Get Smart

Half of being smart is knowing what you are dumb about

I know I’m not supposed to focus on the negative, but in order to improve myself, I can’t always ignore the long list of things at which I suck. Like swimming, which I never learned how to do, and math, which my daughter also needs help with. When she recently asked me what 8 x 4 was, I said “24”, and she replied “Okay”, then Joe said “Oh my god! It’s 32!”. That’s one of the reasons we need him around.

Another thing I’ve never done well is stand up for myself. Even with years of MA training, sometimes I think I may as well have a stamp on my forehead that says “doormat”, for the amount of people I’ve let walk all over me. When I do actually try to stand up for myself, I do it so badly that it often comes out all wrong. I let things get to the point where I’m emotional, and then instead of being civilized, I’m more like “Fuck you, you fucking fuck!”, which usually doesn’t go over very well, and makes me look (and feel) bad.

Recently in Jiu-Jitsu class when my partner didn’t immediately let go when I tapped, I just kind of took it, and I didn’t really say anything to him. After the incident, my teacher Amy advised me that if someone doesn’t stop when I tap, then I have permission to punch them in the face, but I don’t want to handle it that way.  I already know how to flip the bitch switch and fight back when I need to, but now I would rather learn to be smarter about it .  If I had punched that guy, there’s a chance I could’ve ended up seriously injured, instead of just in pain for days.

I know there’s a middle ground between passive acceptance and hostile retaliation, I just haven’t personally found it yet. One of the good things about being aware of the things you do badly is that you can work on improving them if you want. I see no reason why I should learn how to swim, because I am as far away from the Atlantic Ocean as I can be without getting any closer to the Pacific! I also don’t think I need to get any better at math, as long as Joe (or a calculator) is around, but properly standing up for myself is something I still really need to work on.


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