Most people have the greatest trouble understanding what they can or can not do.
Here english not being my mother language shows all its limits, so I’ll try to explain myself as clearly as possible.
Most people have no idea how they can or cannot react, how far they can go, how sharply they can point out something, where their rights begin.
Can you tell your boss to fuck off if he’s asking you the nth unpaid overtime work?
Is it appropriate to break somebody’s arm because he touched your ass?
Can you not answer somebody’s call because you don’t want to hear from them?
Can you tell your boyfriend you don’t wish to go out because you’d like to be alone and watch a movie?
The question is not “can these things be done?” but “is it your RIGHT to do these things in these situations, or would you be going too far, would you be overreacting, would you be passing boundaries?”
I could of course give you my answer, but that wouldn’t be much of an use. What really matters, is for you to understand where your rights start and end. Where the lines are drawn.
When I was still in school, I sucked at math. I was really, really bad. I remember getting a 6 or 7 a couple of time in a test at high school, any other was a 4. It has always been like that and I also took private lessons once or twice a week. I was very good at every other subject.
My mother used to say (and she still says that, if asked) that I didn’t put enough effort in math. Not in the “she does not study enough” way: I knew the rules and that’s why I always managed to get a 6 for the end of the year. But I could not apply them. I could put all the effort in the world and be just able to progress so little.
If I really sat down at my desk trying to solve math problems all day long, maybe I could have gone a little further during one in a test. One or two equations further. Ending one seemed impossible. But I liked maths. I really put my best efforts in it. I really sought for a reward.
I would like to tell you that this whole math thing has an happy ending, but it has not. I left high school with 5/15 in the exit math test and I decided that it would have happily been my last encounter with it.
But still, my mother says that I COULD HAVE PUT SOME MORE EFFORT.
Yes, I could. You can ALWAYS put some more effort in something.
But always know your rights. Here a very labile right comes in: the right to suck at something and still enjoying doing it.
Nobody is going to actually tell you that you CAN NOT enjoy something you suck at. But you’ll become a basis for comparison (on the lower asset of course). You’ll see the others progress, get better, learn things, get stripes, win tournaments, and still there you are, getting under a white belt mount so many times you can’t even tell.
Yes they are bigger. Yes they go harder. Yes you train less than them. Yes they are male. Yes, maybe all of these together. But let’s just say it plainly: your best just isn’t as good as their. Your best just isn’t good enough.
That’s it. And you would not think about it for a split second, if there weren’t all the people comparing to each other all around. Yeah, we all know, to keep an ego-free gym, nobody should compare himself to others. BJJ is SO ego-free (yeah, sure).
Everybody does that. That’s fucking obvious. You will always measure your progress by how many time you got out of that guy’s back control, how many times you got that other guy under side control and so on. Maybe not by how many times you tap somebody, yeah, kudos to you. I am the one whose back control people’ll always escape. That’s something certain, like “c’mon bro you were so tired you didn’t even manage to escape her side control”.
Name a single purple belt that would not be disappointed in getting tapped by blue belts all the time. I want the fucking names.
And everybody wants to build some image of themselves, whatever that image being. Everybody wants to prove they are the best, better, or at least good, and to prove it you need to compare yourself to others.
Then, there’s me.
When you are so unlucky to be the lightest (and almost only) woman in a BJJ class, you know that it’s not how it can work for you. Yes, you could be one of those great BJJ girls who can do magic tricks on the mats against everybody, but facts are: you are not. So your fate is to actually be mounted, back mounted, tapped, side controlled and thrown all the time. But I am also so lucky to have encountered maths and learnt somethings: how to suck fiercely. I don’t need to pretend.
I may have not known that when I started, but now I do. I don’t have a very strong top game because I almost never get there. And that “almost” never moves from almost.
I never – really, never – get a solid mount. I always get thrown around.
The last time I tapped somebody was… well… last year maybe? Somewhere last year.
Guard game? Sure. When a 180 lbs man tries to open your guard, it opens. It works with 170 too. 160. 150. 140. 130. Yeah.
You tryin’ takedown? Hope to be fast enough for them not to sprawl. And I’m not fast. At all.
Of course I do strenght and conditioning. Yeah. I’m bad, I told you so. It’s not just the effort. How much fucking effort should I be putting in it to get as good as a normally-gifted person, for god’s sake. I wouldn’t have all that time even if I had 72-hours days.
Sport is just not my thing, like maths. And no amount of mothers telling me that I may be putting some more effort can change that.
And yes, it can be demising. Knowing people sayin’ they are so tired you could tap them too. People not rolling with you cause they want a real challenge for this sparring session. Spending 5 minutes under side control. And spending them again another time. And another.
Some people just don’t get better at other people’s rate. Yes, you can always improve your techinique and yes, how much and how fast depends on your commitments, but not everybody is the best. Good. Or decent.
But I enjoy BJJ. And I claim my right to suck. I claim my right to be stuck under side control from when I started, almost 3 years ago. I claim my right not to be fast. I claim my rights not to be able of doing the maths.
I may suck at BJJ, but I know where my rights stand.
I have the right to enjoy sucking at what I like.
I will suck at BJJ for many years to come, cause I just don’t quit the things I enjoy.
Others may do that, and I don’t blame them. Better people will quit. And better people will come. I am bad. But I am consistent. I will always be there. I am prepared to get tapped by white belts when I’ll be a black belt. And I won’t get it because I’m good.
I will get it because I will always stand.
p.s. I anyway suggest you don’t try to make a job from things you are not good at, no matter how much you like them