Thursday, January 22, 2015

On Losing My Black Belt

I'm depressed.

In fact, I haven't been this depressed in quite a long time. I got up this morning, staggered around the house aimlessly sipping my morning coffee, and then crawled back in bed. After a good cry, and a good half hour of staring at the ceiling, I got up and checked my email, and then tore the house apart... again.

I could blame my mood on the overly-gloomy weather, or the fact that Mercury is currently in retrograde, or that it's January and the lack of sunshine is stirring up my SAD. I could blame it on any of those things, but I'd be lying.

My black belt is missing.

It's not where it should be. In fact, it's not any of the thousands of places it shouldn't be, either. I know because several people have checked all of those places, too... repeatedly.

This isn't a matter of me being careless. Seriously, I'm more careful with my black belt than I usually am with my own kids. Which might explain how I left my youngest at the gym that one time... and how I left the third at the dojo one night... and maybe even that time I almost drove off and left one of them at Stone Mountain, Georgia (although that wasn't entirely my fault. Not one of the other kids thought to say, "Hey, mom. Our brother isn't in the van." I think they were all secretly plotting to get rid of him so they could eat his share of the snack foods.) But hey, there are four of those boogers to keep up with, and they are always milling around and running in opposite directions. Don't judge me!

Obi, if you're wandering around out there somewhere,
please know that I love you and want you to come home.
I always fold my obi carefully and deliberately each time I wear it and place it in my bag under my gi. That's where it stays until I wear it again.  It's always with my gi, either in my bag or around my waist. Only last night it wasn't. It isn't anywhere.

I'm sure it seems silly to the uninitiated for me to be so morose over the loss of a length of black fabric, but I couldn't be more devastated if I'd lost my wedding ring or a priceless family heirloom or a thousand dollars.

That length of black fabric was more than four years and a torn meniscus in the earning. It represented sweat and tears and bruises and even a little blood. It represented failures and successes. It represented dedication and respect and hard work. I paid for that belt with hours and hours of training and the stretching of myself beyond what I thought I could stretch. It represented a goal reached, a goal that was fought for tooth and nail.

I slept with it the first night. Or rather I sat perched on the couch with it draped over my neck, watching late night reruns of Gilligan's Island, icing the knee and wondering  who I could call at 3:23 AM to please, for the love of god, bring me some hard core pain medication.

That poor little obi was only 19 months old, just barely losing it's stiff newness... and it's lost out there in the world all alone without me.

Have you seen this black belt?
Reward offered for it's safe return.
Sure, I could buy another one... but it wouldn't be MY black belt. It wouldn't be the one that was tied around my waist after being carried back out on the mat by my husband and my Sensei, the one that I smiled over receiving even though my face was tear-stained and my knee was swelling.

So it sucks.

And I'm depressed.

I usually like to end a blog entry with some sort of lesson or wisdom for the reader to take away. Well, too bad. I don't have one.

Except for maybe this...

Don't tell me that it will probably show up. Just don't. It's like implying that I carelessly tossed it somewhere and have just forgotten about it, that it will soon be seen peeking out from under the bed or from between the couch cushions and I'll just be like, "Oh, that's right. How could I forget that I left it there?" That's not happening 1) because seriously, I treat that thing like it's gold, and 2) I've already looked all of those places at least a dozen times even though I know it couldn't possibly be there. I know you are just trying to make me feel better, but you aren't.

So stop.

Maybe the proper sentiment would be to say, "I'm sorry for your loss."

Just acknowledge my grieving.

Being carried off the mat during testing.
UPDATE: The missing obi has been found! After overt displays of affection and a stern talking to ("Don't you EVER do that to me again!"), it is now in it's proper place in my bag under my gi... and I've only checked three times in the last few minutes to make sure it's still there.

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