I am tired. My body is sore, and I’m having to be careful about working out too hard. Even though I do not espouse the ideal of giving 110%, I can become consumed by a pasison. And, I do get obsessive from time to time. That’s how I was pulled into anorexia (which included exercising seven hours a day the first time I had anorexia), and it’s why I stay with a partner past the point of when I should have left.
It’s partly an obsessive nature, and it’s partly because I was raised to always think of other people I was recently talking with a friend about being empathetic. I used to think it was something I was born with–which was true to a certain extent. But it was also because I was told over and over again that my worth was in my ability to be an emotional dumping ground for others. Specifically my mother and then later, my hypothetical husband.
Because of that, I can now read people very easily. I would say I can read people 95% of the time. The 5% of people who get past me, well, that usually turned out really badly for me.
I don’t do anything by halves. I either went all in or I didn’t do it at all. Things like the Taiji Solo Form are outside my norm. I am not passionate about it, but I have come to appreciate it. It’s the basis for everything else we do in Taiji. And, I hated it for so long. I could not stand it when I first started Taiji fourteen years ago. It was the first time I stuck to something I hated so much. Why? Because I knew there was something in it. I knew that if I could push through the disdain, there would be something else there.
What I did not know was how long it would take and how much I would rebel against it. I’ve told this story many times, but I added two other classes a week because I could not make myself to practice at home. I would tell myself sternly to do it, and my body would shut that shit down. I know it sounds like I’m making excuses. It’s my own body. How could it not do what I wanted it to do?
It would not do it, though. So I added another class a week. Then another. Then I forced myself to do five minutes of stretches a day. That’s right. It wasn’t even the Taiji, but the stretches we did in the first half hour of class. I don’t quite remember how I started practicing at home. Probably when my teacher pushed me to hold a sword, and I fell in love with it. In fact, I’m pretty sure it was pratciting the Sword Form at home that got me into a daily practice.
I still hated the Solo Long Form. I did not practice that at all. I only did the stretches and the Sword Form. I used to say to my teacher that I was really lucky she didn’t my shit personally. I was the most recalcitarnt, questioning student she’s ever had. But I stuck with it. And I slowly started expanding my daily practice routine.
Five minutes. That was how much I practiced a day for the first few years I was studying. And not even Taiji–but just stretches. Now, I’m up to an hour and fifteen minutes to an hour and a half a day. Half an hour of stretches/warm-ups. I do one section of the Taiji Solo Form a day. Then, the rest is weapons.