I recently posted about boxers running into hard things and not wanting to face their Achilles heel. It’s rare that an athlete loses because their body cannot do the task. It is more common that an athlete’s head gets in the way. Their perception, their doubts, their fears get in the way of the body’s performance.
I experienced this in several fights. In 2006 I fought Holly Holm in Albuquerque, NM. Before this fight, everything was falling a part for me mentally/emotionally. I was doubting my coaches and was preparing to leave the stable I was in. I was way out of my element dealing with interviews, photo shoots and juggling my personal life. I stopped trusting anyone and started hitting control mode. I was slowly blaming everyone else for what I was feeling. I was gathering people around me that agreed with me and reinforced how right I was. I was needing to feel protected. Little did I know all my pre fight actions were cementing me into a huge, frustrating experience in the ring and leading me further from myself. The part I feel worst about is after my fight. I was less than gracious….actually, I was a jerk. All my frustration, hurt and confusion came out in sloppy, mean words in my post fight interview. I wasn’t respectful of my opponent or ultimately myself. I blamed other people and was completely pissed off. You can’t take back words or actions you do. My next 3 fights were even worse and I’ve felt unsatisfied ever since.
You can hope that others let go of your actions towards them. Mostly, you have to let yourself have forgiveness and learn from your experiences.
I wasn’t ready to face certain parts of myself at that time and it’s taken until 2013 to even begin to face those parts.
I’ve had many other times after that fight that I reacted out of hurt, frustration and anger and every time I was left filling unsatisfied, and feeling worse than before. I’m not always a nice person, I’m not always positive. I can be direct and mean when threatened like anyone. I’ve done actions that hurt others because I wanted to blame anyone I could just so I didn’t have to face myself.
Finally this year I have started having success in finding an outlet versus having to revert to acting out of anger to hurt others so that I don’t feel hurt. It took me realizing how much my actions affect others. It took everything falling a part to get motivated to put it together in a solid way.
What I’ve realized is that it’s ok for that person in me to come out in boxing and in the ring. When I started to access the jerk in me before, I’d start feeling bad and ended up taking more punishment while in the ropes. I’ve always been trying to get away from that person and because of that, she shows up in life instead.
Recently I had the chance to spar with Ann Marie Saccurato. I had dreamed of fighting her in the past and I was getting the chance to get in there and bang with someone I have always respected. There was one round, where I let myself express from way down deep. I used my shoulders, some pushing tactics, holding, and pulling. I finally felt it and it didn’t have anything to do with wanting ill will for anyone. I wanted Ann Marie to respect me because I had the guts to be myself with her in the ring in front of other people while we shared punches. I wasn’t strong enough to do it for 4 rounds, but the round I was, felt inspiring. I feel the temptation to act out of frustration and anger and I keep remembering what that little moment in the ring felt like.
I want more of that and I desperately want my other boxers to be able to go there.