Wednesday, 5 July 2017

The Third Glass of Wine

The first glass of wine is always nice. It’s something to look forward to. It’s pleasant, easy to handle and gives you a warm feeling. It’s reliable, dependable and above all controllable. Your emotions remain in check, as does your heart rate. The first glass of wine is...well it’s good.

The second glass of wine is a bit more risque. It gives you a tingle and you feel that slight head spin of exhilaration as it warms your soul. It is still something that can be controlled and it’s just a little glimpse as to what lies beyond that balcony, over that hill and around that corner. The second glass of wine tastes so fine but is ultimately something that you can still keep within the boundaries of your own life.

The third glass is ever so bad, but so good. It’s that point where you feel like you could conquer the world and you believe that a 4th or 5th may soon follow...and you don’t care. It’s naughty, mischievous and even a little bit wicked. It removes inhibitions, strips away ethics imposed by society and can bring your darkest fantasies to the fore. The third glass is something that you know you shouldn’t have touched, but when you did you had no regrets. The third glass of wine is the one you are most afraid of...because it shows you who you truly are and not what you think you should be.

When you reach the third glass and you drink from it, you savour every drop and remember every sip. Soon though, you feel guilt and shame and vow never to touch a third glass of wine again.

But the bottle is still there and the wine is fresh and only improves with age.

Sunday, 2 July 2017

Schrodinger’s Pussy

Yesterday, as a struggled to cope with a rather horrid case of jet lag achieved by flying from London to Melbourne, my host was talking to me and some other guests about his ability to “read” people. He was hailed as being spot on in his assessments by the people present so I asked him if he could give me one sentence about me that didn’t come from something I’d already told him.

After a few seconds he said:

“I think you’re scared”.

I nodded in agreement and replied that I had indeed been scared for about the last week, specifically about coming back to Australia to finish GIC part 2 for Krav Maga.

After a pause he then added, “I don’t mean just that, I mean about everything.”

I asked him to elaborate and he said that I live my life like Schrodinger’s Cat. When I required further clarification he told me:

“You are scared so, like Schrodinger’s cat, you don’t know what a situation will bring so you guess. But instead of finding out what the result would have been by opening the box you go with that guess as if it’s the final answer”.

And….he was right.

I’ve kind of known this for a long time but to have someone else see it is scary. I’ve lived most of my life scared of something or other and my paranoia and insecurity have reigned over huge chunks of my existence in the last few decades.

To put it in perspective.

In April of this year I successfully completed part 1 of the General Instructor’s Course for Krav Maga Global. This is the backbone of any and all Krav teaching for the organisation I belong to, with the exception of the KIC/ Kids Instructor Course, which I already hold.

Part 1 was very hard and I was physically and mentally drained by the end of it. We broke up for nearly 3 months before part 2 was to begin and in that time I was in England and Greece, keeping fit and trying to retain some Kravvyness and not just let all that awesome training fade away.

For the last week I’ve spent most of that time SERIOUSLY contemplating not coming back to complete part 2. I had a multitude of reasons to justify this feeling.

1. It’s expensive and I’m almost at the end of my savings now.

2. It’s a 28 hour journey door to door and my jet lag will undoubtedly be horrendous **

3. If I lose my passport my insurance will pay not only for that but also for the return flight of £682 that I can’t claim back or cancel through conventional means.

4. I can do GIC 2 anywhere in the world so if part 3 happens then I can use that money to take it somewhere like London or Rome which are slightly nearer than Melbourne.

I fretted and fussed and stressed and bit my nails over this for days, locking the cat in the box and was 90% certain I WASN’T going to go back when a friend in England said, “This is just self doubt”.

And she was 100% right.

I have spent most of my adult life locking the cat in the box with the canister of poisoned gas, but only guessing at to whether it was still alive or not. I didn’t want to be proved one way or the other and by just guessing as to the outcome of a situation, I could forever live in a blissful state of calm ignorance, unhampered by the nasty intrusion of reality.

As THIS STORY shows. My reluctance to not only open the box but to even acknowledge its presence made me a bit of a Schrodinger’s pussy. And with that story, the outcome, when I did finally open the box by getting back in touch with the woman involved….nearly 9 years later...was that the cat was not only alive but very pleased to hear from me again.

GIC 1 cured my fear of sparring, an irrational fear that I’ve had ever since I was 4 years old. I know what created this fear but I was unable to move past it until Rune Lind of KMG Global Team made me and the other 14 guys fight for what seemed forever*** on day 11 of a 12 day course.

I never considered myself a coward in the conventional sense of the word. I would stand my ground and even get a kicking to prove I wasn’t scared (retrospectively not a sensible or clever stance to take). However the things that REALLY mattered to me were the ones I shied away from and just guessed the outcome of. Never knowing if the gas had killed the cat or not.

I couldn’t tell the woman I loved (and still love) that I loved her, because I was afraid of the result of doing so. I locked the cat in the box and never opened it. Believing it was better to never find out than to discover that the cat had died. Once I finally opened it with trembling fingers 8+ years later the results were beyond what my dreams were made of. The cat was far from dead. The cat leapt out and wanted to play, bearing no grudges at its 8 years long isolation from my life.

When I told the woman from this story that it was better to never have known how she felt than to discover she hated me or had forgotten me she shook her head, smiled and went “You’re silly”.

Similarly with Krav Maga I have returned to a world that is going to be 12 more days of intense activity and even pain. However, pass or fail I now have the desire to shut the cat in the box only long enough to see whether it is alive or dead by the end of the experiment. If I pass I will feel like a king. If I fail I will be dissapointed but I will know that I flew back 10,500+ miles to do this and can retest at any time in the future.

It was only when I actually saw my checked baggage fuck off on the conveyor belt at Heathrow terminal 4 that I finally realised I was definitely going back for GIC 2. 7 hours to Adu Dhabi. 2 hour stopover. 12 hours to Melbourne.

When I got to Southern Cross station at 5.30am and it was 2 degrees centigrade I was laughing my head off. Amazed at my own audacity to treat a journey around the world like a trip to visit friends in the next town. I’d finally stopped being Schrodinger’s pussy.

The fears we don’t face become our limits.

Nuff said.


** It was.
*** Actually 25 minutues.