By Amanda Judd
On October 11, 2005 I packed up a bag and headed for the airport. That bag was full of a personal history. I never unpacked that bag, I just stored it, in the locker above the seat on the plane, then dusting up somewhere in a cupboard down in the garage.
The flight departed Baku, Azerbaijan. I boarded and started an adventure.
The adventure was so unfamiliar, it felt like I just woke up.
From a dream.
I was becoming awake.
Since 2005 and since escaping the dream, life has been full of exploring how to be a positive contributor in our world. It started with how can I do less damage to the environment? And at this moment in time it’s how can I contribute more generativity and life to our environment, our communities, and to myself? It’s great. Glorious even! It fills me up and grounds me down. It brings me to this blog, it’s what I do, it’s why I get out of bed each day, it’s my life’s work, my breath, my everything. It’s love.
I haven’t unpacked that bag because I didn’t know why I should. How did my previous “life” contribute to a 10+ world? How did it make the world a better place? I couldn’t reconcile that it did.
I think the life of an athlete has to be a dream for a while. Baku, October 2005 was the Rhythmic Gymnastics World Championships, the last time I stepped foot on the gym floor, the 13 year relationship with sport that I walked away from and jumped on a plane to escape. You make a sporting career so incredibly number one for so long that there isn’t a two to follow. It’s become a part of you. So to let it go and say well that was me, it’s impossible. You can’t let yourself go. So instead you say it wasn’t real, it was a dream. Experiences: Pain. Dedication. The hardest work, hours, thousands of hours, 10,000 hours. Mastery. Pleasure. Perseverance. Commitment. Routine. Rhythm. Travel. Compete. Nervous. Hate. Love. Tired. Sweat. Hot summer days. Freezing winter mornings. Energised. Push. Harder. Hardest. The zone. Flow. Better. Bettering. Winning. Going. Moving. Evolving. Expression. Higher. Light. Self. Actualisation. Every inch. Every muscle. Every sound, feeling, touch, sight. White.
Giving it up was like giving myself away. So I had to find a new me. And the me who it turns out I am didn’t acknowledge the me I once was — because my logic could not connect sport with making the world amazing.
“Surely there is a connection! There always is if you look deep enough” I’d feel in myself. But I couldn’t see it or touch it. Competition seemed bad, like the cause of so many problems in the world. Like the fuel of masculine energy running the board rooms we know need more women in them. Flying around the world competing seemed environmentally ridiculous. Sport seemed un-useful and un-important. And I was so positively distracted with exciting projects and fun experiences like founding Lovenotes, going to the UNFCCC, assisting startup social enterprises to invest energy in finding that connection. Or in other words, I had the perfect “authentic” escape from having to question me.
The dream remained a dream until recently. It’s taken me 9 years to loose the fear of opening that Me back up to explore. I’ve been playing hide and seek with it the past year-ish, but only today on this peaceful Saturday did I started unraveling it and start confronting it. I don’t know why today — maybe the coaching I’ve done recently has massaged me ready, maybe it’s the music I was listening to at lunch that rekindled memories of those days, maybe it was the Almudena Cid video I watched last night.
In my mind, unpacking the bag was the manifestation of the reconnection to that part of me. Today I did it, and here is what I found:
The Beauty of the sport of Rhythmic Gymnastics
Women and girls
In a 10+ world, rhythmic gymnastics definitely exists. Sport exists, perhaps with some refinement of how exactly, but it has a place. And I am so excited to be unraveling and revelling in it all.
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