Some people are born to perform and some people are just born. When I was 13 I entered the local eisteddfod, the annual music, dance and drama contest thingo. I was to play a song on the organ. I sat beside the Mothership, trying not to spew as I watched the adoring parents watching their virtuoso little shits.
Finally it was my turn. I walked out onto the stage, squinted in the spotlights, curtsied to the adjudicator, sat down at the keyboard, propped up my sheet music, splayed my fingers over the keys, then froze.
I don’t know how long I sat there baking under the spotlights; I can’t remember if I played a note. I just remember thinking, Nope. I stood up, scooped up the music and fled into the curtains.
I have a rich history of choking under pressure – public speaking, swimming races, own-goals and that time once again at the Eisteddfod where I had to recite a poem called Bullocky by Judith Wright and I strolled onto stage and said, "Bullocky… by Judith Wright " Then I froze and could not remember what came next. Bloody stinking Bullocky by Judith Wright. I still can’t remember what comes next.
But the kickboxing grading tomorrow is going to be a different story! I have been telling myself this all week. The mind is so good at only recalling the SHIT TIMES but I know I have successfully done stuff in the past – recited poems beyond their title, collected shiny ribbons, savoured the smugness of victory.
We had our last practice at Wednesday night’s class and I completely froze up during the sparring and almost burst into tears – but let’s be positive! Let’s say I was just getting all the crapness out of my system in advance, so I’ll be entirely competent tomorrow.
Thanks to all you lovely martial artistes who wrote this week. You’re so right in that this is a mental challenge more than anything. I’m going to try to block out everything else in the room, concentrate like mad, listen properly to the instructions instead of my churning guts.
This time tomorrow night I’ll be on the couch watching the Indianapolis MotoGP and eating bacon and pass or fail, it will be DONE. Cannae wait.