Tuesday, October 15

Worth it?

When I started doing aikido the plan was to get a black belt and teach. Isn't that what you do with your knowledge? Pass it on. I learned skills from the martial art like patience, self control and calmness that I never learned in school. Being able to literally and figuratively see around the corner alone has saved my ass so many times.

I got the rank and the first reward was a trip to Japan- a life long dream- to train with the big kids. After that things pretty much went nowhere. I felt I had been left by the roadside while everyone got to go to the prom. That's OK I'm used to being left behind. But it wasn't. Such abandonment was half my inability to join in and the other half was not fitting in. I didn't know why.

The cause of a life on the sidelines was revealed one day by the dry, clinical bible of mental affairs, The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Psychological Professional. Otherwise known and despised -or revered as the DSM. If this weighty tome says you are mental, you are. I tripped over the entry about Asperger's Syndrome and like a pilgrim finding wisdom in a parable, I had the answer.

While I had been imagining the instructor's were plotting behind my back to block my attempts at teaching or further advancement- the word sensei was hardly ever uttered in my direction- the truth was simpler. I guess I just wasn't cut out to be an instructor as I barely knew how to interact with people. If that is true, then the years of agonizing struggle to learn this craft was for all the wrong reasons.Like reading subtle social cues, whatever they are, I have no idea what the real reasons are. Where I was expecting great insight maybe even enlightenment, the real benefit was entirely personal and amounted to a gushy example of overcoming great obstacles, whatever.  

I'm ready to give up as I am now convinced those stories of epiphany and metaphorically reaching the top of the mountain are highly exaggerated. For me the reaction wasn't  "Oh my God!" but rather "This is it?"

Somewhere in all this disappointment there is an intersection where these two discoveries give me pause. Perhaps as I floated along the river of discovery, I was progressing but didn't realize it as the current was too subtle to notice and I don't get subtly very well. I my case a blunt instrument would work better.

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