Adventures in Running with Maurine

Broken Dreams Hurt

4 Comments

I was cleaning out my cedar chest today (long ago gave up calling it a “Hope Chest”) and reliving memories as I emptied it to rearrange a room and fix the hinges.  When I got to the bottom, my heart gave a tug and memories flowed back in of one of my first broken dreams that has never quit hurting. 

When I was going to BYU for my first Bachelor’s degree, Chuck Norris (long before Walker, Texas Ranger) was just starting to become a film star.  We went to see Breaker, Breaker and Good Guys Wear Black several times and this started several years of my seeing every Chuck Norris movie, reading everything I could get my hands on regarding the martial arts, and dreaming of earning a black belt. 

The summer before my senior year, I took a martial arts class and was hooked.  This class was repeated until I graduated a year ago and I lived for the hours when I could go and workout.  I even practiced katas in my tiny apartment. 

Once I graduated and moved home to Illinois, I lost no time signing up for classes at the Westmont Academy of Self Defense and spent the next 7 years almost living at the dojo.  I worked hard.  I advanced.  I was a good teacher and spent many nights and weekends teaching the children’s classes and beginner’s classes as part of my studies.  

White, gold, orange, purple, blue, green, brown, black.  Dreams – countless hours of dreams of earning that first degree black belt.  Books filled with notes from classes.  Hours spent practicing both at the studio and at home. I was so dedicated that I would put in a full day’s work in my office in downtown Chicago, get off the train at the Westmont station and teach/practice/attend classes for a few hours until I drug myself home. 

The day I got my first degree brown belt was so thrilling.  There were three degrees of brown before you achieved the coveted black belt, but I was on my way.  I was not advancing as fast as some of the “favorites” or those who had countless free hours, but I was advancing and I was a valuable part of the staff (all unpaid of course). 

Then I made a mistake.  I fell in love and got married.  I got pregnant with my daughter and we moved 50 miles away.  I still came down one night a week and most Saturdays to train and my parent’s watched my daughter.  Then I got pregnant with Kevin.  During this time I was chastened a few times for my lack of dedication to the sport because I put my family first.  Yeah – it was great seeing all the black belts going through divorces.  They starting changing the program some and my instructor said that I was ready for my black belt test.  We knew that I would possibly be on bedrest soon and had been told I had to quit training until Kevin was born.  

We scheduled the date for the test and I left with my family on vacation to Utah. When I came back from vacation I went in and did some private practice with a friend.  Then I called to ask what time my black belt test was that weekend.  I was stunned to be told, “We have decided that we are not going to hold the test.  Your dedication has changed lately.” What?  I was on vacation!  They knew that! I was given no answers other than that.  

My heart was ripped out of my chest.  My world felt like it ended.  I was blind with anger, rage and hurt.  After a day or two, I wrote the instructor a letter letting him know my feelings about what had been done to me and things that had occurred in the past. 

I was informed that I was not welcome back.  More heartache.  If you start over with a new style, you have to start over – not at the same rank. With a toddler and baby on the way – my dream was over. 

Over the years I gradually got rid of my gi (karate outfit), equipment, and most of my belts. But tonight I found all my rank certificates and my two brown belts. (The blue certificate is from BYU – the other certificate is my third degree brown belt).

  
I can still tie the Obi (belt) with my eyes closed.  I still dream of some of the routines and katas they were so ingrained in my life. 

Did it hurt less to find out that they had never awarded a female a black belt in my studio and that they didn’t want me to be the first one?  No.  Did it hurt less to find out that they were opening a couple of new studios and would have to pay black belts to be instructors instead of using me as free help like I had been for years. No. I still had a huge, painful hole in my heart. 

This was 25 years ago.  It still hurts.  Maybe not quite as bad as it did 25 years ago – but it is still a huge part of my life that ended. 

I can’t bear to get rid of these symbols even though they hurt me.  They also represent 7 years of work, sweat and dreams. 

Once I earn my 100 mile belt buckle this fall I am going to find a studio with a style similar to what I studied and I am going to go back and finish this dream. 

Advertisements

4 thoughts on “Broken Dreams Hurt

  1. Maurine, that’s amazing! I never had a clue! I don’t think you’ve mentioned it once! What a major accomplishment, even if you didn’t officially get the black belt you should have been awarded. As far as I can see, you earned it, but I would be glad to see you work on it so that you know you have it, and there’s no way they can ever take it away from you. A lot of unfair things like that have been done to women over the years. It’s a joy to me every time I see one of those righted! Good for you!

    Like

  2. I would love to say, “their loss” but I can feel your pain through your writings!!! You are an amazing woman who has gone so far and above what most of us could even dream about!!!! You rock!!!

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s