|There is no crying in baseball...or jiu jitsu|
For me, one of the more terrible and embarrassing aspects of being a female jiu jitsu player is my propensity for crying. Now, in the grand scheme of things, I am a pretty tough lady and don't cry all that often. In my 3+ years of training, I have cried maybe 6 times. This averages less than once every 6 months, which is really not all that frequently.
Crying shows weakness. I do not want to be seen as less tough or capable than the guys on the mats. This is one of the reasons why I hate to cry in public and will avoid it at all costs. If I find myself on the verge of tears, my mind tells me to flee flee flee. Find an excuse to get off the mats and into my own space as soon as possible. I don't like to cry in front of anyone, even those whom I am closest to. But there are certain times when I just can't help it. When this happens at jiu jitsu, I need to leave the area, ASAP.
Various things can turn on the water works - the sting of defeat, excitement over a major achievement, guilt over hurting someone, anger over getting needlessly smashed, or panic over a sudden lack of safety during a roll.
The last time I became truly upset on the mats was when the latter happened. I found myself in an unsafe spot and tapped to get out of it - but with the excitement of the game we were playing, combined with a language barrier, my tap went unacknowledged and there was no release of my joint. I then verbally tapped and then yelped, but there still was no release. This put me into panic mode. I screamed loudly until my partner was pulled off of me, but by that time I had mentally lost it.
I walked away unhurt and uninjured but totally freaked out. One of the many reasons that I love jiu jitsu is that everything, in theory, is within my control. If a roll goes badly, all I have to do is tap and the pain/discomfort/danger stops. This incident violated this paradigm, making me panic to the point of uncontrolled sobbing.
All I wanted was to sink through the matted floor. I realized that I react differently to negative experiences on the mats than most of my male training partners do. When I get upset, I feel vulnerable and want to withdraw within myself. Many guys that I train with react in a way that is more socially accepted on the mats - ready to beat someone's ass. In this respect, I found myself wishing I could be more like them.
Until I actually did. Recently, in a split second burst of anger and lack of impulse control, I responded to poor mat behavior in a violent way. Instead of crying, instinct kicked in to kick the offending party's ass. Finally, I acted like one of the guys would. Only instead of feeling better about myself, I felt ashamed.
I don't think I will ever feel comfortable crying at jiu jitsu, but it seems I am not comfortable with the alternative either.
|Crying is not exclusively for ladies|