Underneath my yellow skin

Adjusting to change

childish stamping of my feet.
Wah wah wah!

I hate change. I’ll out-and-out say it. I’m highly resistant to it, even when I know it’s good for me. No matter what I can tell myself about it, I still hate it. I’m slowly getting better at it, but it’s still something that can put me off-kilter for the rest of the day, even if it’s a small thing such as a change of an appointment. I bring this up because my sleep has been fucked up ever since I was sick. My normal sleep pattern is roughly go to bed at three/four in the morning and get up at nine or ten. It used to be go to bed at six or seven in the morning and get up in the early afternoon. In general, I slept through the morning because it’s my least favorite time of the day, and late night is my favorite. Since I’ve been sick, however, all bets are off. I’ll go to bed at any time, which means getting up at any time. I also sleep more when I’m sick–sometimes up to a whole eight hours! It’s one way I gauge whether I’m getting better or not–when I start sleeping less, I know I’m getting better.

This time, I’ve noticed that after twelve-fourteen hours of being awake, I’m exhausted. I’m mostly better (think 90%), but the exhaustion is the same. This has resulted in me going to bed between eight-thirty and nine-thirty at night, then getting up at four-thirty in the morning. I’m currently writing this at four-forty-five in the morning because I write my posts when I first get up, and it’s really strange. This is normally the time I go to bed, not the time I get up. Waking up to dark is messing with me more than it really should. I’m groggy, only half-awake, and grumpy. I have my thermos of ginger lemon honey tea at hand as well as my Diet Coke, and I’m still barely awake.

I think I’d rather get less sleep and feel more awake than get eight hours and feel as if I could sleep endlessly. I think my extreme tiredness of the last few days might be because of my dental work as well as it’s still a bit achy five days later. I’m so tired, I feel as if I could sleep for the rest of my life. It’s so weird that I my usual habit of getting less sleep makes me feel more rested. I still feel like shite (watching too many Brits on the YouTube), but it’s marginally better than I do now. Another frustrating thing is that I can be dropping from exhaustion when I finally go to bed, and then I lie there, wide awake. It’s as if my brain takes it as a challenge. “Oh, you’re going to sleep? I think not.” Everything I’ve pushed to the back of mind during the day comes flooding back, and all I can think about is how much everything sucks. That’s always been the case, but it’s even more annoying when I’m so fucking tired.

Another area in which I’m struggling with change is taiji. I’ve mentioned that my teacher’s teacher is altering the Solo Form and has been for over a year. I was joking with my teacher yesterday that I’m the old person grumping about how when I was a kid, I walked to school uphill ten miles a day. We jokingly added about snow and no mittens and sub-zero temps, but it’s how I feel. She didn’t quite get it as she tried to explain why she trusted her teacher (and his teacher) about the changes. To me, it wasn’t about the validity of the changes, but more about my hatred of changes, regardless of the benefits of said changes. I can’t help but feel as if what I’ve learned up until this point has been a waste, even though I know intellectually that it’s not true. My teacher rightly pointed out that I was learning the alterations faster than newbies, even though they didn’t have to unlearn previous teachings the way I do. I know it’s true, but it doesn’t help with my feelings about the changes.

In this case, it’s also because how rapidly things are changing. At first, it was just the change to certain postures–the harder ones. There’s one in particular, the one I call¬†My Fair Ladies, that was particularly difficult and painful (mentally) to learn. There are four, and the first and third are the same except the first count, and the second and the fourth are the same as well. Each was six counts, which was the most of any posture. The feet and hands were elaborate, and there was just a lot to think about. Then, he simplified the hands, and it took some time to adjust to that.¬† Now, he’s adapting more of his teacher’s method, so he’s further simplified the posture. I will say it’s easier and makes more sense now. The changes are reasonable, and I like the posture much better now. There’s still a part of me that thinks, “But I learned it the hard way! I put myself through pain and angst to learn the difficult posture. Now, it’s a piss take.” Like I said, I watch too many British YouTubers.

It’s hard because I can acknowledge that it’s a better posture now and much easier all around. Rationally, I understand and agree with the change. Emotionally, I’m a five-year-old child pouting over having to do extra work. It’s hard not to feel as if I would have been better off starting two years ago rather than nine, even though I know intellectually that having the foundation from before is making it relatively easy for me to adapt to the changes now. And, the pettier side of me can’t help but whine, “It’s not faaaair!” Like I said, I know it’s petty, but I keep feeling it so it does no good to deny it’s there.

It was hard enough relearning certain postures (mentally, not intellectually. I’m very good at learning the actual postures), but now, some of the basics are being changed. Insider baseball–it used to be that for the traditional bow stances, weight should be 65% on one leg and 35% on the other. This was drummed into us, and I spent years getting that right. In a cat stance or a heel dig, there was to be NO weight in the barely touching foot. Now, in a forward bow stance, all the weight is on the front leg. I should be able to pick up my back foot with ease. In a cat stance/heel dig, there should be 30% weight in the front foot rather than none. In a backwards bow stance, the back toes should be facing outward at a ninety degree angle instead of forty-five, and the weight should be 60% back/40% front. And the front knee should be bent more than it normally would be.

In addition, there are a few postures in which in the past you moved your hands as you did the last foot movement, but now, we’re supposed to finish the feet first before moving the hands (with your waist). It seems like a little change, but it’s taken some time to get it settled in my brain. The 100% forward change makes me feel as if I’m going to topple over. Another thing is my teacher talks about how all these changes have made her legs feel better (same as her teacher) and stronger. She says it just feels right now and if she can hang out there for hours, but she also said that in the past about doing it the other way. I’m not discounting that this way is better, but as it’s never been my experience that the first way felt great (I do not like the Solo Form as I’ve mentioned time and time again), I’m skeptical that the new way will feel great, either.

I think that’s another problem for me. I don’t care about the Solo Form at all. I know it’s the basis for everything we do, but it just doesn’t capture my attention the way the weapons do, especially the Sword Form. We haven’t done the Sword Form in a long time, and I really miss it. I know we’ll get back to it sooner or later, but it’s really hard to adjust to these changes especially because I’m not fond of the Solo Form in the first place.

I wish I could be better at rolling with the punches, but I’m not. It’s something I’ve dealt with my entire life, and I highly doubt it’s going to change any time soon.

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