Hi, it’s nice to check in with you all once again, and thanks for the visits to my blog despite there being a fairly lengthy radio silence. I’ll do my best to write more frequently from here on in. After all, it’s good for the soul. I want to take the opportunity to focus on the subject of anger, next week I’ll aim to follow up with a piece on balance and presence.

Anger is a very powerful emotion that I’ve run into a lot of late due to moving through cycles of grief. When it arrives it manifests itself in different ways but one of the most common times is when I’ve been drinking and of course, when it happens my anger is righteous. Just recently I can see it even if I’m out on the town and I shut it down quickly.

Grief and alcohol seem to shake hands disturbingly well, and my anger is indiscriminate. Whoever has seemingly wronged me gets told very loudly how wrong they are because some days everything is wrong but it’s really no one’s fault. There’s a young man I’m currently in the process of reconnecting with via the help of my lovely friend I see every couple of weeks. Like me, she’s been through a lot and is an outstanding therapist. She can see me as they say. Not everyone can.

Over the past month or so despite training a reasonable amount every week and actually getting better for it (I forgot that you learn stuff doing this martial arts thing so I’ve been pleasantly surprised to see improvements I probably hadn’t noticed were happening. ) I’ve been having fun and partying. I have a very busy life and need to unwind from time to time so other than Muay Thai a good dance is also always welcome.

Of course, with that comes hangovers and of late wondering if I’ve upset anyone. There’s nothing worse than wondering if you’ve upset anyone. I think it was this realization that has made me decide to have a booze break for a little while from next week onwards. I can still go out and do whatever I want but alcohol isn’t the be-all and end-all of a good night out. In fact, I rolled in at around 6.45am this morning and still had a decent training session this afternoon.

I’m pleased to say the traumatized young man who misses his daddy immensely, who used to get stopped and searched for riding on the pavement, and who sometimes dwells on women who have hurt him but also needs to have women in his life, the kid who got bullied didn’t make an appearance. Well, he tried to but I could see him so asked what was wrong and promised we could talk about it later. He needs a voice because I’ve always just bottled it up.

You see, I created barriers to protect me that I’ve learned to take down and that I’m still learning that it’s ok to keep down. I may seem stoic but maybe sometimes I’m just a little bit shy. I know my younger John was. Being reflective it’s been a very intense, emotional, and interesting discovery and journey over the past few months, I realized today how young I look. I think I have Muay Thai to thank for that, but hey I am young still. I’m not middle-aged till I’m 45. You can Google that one.

Training has helped me navigate a lot of what at points has felt like being trapped in a glass case of emotion and being completely honest here, August was possibly the lowest I have ever been in my life, but I still just kept pressing forward. Carry on as normal, ok today I can’t do anything. Today I don’t want to get out of bed. I miss my dad I miss my friend Ahmed. My mum went through the same. Grief comes in waves, but training gives me my focus and helps me go back to my centre.

I’m a naturally strong person just like my dad. He fought back against white supremacy, racist cops and you know what? he won and built an amazing life here with mum. He will always be my hero, on my best day I wish I could be more like him, in fact, it’s his strong voice I remember “keep your cool” which is what he would say to me about anger especially when I went through a cycle and effectively hit the self destruct button. And you know what dad? These days I do. And these days I remember how tall I walk. I see it and detach from it. Respond never react. That’s something fighting teaches you too, and it can serve you well outside of the ring.

I’m pleased I have a good circle of friends in Bristol and some of my closest friends although we live in different places in the country these days are always there for me like I am for them. Connecting with myself and taking every day as it comes can be overwhelming at points but I’m getting stronger and stronger. There are days when I don’t want to do anything at all and on those days I listen to my heart. Community work and volunteering give me a lot of focus but I’m pushing that more into my working life too. I’m in the driving seat again and it’s good to be back. It feels like it’s been a long time since we spoke. I shouldn’t have left you. Have a good week and train hard, and just like the last time.. I’ll see you on that road.


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