“When adversity strikes, that is when you have to be the most calm. Take a step back, stay strong, stay grounded, and press on.” –James Todd Smith (a.k.a. L.L. Cool J)
This may have been one of the longest weeks of training that I have had yet, which makes me pretty nervous about this week –Week Six. Week Six marks the halfway point of our training, which culminates in a Friday evening Progress Evaluation and a Saturday morning training session. I am not supposed to give away any secrets of the black belt test, so I am going to leave the description of these two events at a minimum. Needless to say, I am going to need to prove that I know all of the content up to this point and that I have shown significant improvement. If not, my training is over.
Now, for last week’s recap.
During Week Five, we had our traditional training sessions for three nights, but on Tuesday night we had to stay until 10 p.m. for a Candidate Class. During the class we focused only on our defense techniques. The Candidate Classes are tailored to meet the needs of that specific training group and the defense portion was where we needed help. After leaving on Tuesday evening, I was in a bit of a funk. I felt like everything I learned up to that point wasn’t good enough or strong enough or I just wasn’t doing anything right. I am hard enough on myself and when I feel that I am not performing to my ability level, I tend to become insular. My confidence level was pretty low walking away from the class, but I had some good conversations with friends who have been through the training, and I felt a lot better by the week’s end.
On Wednesday I barely made it though the work day. I was living on coffee and fumes and started to get slap happy by the end of the workday when exhaustion was setting in and caffeine was making me brittle. At one point I started laughing uncontrollably in the department office (at something that really wasn’t that funny)and I ended up on the floor in tears. One of my friends at work encouraged me to go home immediately at the day’s end and take a nap — so I took his advice. When you work in a school community and most of your co-workers have known you for upwards to fifteen years, we see it all. It ended up being a perfect night off with my boys – relaxing, having a nice meal together, and catching up on snuggle time. Honestly, I barely got through the week. On Friday afternoon, I felt like I had survived a war (or at least a pretty grisly battle) and when I got home from work, this was my old lady scene:
With my Progress Evaluation looming ahead of me this Friday, I really need to make sure that I (a) take a lot of deep breaths, literally and figuratively, and (b) make sure that I get at least seven hours of sleep a night. It is going to be a challenge. I have been thinking a lot about balance and just how much I am asking of myself as a working mom. Although there is a clear goal and the time commitment is finite, there are some days when it feels impossible; but if I am anything, I am persistent. When I walk through the dark hallways of self-doubt feeling for a light, I always conjure up one of two things: anyone in my life who told me that I could not do something — because it is my nature to prove them wrong and that motivates me since I am a freak — or the image of my father cheering me on at the sidelines — because all I ever really wanted was to make him proud. Those are my two best motivators, and they work equally well; they snap me out of a dark place and get me back in the ring.