Being the Worst Doesn't Make You the Weakest (and Why I Nearly Cried at Kickboxing)

I was the WORST in kickboxing class last night.

It was my first night with my uniform and I felt like I'd been transported back to summer camp. Except my bright green Lakeside t-shirt had been switched with a bright red Martial Arts Place t-shirt. But the same awkward, gangly-legged, white-limbed girl was still inside.

I felt exactly as I always felt. 

Like I shouldn't be there. 

Like I didn't fit in.

That my arms and legs and hands and feet were just never going to quite manage to coordinate.

That I was the one who was just never really quite going to get it, no matter how many times someone explained it to me.

And there was partner work. And my partner was speaking words to me about the sequence of punches that I was supposed to do. But I couldn't HEAR the words. I couldn't take them in. Just like I've NEVER been able to take them in. Don't TELL me the sequence, do it WITH ME, over and over and over again. Your words don't mean anything to me. They just float around in the air and I'm thinking "shit, shit, shit, I can't remember these words. What's WRONG with me?"

I got everything wrong. 

I kicked wrong. I punched wrong. I ducked wrong. I fought wrong. I defended wrong. And I even went the wrong fucking way around the line at the end of class when we had to touch fists with everyone else.

And I started to think that old familiar thought that maybe I was wrong.

And the tears even started welling up at one point, they really did. But no, I WILL not cry this time. I will NOT let these feelings get the better of me this time. 

Because this isn't like before. This isn't Lakeside. This isn't the school rounders field or the netball pitch or the cross country track. 

And I may still look like that girl. I may still be awkward and white-limbed and gangly-legged and uncoordinated BUT, I'm not that girl anymore.

I'm the one out here doing it anyway.

I'm the one who's doing the stuff that scares her.

I'm the one who's showing up even though it's hard.

I'm the one who's determined to grow and face my shit no matter what.

I'm the one who WILL NOT give up anymore or EVER.

And on the way home I sent Keijiro a text and told him I was the WORST in class today.

And he wrote back and said, "rock on - that means you've challenged yourself the hardest."

And well I pretty much fell in love with that perspective. 

Because no matter how hard it is or how terrible I am or how many times I want to cry or feel like I just CANNOT carry on, I WILL not give up. 

And no matter how much these feelings keep coming and no matter whether they never, ever go away and I feel like that awkward girl for the rest of my life, I will not STOP doing what I need to do and putting myself in these uncomfortable situations.

And I will not tell myself anymore that I'm the worst. I'll tell myself that I'm the one who's challenging myself the hardest.

Because life isn't about looking good or being the best. It's about GROWTH. And you only get to grow when you put yourself in situations in which you're the worst. And which make you feel like you want to run far, far away from them and never go back.

And then you stay the fuck in those situations and you don't run away and you just keep being the worst as long as is necessary, which may be forever, but you do it anyway.

I guess what I wanted to say today is this:

If you're in the field, doing the stuff that's hardest for you, you NEVER, EVER criticise yourself for that. You never beat yourself up or talk yourself down for being the person willing to show up and be the worst.

Because oh my goodness that takes big balls. 

I met a woman in my acting training back in 2013. Her name was Andreea. She was Romanian and very beautiful and a phenomenal actress. And she figured me right out in an instant. She knew me inside out within a matter of days. And I loved Andreea. She was so real. She told me once what she saw in me - a person who appeared delicate on the outside which others would often interpret as weak - but strong as steel and determined as hell on the inside.

She was right. And this is what YOU have to remember:

Being the worst doesn't make you the weakest. Sometimes, being the worst means you're the one fighting hardest.

So rock on, friend. Go be terrible at something today. Be the worst. And know that it takes guts to be that person.

Love and courage,

Leah