Fight Number 2

 

 

ImageThis was a rough 4 weeks or so. I bounced back and forth between having confidence to wondering whether or not I should even fight. I started training again after maybe 2 weeks off; from crazy travels to being sick, I needed the time. Getting back into it wasn’t difficult, but getting myself to push myself hard was. I started running again and the third day, I hurt my foot. I remember thinking, you’ve GOT TO BE KIDDING ME. I just nursed my other ankle back to somewhat health and now I’ve just got back into running and it feels like my foot is coming apart. I switched my ankle brace over and kept running to the gym. Probably not the best idea, but I was hell bent on making it to the gym. I was pissed off at my body. So, I get there and shake the pain off. I’m not trying to sound like a badass and I don’t know everyone’s pain tolerance so this could have been a sissy injury. Anyway, I did 5 rounds on the bag, 2 rounds of padwork, 500 skip knees, 500 situps, and 100 pushups then called it an early night. This was the start of an irritating week. I couldn’t walk the next day. It felt like I was just stepping on needles or knives or something ripping my foot apart. It was probably a nerve bundle or knot. Regardless of what it was, it was in the way of me training. I walked like I was 100 years old. It took me forever to get from one place to the next. Dan threw me over his shoulder a couple of times when we were out and shocked a couple of Thais. I was frustrated. I turned more to the internet and depressed myself even more. I read fighter’s blogs more and more. Now I wasn’t just comparing myself to the tiny Thais that were fighters in the womb, I was comparing myself to people who have committed themselves to fighting as their life. I was comparing myself to people who wanted 200 fights or someone who was after a title. I was comparing myself to fitness models who are so concerned with food and body composition it’s beyond a lifestyle, it’s an obsession. Those are their lives. Not mine. Muay Thai is not my life. Fitness is not my life.

My life is so many other little things all interweaving and everchanging. I don’t want to fight every week or train 6 hours every day of my life. Don’t confuse this with lack of dedication, because when it comes to a time when I want to fight, I give it or try to give it beyond 100%. I’m a perfectionist when it comes to training. I haven’t figured out if this is a good thing or a bad thing. I am hard on myself, but I think that’s because I want to be the best I can be and I haven’t felt like I have ever reached that point.  If I am waking up at 530am to train, I want to get the most of the session. If I am doing two-a-days everyday, I want the time spent to be worth it. I want progress. I don’t think I will ever reach a point where I think I’ve become the best I can be because there is always something I can improve on, something I can change, something I can practice more.

 But back to what I was originally going on a tangent about, this sport, even just fitness, is not my entire life. I don’t want to count every single almond I eat to make sure I make weight. There are some people that want to do those things and are very good at doing those things. That’s not me and it has taken me so long to realize that. I thought back before Muay Thai, before college, when I was in high school or even before that, the ideal image for a girl was a rail thin model. That was what was considered ideal, pretty, something to strive for. In high school, (thank god) I never considered weight or image. I was too busy running from practice to practice, game to game. I ate what I wanted and was constantly exercising, not because I wanted to be the skinny girl, but because I enjoyed what I was doing. Soccer, lacrosse, cheerleading, these things kept me active and healthy. I never concerned body image issues, never compared what I was eating with someone else or how many situps I was doing or how many miles I was running in comparison to a teammate. And I wasn’t the skinny girl. I never really contemplated my weight or structure. I didn’t know there was this need to look like tan Barbie until I got to college. I saw tan Barbie everywhere. I was not her. I kept eating what I wanted (and drank what I wanted), but I wasn’t always playing sports now. I was a cheerleader, but our activity was minimal. I was never super heavy, but I was bigger than I should have been. It took going to the doctor and hearing that I was overweight to snap out of it and get back on track, but I wasn’t saying I want to be fit and healthy, I was thinking I want to be skinny. I looked at the skinny models and I wanted badly to look like them. I thought then I would be comfortable in my own skin, if I could just be that skinny. So I started exercising more and eating better. It was nice to have people notice and compliment me, but I still had in my mind this skinny model image. I wasn’t happy with the simple fact that my diet was better and my activity was better. I was happy I was thinner for the wrong reasons. I was closer to the unrealistic goal of looking like a skinny runway model. After some major life experiences and changes, I stopped focusing on this skinny image. You would think I would get over comparing myself to others, but I didn’t really realize I was doing this. Maybe around junior/senior year that image changed and this new image replaced it, this crossfit fit chick image. This wasn’t an “ok, I am going to strive to look exactly like these girls moment,” it was a slow progression over time. I had stopped thinking I needed to be super skinny to be happy with myself. So, I really thought I was mentally healthier. I thought with this “I want to be skinny” thought out of my head, my body image issues were over. But even though that thought was out of my head, these other images were bombarding my subconscious. I didn’t even know I was comparing myself to these girls. I wanted to look strong, have a six pack, defined this, defined that. I started following fitness models on instgram, fit pages on facebook. I thought it was harmless, motivation.

But… WHAT? The skinny model ideal has faded away, but this unrealistic image of a crossfit/fighter/model badass replaces it. I didn’t realize until recently how obsessed I was. I had so many workouts saved and so many images of what I could look like if I just did this flashing on instagram. I had so many fight blogs bookmarked that said what they did for training, how many reps of this, how many miles they run, what they ate, etc.

I read an article a fitness model posted. She was obsessed and admitted it was an obsession, an obsession she was utterly in love with and passionate about living. She loved knowing every inch of the human body. She loved calculating every piece of food and drop of water that entered her body. That’s her life and that’s great for her. She had the body that most of the fit pictures are all about, toned, defined, 6 pack, etc. But that’s not my life nor would I ever want it to be my life.

I love chocolate. I like waking up early to just lay in bed and drink coffee instead of running a 6k before the sunrises. Don’t get me wrong. I can push myself when the goal I’m trying to reach requires it, but fitness is not my life, food is not my life, fighting is not my life. My life is so much more. This isn’t to look down upon people whose lives are Muay Thai or crossfit or whatever.  I admire them, to be so passionate about one thing. That’s amazing. I can’t be. I am too indecisive and I am slowly learning that it’s okay to be. It’s what makes me, me. I love a lot of different things and they all have a place in my life. I love clothes and eventually, I want to own a boutique. I love singing and dancing. I love doing my hair and makeup and getting dressed up for fancy dinners. I love wearing sweats and playing soccer in the afternoon. I love sweating and leaving the gym sore. I love getting in the ring and seeing what I can do, what I can challenge myself to complete. I love being strong and capable, but I am not afraid to admit when I’m not. I love to learn and to grow. I love food and healthy eating. I overeat healthy food regularly, broccoli -yeah I can eat a whole head of that, put a plate of brussel sprouts out and consider them already gone.  I want to be a health coach. I want to be a stylist. I want to be a fighter. I want to be a writer. I want to be a photographer. If I obsess over each of these things and compare myself to how other people are carrying on about them, I would go crazy. I don’t need to be the best at all of these things. I just need to be the best I can be. Super cliché, but it really has taken me this long to figure that out and believe it.

I don’t need to compare myself to others. So after all this realization stuff, I have deleted most of “fitness” pages and fighter blogs. (Okay.. I still follow Caley Reece on instragram, she’s one of my faves.)  I can google things if I have questions. I don’t need to have the comparison temptation. I’m not a Muay Thai chick.  I don’t live and breathe the sport. I enjoy it, I love it, but it does not and will never define me. I’m not a fashion girl. I love styling and shopping for others, but it’s not all I do. I am not a health nut. Okay, maybe a little. But we’ve discussed how much I overeat.. so this will never become a thing.  I’ve really deviated from just talking about my fight, but this is all stuff that was floating around in my head before and after, so I guess it’s relevant. 

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One thought on “Fight Number 2

  1. I have often thought of pretty much all the points you made in this insightful post. Seeking fitness through muaythai, body image, and identity (classifying yourself into a neat little box as a “muaythai chick” or “fitness model” etc), are all topics that I’ve written rough drafts for, for my own column. I find them very fascinating subjects, and I’m glad to see you started to tackle them in this post. I find that our “selves” and identities are expressed most clearly when we’re completely out of our “normal” lives, as in us foreigners coming to Thailand, because all of a sudden we are blank slates in the eyes of the community.

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