What would you say: is ultimately the hardest fucking thing to do?
Is it benching you own body weight?
Is it getting a beautiful woman to fuck you like she means it…?
Is it making a million dollars?
Personally I think it’s something much simpler and it lies in the hearts of all of us.
The hardest thing about your first day of jiujitsu, isn’t the smashing of your jaw, your neck, your stomach crushed, your ribs bruised.
When someone tells you what they think you should do with yourself, most people’s immediate instinct is “FUCK YOU” and then our ego and superego decide whether we should comply with the authority of the messenger, or indeed SHOOT said messenger.
I see little kids in my classes argue tooth and nail about something that neither of us give a SHIT about but even at that age, they don’t want to be perceived as weak, they don’t want to be wrong.
It might be the innate fear of losing face, losing status: as a decrease to our potential survival and replication value.
When a guy wants to fight you it’s the hardest thing in the world to not take offence and to want to show him that he’s making a fucking mistake.
You picked the wrong dude. You can’t get that power-moment, from me.
I’ll show you.
But if we can take a step back from the situation, the guy’s been triggered. His amygdala is firing and he is now incapable of taking on any new, rational information about why he is making a scene. Or that his feelings are unwarranted.
He’s felt threatened by you, wants to resolve that feeling and in a moment of weakness, feels he needs to display strength to hide that weakness, that fear.
It’s kind of ridiculous really.
But it triggers the same thing in you, as most often with emotion: Perception is projection. We remind each other, with subtle cues and body language, we remind each other of what it is to be human.
My mate and I got into a heavy brawl one night, we got these guys to play basketball against us, for $10 a piece. We weren’t half as drunk as they were and we smashed them. It was awesome.
They handed over the money and we were all fucking around for a bit and this one guy’s on his phone and he looks at my mate and goes “What’s your name?”
And then he starts swingin’ on him. My mate ducks, looking up as this dude who’s throwing hooks with his fucking eyes closed.
I stood there with my mouth open for a moment as my boy looked up in amazement and I realised it’d only take a second for him to open his eyes and see my mate doing the crouching tiger and aim his punches downward…
Now at that age I didn’t know my wrestling as well as I do now but I just kinda dove at the guy like a Goldberg style spear and ran him into the cyclone fence where I was swiftly grabbed by all of his mates and rough housed, screamed at, pulled in all directions while one of the other guys punched my boy in the mouth and they all threw him around for a bit.
This carried on for ages, all of us yelling at each other, trying to resolve the conflict, apparently my guy had fucked his ex, and yeah, fine, he was upset.
My guy apologised in the end and said, “Look I don’t even know you homie, but I get it,” and that kinda chilled things out, validation relieving the tension.
And as we slunk off into the night to go back to his place where we lay wide-eyed staring at the roof listening to the haunting soundtrack of “The Piano” the movie, several things went through my mind.
Why didn’t we just leave at the first sign of danger why were we negotiating with the guys for 15 mins in a sea of hostility?
Why didn’t I pull my knife. It was right there. We could’ve gotten out of there a lot sooner?
Should we have gone down swinging? I didn’t feel particularly good that he got hurt and that I didn’t. Yeah I stopped him from getting smashed the first time but I didn’t even see when the other dude hit him because I was trying to talk sense into a bunch of drunk, aggressive idiots.
It’s hard to just admit that you’re fucked. And leave. To tap out.
It’s hard to back down from 10 guys and leave with your tail between your legs.
It’s hard to look across at your partner and realise you have to break up with them. We’ll stay and argue and fight so much longer than we need to.
We don’t wanna be wrong.
We’d rather endure so much pain, than dive into the unknown realm of life without that person, our abuser, our captor, our bittersweet love.
It might be the hardest thing in the world, to show that vulnerability.
Not to them, but to yourself.
To risk admitting to yourself, that your invincibility is imaginary.
Or that the world doesn’t revolve around you.
Backing down, tapping out: It’s an art-form.
You have to know when your arm is gonna pop, you have to see it coming and admit it. You have to leave when it’s not safe.
Whether it’s a drunk fool who’s amygdala is on fire because you reminded him of his daddy issues. Or if it’s your boyfriend/girlfriend who doesn’t have the emotional intelligence to be what you need.
Sometimes you just have to swallow your pride. And leave.
And the hardest thing in the world to SEE is, it’s actually really fucking easy.