If you had told me in June of 2009 that today, right now, I would have a brown belt in martial arts, I would have looked at you as if you had sprouted antlers. And a third eye. And tentacles in an unspeakable (and unviewable) place. Not. Happening. Not. Possible.
My granddaughter had been doing martial arts for about a year then and I would come in and watch, the kid in me simply yearning to do it, too. But how? I was (and am) a butterball turkey of a woman--diabetic, numb from shin down, mild vertigo with the tendency to topple over sideways without warning and a complete inability to get my tush off the ground. So I merely yearned, quietly, because it was a ridiculous yearning (that began when everybody else my age did--watching Kung Fu on TV) and I fear the laughter of others.
Still, I confided all the above to a trusted friend at work, who happens to have a second degree black belt. I was flabbergasted when she replied, "Nuh-uh. You can too do it! We can teach ANYbody!" I gave her a dubious look, but secretly, my courage was bolstered, and on a delusional pillow of hopefulness, I went and repeated the same thing to the teacher at my daughter's martial arts school.
You could have knocked me over when she said "Sure! We can teach you! We'll modify things! We'll accommodate you!"
I said "Okay, I'll sign up soon! Like next month!" The panic was setting in and I was backing away as fast as I could and JUST as I nearly escaped, her husband said, "Here, come into the office! We'll sign you up and see you on Thursday!"
EEEK! What had I done? They handed me the uniform, the biggest one they had. Naturally, the pants did not fit (did I mention the whole butterball turkey thing?)
I fretted all that night. I fretted all the next day. Fretfully, I donned the gi. My granddaughter, as we walked to my car said "I'm scared Nana!"
"I'm afraid they'll hate you because you're fat and you don't know what you're doing," she replied, looking up at me worriedly.
"Oh, honey, it's no secret that I'm fat, and if they don't like me because of it, that's their problem, not mine. And of course I won't know what I'm doing. I've never done this before!"
The closer I got, the more worried I was, but at the same time, I thought--fine. I don't know what I'm doing. I am going to look like a complete idiot, but that is rarely fatal. And I will fail, and I will fail, but I will continue until I stop failing. What do I have to lose?
And so, with fear and trembling, I went through those double doors as a student, not a proud and beaming grandmother, sitting on the sidelines.