I had a private lesson today. Bagua, not Taiji. There is so much I want to leran; it’s hard to focus on just one thing. There are All. The. Weapons. But, for now, I have been captivated by the Swimming Dragon Form (Bagua), and I have asked my teacher to teach me. Before we got to that, though, we talked about her teaching style. One thing I really appreciate about her is that she tailors the way she teaches to each student.
For instance, she knows that I am going to question everything she tells me and instinctively push back when she asks me to try something new. At least that’s the way it was in the first five years of my study. I had aa deep distrust of…well, everything. She slowly won me over by being frank and honest with me.
Here’s the thing. I can tell when people are lying to me–even the slightest. Or skirting around the truth. I have written about how it’s because my mother gaslit me my entire life. Not on purprose and not deliberately, but she did. And still does. I don’t trust her to tell me thet rtuth. I am the unofficial keeper of the family lore. My brother and my father are also unreliable to a certain extent. My fathre because he’s…just a whole nother issue altogether. My brother because he has a terrible memory and forgets what happened a week ago, let alone what happened in our childhood.
Because of this, I am persnickety about the truth. I am as precise as possible because my brain is not happy with untruths. It’s one reason I over-explain myself. I want to make sure that others know I’m being as truthful as possible. Unfortunately, I have a hard time explaining myself for several reasons. One, I am a freak. I was talking about this with my teacher because she grew up as a freak, too.
One positive thing about being a freak is that I can see things from many different angles. This is also the negative about being a freak, by the way. Some things don’t need to be seen from a different angle. In addition, I can get lost in the weeds sometimes. Seeing things that aren’t there or things that aren’t explicitly stated. Was I right? More often than not, yes. This is not a humblebrag or even a stairght-out brag.
This was how I survived. It was adaptive to my environment because my father was a true narcissist and it was up to my mother, my brother, and me to cater to him. This was never spoken, mind, but you better learn about it if you didn’t want to be cast aside. Or shouted at. Or iced out. And you have to learn to read every grimace of his in order to know what to say (or more to the point, not say) in order to get by.
I got especially adept at making myself invisible so as to not get flak. Did it always work? No .This was only when I was a kid, by the way. I was less and less able to do that because I realized that, to put it politely, my family was deeply fucked up.
And I got more confidence in myself. This was because of Taiji. So many good things in my life I attribute to Taiji. I was telling my teacher today that the two best things she did for me was to put the sword in my hand and giving me DeerHorn Knives. With the former, she insisted that I just hold it and when I did, I was hooked. I knew that I needed it in my life, and I wanted as much of it as possible.
Discovering my affinity for internal martial arts weapons changed my life. For the better, obviously. I cannot overstate how much confidence it has given me. And how much confidence it has given me.
I want to clarify something. Taiji in general has given me confidence and boosted, well, everything about me. I went from hating my body to being decidely neutral about it. To be honest, I still did not like my body, but I had basically made my peace with it. We were at a detente I still did not look into the mirror, but I wasn’t actively hating myself, either.
I have told my teacher that Taiji has improved my life in so many ways. It’s not something I talk about much because it just sounds so outlandish.
In additon, it’s hard to convince people that it’s worth the time sink. It’s not something that is going to make you a martial arts deity within a month–or even a year. In addition, the improvements aren’t instaneous or drastic. Before Taiji, I was a klutz who ran into things all the time and hint myself constantly. I didn’t feel as if I were in my body, and I never could estimate how far my body extended. I was covered with bruises, and iI took it as a matter of course that I would walk into things.
Several years after I started studying Taiji, there was a marked difference. I still walked into things and fell off ladders (twice. But we don’t talk about that), but the difference was that I did not hurt myself nearly as much or as awful as I had before. The two times I fell off the ladder, I only got a big bruise on my leg.
This culminated in the time that I got in a minor car accident. Ironically, I was on my way to Taiji class. I looked up and saw an SUV barrelling at me. It was a 30 MPH road, but she was going much faster than that. She was turning left which would put her cutting across the road where I was going straight. It was a local road and notoriausly for being hard to navigate in this exact manner. I looked at the SUV and automatcally thought, “I’m going to get hit.” I relaxed reflexively and she crunched into me. She hit the bumper on my side of the car, totally mangling it. Time truly slowed down as she came at me. I could see it happening, but there was not a damn thing I could do to avoid it. When she hit me, I felt myself lurch forward as the airbag deployed. I was eerily calm as I got out of the car and viewed the wreckage.
The other driver was a young woman who looked Indian (from India). She was wailing and freaking out, and I felt very protective of her. I was projecting, but I had a feeling that she was feraking out about how her parents were going to react. I was proven correct when she started crying about how her father needed the car to go to work and he was going to kill her.
I tried to comfort her because I hated seeing her in distress. I told her that her father could get a taxi or an Uber, and he was not going to kill her. In addition,there was a guy with her, and it was clear that he wasn’t supposed to be there.He came to make sure I was ok, and I assured him that I was fine. Five minutes later, a car came and collected the passenger. That’s why I knew that he was not supposed to be there. THis was supposition, obviously, but I surmised that she was not allowed to date him, so she had to hustle him away before her parents came.
The only damage I sustained from the car accident was the massive bruise across my stomach from the seat belt. Other than that, I was fine. My poor car wasn’t, though.