fair to say that after I trained for a while, these emotions—fear and anger—were no longer the dominant experiences of my life. I was learning how to assert myself. I was learning that some of the anger was directed at me, for not speaking up, for not walking away. Once I started taking those actions, I didn’t have to feel anger anymore.

Instead I felt confident, even content. On the whole, things were pretty good. But the thing about feeling confident that you can kick whatever asses need kicking and being content with the life you are living is a whole system of industries is set up to make you think you can’t kick whatever asses need kicking and that you shouldn’t be content with your lame-ass life.

You don’t have enough money to retire and you have to retire! because everyone does and what if you’re disabled and also you are fat and that will make you die. Also it is very unattractive for other people to look at. What kind of selfish bitch are you, anyway? And you are raising your children wrong. They are fat demanding slobs who haven’t been perfectly assimilated into the factory-worker mindset so they will never get jobs for which they are grateful and you are all going to die!

Yes, indeed.

For every voice saying, “You know, I got this,” there are ten thousand trying to drown it out.

The fact is, you are going to die, and unless you’re fairly close to your expiration date, you have no idea when.

But between now and then, you can have an amazing life, but not if you listen to everyone telling you that fear is good, and anger is better.

Don’t listen to them. You got this. You really do.

A few of my favorite things

LESSONS IN MAGIC
A CERTAIN KIND OF MAGIC
THE IMPROBABLE ADVENTURES OF A MIDDLE-AGED WOMAN
DOJO WISDOM FOR WRITERS