Years ago, I loved training with Neil in Aikido. Back then, I was Sandan (3rd-degree black belt), and Neil was Nidan (2nd-degree black belt). Neil stood 6’ 2” and a solid 215 pounds. He was incredibly, naturally strong. I was 5’ 3” and a solid 145 pounds. Well, mostly solid. Just saying.
The late Mizukami Sensei had us train together so that Neil could throw at full-strength practicing iriminage (clothesline technique to the head). I knew that because Sensei told me so.
In practice, as I punched, Neil waited it out. Just before making contact, he entered the attack, matched up with my attack, and threw me in iriminage. He threw me so hard that I literally bounced off the Dojo mat. Sometimes, Neil threw so hard that my head bounced off the mat, too. Still, I got up and came to punch again. We practiced iriminage over, and over, and over again. That was a lot of fun. Really. We made each other better.
When it was my turn, I waited out Neil’s punch. I entered his attack. I matched his attack with mine. Sometimes, I took a glancing blow, which smarted, because Neil was so fucking strong. I threw Neil hard to the mat in iriminage. He threw hard. I threw hard. Very old school. That’s Budo, martial arts training. I’ve since seen the light about training and corrected the error of my ways. Nowadays, everything is quiet. Don’t aggress against aggression. Don’t oppose.
Neil said that I threw him the hardest of all the black belts. He gave me flowers. I said he threw me the hardest of all the black belts in the Dojo, too. I gave him flowers, too. Nothing, but mad love and respect for Neil.
When Neil threw me in iriminage, there was nothing I could do to resist or hold back. I wasn’t strong enough. I wasn’t good enough. I survived the throw, because of my training. I threw Neil, because of my training, too. Otherwise, Neil was just too strong. I was good with I’m not good enough.
I practice grace. I give up being right that I’m not good enough and don’t make others wrong, including me. What happens when I’m really not good enough, and someone else is clearly better than I am? I accept that I’m not good enough and don’t make myself wrong, either. There will always be someone stronger than me, smarter than me, better looking than me. There will always be someone better than me. That’s just life.
On my Match dot com date with Jacqui, I got that I was too short for her by the look on her face. I posted on my Match profile that I’m 5′ 3″. No, I wasn’t good enough. Still, Jacqui was kind and polite in continuing our date. We had fun together. I didn’t see Jacqui again after that. I wasn’t what she was looking for. I wasn’t good enough for her.
I’m 5′ 3″. I’m not handsome. Often, I’m not good enough for a woman I like. I do the math. I get it. I’m not growing taller. I need an Act of God to be handsome, to look like Keanu Reeves. I love myself for who I am and forgive myself for who I’m not. Still, I’m not good enough. Someone else is profoundly better than me. That’s life. I’m good with that.
In my Favorite of All-Time (FOAT) movie Meet Joe Black, Anthony Hopkins played CEO Bill Parish, who tells his daughter Susan, played by Claire Forlani, “The truth is honey, there’s no sense in living without this. To make the journey and not fall deeply in love. Well, you haven’t lived a life at all. But you have to try. Because If you haven’t tried, you haven’t lived.” Bill says, “Stay open. Who knows? Lightening could strike.”
I’m not what women want. Ishibashi Sensei pointing to his heart, reminds me that “It’s what’s here.” I have what I need inside. I work on myself, not on others. I invent the greater-than version of me. I open up. I keep my heart open. I’m good with I’m not good enough. That’s good enough. Just saying.
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