By Jaime Lintott
The problem is, I have Social Anxiety Disorder and as I get older, it gets worse, I get worse.
Prior to me joining Taekwondo, my life consisted Gilmore Girls reruns and a bag of Smartfood. The older I get the harder it’s become to get away with hiding in my room. I’m going to be 30 soon. I know this isn’t old but I also know that it’s old enough to have collected some pretty bad habits and really bad coping mechanisms, which, for me, mostly consisted of hiding or running scared.
Then, this past December, I watched Taekwondo at my local YMCA and fell in love.
I wanted to take control and commit to something without bolting. So I signed up. I’ve signed up for things hundreds of times only to later flee from the sheer exhaustion of performing the part of a normal, sociable woman. But then, after a class that was both emotionally and physically grueling, I knew that Taekwondo would be harder to shake. It felt amazing to use my body and to own and command my space; something I had never seemed capable of doing.
Every day is still scary because with each class my commitment is further cemented. Martial arts force you to examine many facets of your being, including emotional, mental and physical limitations. This simple commitment is proving to be my tool for self-discovery. I still go through crippling anxiety and emotional turmoil that makes me want to run out the of doors screaming. But the problem is, now I’m hooked. I tested for the first time and received my first belt! Although this belt (senior white) may seem insignificant to many, it has become a symbol for something much bigger in my life. Every day is still a challenge but for the first time in my life, I don’t feel completely powerless.
Jaime is a film buff and behind-the-scenes feminist activist who lives and works in Toronto, Ontario.