Thursday, March 11, 2010

Pushing Forward

Ok, so last week I had a bit of a meltdown.  The normal teacher wasn't there when I walked in the dojo, it was the guy that spoke a little English, well, enough English, he's not bad at all.  I like the normal teacher, Yi Jae Il, better because we get along pretty well, but this week he's preparing for some big tournament.  The guy that speaks English is okay, but he is of the mindset that I suck and am no match against the yongusaengs (the kids studying to be pro).  I lost pretty much every game last Saturday because the kids were having none of me.

They were bound and determined not to lose against me, no matter what they had to play, no matter what they had to do.  One boy just stared me straight in the eye while he was playing, slammed his stones down as hard as he could, and didn't stop until he killed me.  The only game I won was against the new girl, and I don't like playing women really.  The little girls are okay because they are strong and you MUST fight them, there is no other option.  But this girl is like a teenager I think, she's really well dressed and like a lot of Korean women I've seen, she's a little passive and quiet.  The reason I don't like playing women is, well, I don't wanna go all out and fight them.  When she made weak groups I felt bad attacking them and then when I won I didn't like a victory.  The last game was against the kid who is my strength, and I let a group that should've died go.  The kid said he was happy for my mistake, and when the teacher translated for me he and the kid laughed, and then they looked at me a little funny when I didn't join in.  I went home feeling like garbage.

It came time to fight.  The kids were tired of me winning.  After all, I'm a foreigner and I'm automatically assumed to be worse than an Asian player.  Yeah, it's annoying, but most people I've met so far think that.  The old man who joined the class didn't even acknowledge my existence really until I beat him.  There are 3 adults in the class, myself, Im Byong O, and the old dude.  I play Im evenly a lot and we're like 5-2 so far.  Im has a hard time against me because the fighting doesn't go his way oftentimes.  After we played and he lost, the old man found out he had lost and said "wasn't it easy?"  That pissed me off, and the next time I had a match against the elderly gentleman I was determined to squash him no matter what he did, which I did.  Anyway, the kids don't like when I beat them because I'm supposed to be really bad.  One girl even cried after I won which was really awkward.  It seems they are going to start their counter attack and I have to be prepared.

Yes, I know, I had made the resolution to be more positive, and I was trying desperately to do it.  It worked to a point but it still hurt.  Competition is just that way though, you win some you lose some.  You're ahead of your opponent one week but if they work harder then you in the interim then they get further than you.  I understand it's a race, but for some reason I just couldn't let go of the expectations I was laying on myself.  So, my friend gave me some advice.  Work through the bad patch.  Play right on through it, like a steam roller.  Most people say when you get a losing streak it means you're about to make a big leap.  Maybe that's true, but instead of sulking like I normally would do I instead sat down in front of Tygem and played game after game until I got back on tilt.  I was determined not to break down, but push forward.

Well the next day I didn't go to the Go Dojo, something inside told me not to.  Even though I kept pushing, my insides still felt like a blender, so I stayed home and didn't do anything Go related.  Instead, that same little voice gave me simple instructions: Buy a notebook and a pencil, go home, and write every accomplishment I had ever done in my life.  ALL of them.  Of course I didn't write stuff like learning how to tie my shoe, but rather, things I did that were difficult and where other people have failed.  I did just that and I've never felt better.  Nothing gets you going like reminding oneself all of what one is capable of doing.  No embellishment, no relying on other people to give compliments, but rather, I just stated everything I had ever done and reminded myself that everything I have right now I earned.  So what if I had a bad day, I'm not perfect and I just have to work harder.  If I'm capable of the accomplishments I listed then I am capable of similar accomplishments in the future, even greater ones now that I have less of a handicap.

Now I think I understand why life is full of obstacles.  They're not meant as fate's way of laughing at us.  We're not rodents in a maze chasing after a piece of cheese that doesn't actually exist.  They're meant to keep one from stagnating, to make sure that we stay constantly moving forward.  You clear a hurdle so that you know when the next one comes you are capable.  The only reason you can't is because you tell yourself you can't.

Already, I feel this trip is worth it, and we're not even half way through. comments