Some memories are ones I wish I could forget.
I remember three years ago sitting in my living room, gleefully googling my name. A Quora answer of mine had gone viral and I was being reposted all over the web.
Then I found the Reddit thread about that article. After the first comment calling me a ****ing Jewess, I should have stopped reading, but I was frozen in shock. I tearfully read comment after comment that talked graphically about how they wanted to gang rape and kill me, as well as murder my family.
People I never met were laughing about how they hoped I’d choke on Zyklon B and how Hitler should have finished the job. I had gotten bullied before but this felt like a mob of hate.
I closed my computer and curled up sobbing under my bed for days, enduring panic attacks every time I had to leave my home. It took me two weeks to finally feel comfortable being outside.
I was terrified. I knew that they were in Poland and Russia, but it still felt like I was no longer safe. I put on a brave face for others and hid my physical stress symptoms and uncontrolled anxiety.
I thought of how I am now, three years later.
Today’s Krav class was memorable for taking place during a rain storm but also because it reminded me that despite how frustrating it can be, I really am so fortunate that I found this tribe of mine.
Yes, there are moments where I really feel emotionally destroyed.
I talked a lot about how much I struggle with training lately. Today, I couldn’t do the second sprint and I struggled with so much of class. Every time I fell or my brain started seizing, I felt like a failure.
It doesn’t help that I compare myself to the other women in class. Every time I make a mistake or don’t measure up, I feel as ugly and weird and unworthy as a cactus among tulips.
Being social is exhausting for me and it drains me. Connecting to others requires a lot of mental space and vulnerability, and humans are unpredictable and confusing.
Still, even at my worst moment, there is nowhere else I want to be. Okay, no place other than a book store or library.
Despite every struggle on this Krav journey, I know I’m not alone. I have so many friends here in New York who care about me. They love and support me, they make me laugh, they inspire me. They challenge me. They invite me to share in their lives. When I suffer, I don’t suffer alone.
Yesterday, I got some support from a dear friend about some online bullying, (the price of loving Israel) and I left feeling on top of the world.
I only wish I had that pep talk three years ago. I don’t care about what the online world think, I care that I can be a good friend to the wonderful tribe I love.
I don’t think three years ago, I could have ever imagined I would have any understanding of Krav Maga, let alone be able to do a spinning side kick for the Air Element Sequence. I definitely couldn’t imagine what great friends I would have.
More importantly, I know I can defend myself if I have to. I’m not helpless and I’m not a victim. I hope I never have to use it, but I’m prepared for some nasty circumstances.
I may not be the best in class, but I am prepared for a lot.
I also know I will never going to allow anyone to mentally hurt me enough to spend days under my bed. Even during my relapse into full depression, I healed after ten days. I’m pretty sure my last depressive period was seven months. I hope to work on making sure to minimize relapses entirely.
And if I do relapse, I know my tribe will drag me out from under my bed, love me and will help me punch my way back to healing.
To the people who wanted me dead three years ago, here’s the update.
Yes, I still have major issues. I’m also happier, healthier, more successful,and more loved now than ever before. I have trained over a thousand classes and faced my fears and disability and weakness head on.
You don’t scare me anymore. Now, I’m scared of running sprints and that is so much better.