November 12, 2012 by cieramilo
There are a few irrational things that scare me: Horses, Heights, and Failure. I don’t know where the Horse thing comes from. It’s odd because I’m from Kansas – cowboy country – and I’ve been around horses in a number of different venues, but they still just make me nervous. I keep my distance. Heights I’m sure is a control issue. You know that dream you have right before you fall asleep? The one where you’re falling and then your body jumps/spasms and wakes you up right before you hit the ground. Physically, that’s your muscles releasing tension as you enter rest and REM sleep (just so you know….); but mentally, it’s a release of control. My falling dreams vary from jumping out a plane to falling down a single step – it’s that bad. In reality, even tall people make me nervous. I picked up rock climbing in college to try to get over my fear of heights. Didn’t work. I would get to the middle of the wall, about 10-12′ off the ground, and just freeze. There are some funny stories about a few ventures into trespassing that required me to climb something, and I opted to “run from” the cops as opposed to going vertical.
This kind of gets me to Failure. Failure is ultimately a loss of control (so I guess I’m a control-freak, surprise surprise). When you win, you have gained control of the outcome of whatever endeavor you took on. And when you lose you have relinquished the power to control outcome. That’s a smart way of saying winning = strength and losing = weakness. I have always been really competitive. It’s actually why I DIDN’T play sports. I would take them too seriously, get frustrated, and quit. (Quitting is still a way of controlling an outcome, even though it’s the coward way out and I know it.)
Now, as I’m training for this fight in January, this winning versus losing thing is on my mind. Obsessively. My dad always taught me that there is always going to be someone better than you, so you have to work hard to be better all the time, not matter how many times you’ve won. It’s kept me confident and humble; I try to be unassuming. I know not to underestimate my opponent (Hey Dena…), because I’m sure she’s working hard. But I also know that I will be working harder and longer than her, that I will be faster and stronger then her, and I will fight smarter than her. Because Failure is not an option.
You’ve heard the adage “A man with nothing to lose is capable of anything.” Well that may be true, but a woman with everything to lose is to be most feared. There is a lot riding on this fight for me. My pride. My ambition. My work ethic. My right to stand in a gym full of men and hold my own. This was never just a hobby…it’s my obsession.
Now, instead of falling, I punch in my sleep.