I think I’m starting to reach the end of my break from the SCA. Several things recently happened that made me feel like I was at the end of it. For several weeks now, I have contemplated attending a fight practice. It never ended up happening, but the fact that I even felt the desire to go on a regular basis was a big step for me.
I was approached by someone from my local Canton and asked to marshal the heavy fighting activities for Barleycorn again. I am still technically the Knight Marshal of the Canton of Northpass, though I was at the point where I would happily pass it along to someone else if they were so inclined. We lost the location for fight practices and they weren’t really well-attended anyway, so it’s not like I really had much to do anyway. I have lately been thinking about trying to reclaim the location (it was a Catholic school and they got a new priest and there was a merger, so there were several factors that occurred). Maybe I could even hold unofficial practices in my backyard now that it’s staying lighter later.
I also have left House Serpentius and severed my squire relationship with Duke Darius. It was done amicably and I still think of several of them as family, even though I’m not in the household anymore. I do not intend to discuss my reasons, either here or in person. I just felt like I should mention it because it’s easier to announce it here rather than to have to tell people over and over again. Plus, I will be writing about the changes, how it affects me, and how it affects my fighting.
Now that I’m on my own again, I have been doing a lot of thinking about fighting. Once upon a time, I had a lot more fighting self-esteem. I’m not sure where it came from because I was probably the worst fighter at my starting shire of Northern Outpost, and all of the other shires I lived in as well. Maybe it was because, as time went on, I usually stayed the worst fighter in every practice I attended. For a time, there would be a new fighter, but within less than a year, they always overtook me in skill level. I need to get that sense of bad-assery back, but I’m not sure how to do it.
Now that I’m no longer affiliated with any household, it’s partly freeing and partly scary. I do not doubt that what Darius was trying to teach me was what he thought was best for me, on the track to a possible knighthood. However, I have since realized that knighthood was never really what I was interested in. What I really wanted to do was become a good fighter and get taken seriously. The problem was that I wasn’t becoming good. I put too much pressure on myself that I alternated between over-emotional fight practices and taking extended breaks due to burnout. Worst of all, I didn’t take myself seriously. I wasn’t having fun. I wasn’t getting better. I was in physical pain that was associated with more than bruised flesh. That’s why I decided to take my break.
Now that I’m somewhat back, I have the freedom to choose my own adventure fighting-wise. At first, I debated whether or not I wanted to fight righty or lefty. My right shoulder is still not great. It’s likely that it’ll never be in pristine condition again. However, having fought for so much longer as a righty, I am better as a righty. Then I thought about it. I don’t have to even fight sword and shield if I don’t want to. I always enjoyed fighting pole arm. And not long before my break, I discovered an odd propensity for two-sword.
However, it’s still going to be an uphill battle. I’m not the spry 21-year-old I was when I first found this game. I’m now 36 years old. I’ve had back surgery. While that was years ago, it’s looking like I will always have sporadic pain there. I am over 60lbs heavier. While there are plenty of excellent fighters on the heavier side, being heavier seems to be really problematic for me. The extra weight isn’t good for my back and it causes knee problems when I run or attempt any kind of cardio heavier than walking. I am not in good shape anymore. I also have hypothyroidism which means it’s extremely difficult to lose weight. I used to (naively) think that anyone could lose weight if they really put their mind to it. I was wrong. It doesn’t help that whenever I start a new eating plan, my hunger hormones go into overdrive. Plus whenever my thyroid hormones fluctuate, I often face brain fog and fatigue that is sometimes so bad it’s all I can do to take care of myself and my cat and show up to work on time. It seems like there are so many things stacked against me right now.
I want to go out there and fight again and I want to succeed, but I guess I’m afraid to fail. As it is, my first practices will probably last less than the time it will take me to drive there because of my current fitness level. I will have to deal with that and likely a number of other things as well. But this break has taught me a few things:
- The biggest and first improvement I need to make is in my attitude. I’m not sure how, so I’m willing to accept suggestions.
- I need to figure out how to lose the weight. I don’t want to wreck my knees or back any more than I already have and the less weight that is on each joint is a help.
- I need to figure out how to get into better shape. I am in very poor condition and find myself having to take a full day to recover after a day where I just take a hike for a few hours.
- I need to figure out how to overcome my list of medical weaknesses, in general.
- Most of all, I realized that, for whatever reason, I really missed fighting. I really want it to be a part of my life.
It will still probably be a few weeks before I even make it to a fight practice. I am nearing the performance date of my musical production at work, though I would love to have the opportunity to hit someone with sticks to help relieve the stress! It just means a lot of extra work, late nights, and stress until it’s over. Plus it’ll give me more time to work on #1, my attitude! As always, if anyone out there has any advice, I’ll be happy to hear it!