I'd been looking forward to this day for weeks, and it was over in a flash. Like so many of these things, it didn't go exactly as I'd expected, and I didn't do as well as I could have. It was my big wrestling debut; my character was figured out, I had my opponents and I got 11 people to show up. Not just show up, but pay to come see me wrestle (and thank you to every single one of you). A third of that room was filled with people that were there to see me. To think I used to believe no one cared about what I did.
I'm sitting here on Monday night, a full three days after my debut, if I know how to count (I probably don't). I've had a lot of time to process it, to move past the initial kneejerk feelings. I stepped down from that ring and crossed the curtain with nothing on my mind but when I was wrestling next. I'd had so much fun, there was no way I wasn't doing it again. About half an hour later, I was back out, thanking my family and friends for coming to see me, completely high on the smiles and the emotion that was radiating from them. I'd been part of the thing that was bringing them this joy. It's something I first experienced when I started writing for more than just myself, impacting others with the things I create. Ironically, I don't think it's something I can really put in words, it's like trying to describe the differences between two colours to someone who's blind. Like colour, it's uplifting and redefines your surroundings. A tree means something different when it's a dull grey than a vibrant green. A dropkick is completely different when there's no crowd to react and take it in (especially when you botch it).
My kneejerk reaction was "I can't believe I did this." It felt like a threshold was finally crossed, I've done my debut, I'm a wrestler now. My other knee jerked in a similar direction: "When's the next one?" Now, three days later, I'm still looking forward to my next match, but I'd hardly call myself a wrestler. What happened? I watched my match. Now if you've read this blog, you know I'm overly critical when it comes to anything I do (without that I don't know how this blog could exist). All I see is the mistakes. That dropkick? I missed it. I hit the side of my opponent's chest, sliding off and up. Now some have said that it looks great that way, and they may be right (they have the experience after all). But I see a botched dropkick. Now that's not quite as defeatist as it sounds. When I say "I messed up the dropkick in my debut", it sounds like "I suck and I shouldn't be doing this." But what I mean is "I suck, and I need to hit the gym to get better." I had a bad habit of thinking I was hot shit because I was able to wrestle after only a couple of months of training. Maybe that is an accomplishment in itself, as some have told me. I'm thankful for the shot I was given with this debut, I got put in a match and given a chance to show what I've got. I'm thankful for the debut because it's put things into perspective. I'm not hot shit because I can nail a dropkick in practice. I won't be hot shit when I can nail it in a match. Even when I nail it, there's something else I haven't nailed yet.
Wrestling is shaping up to be a perfect metaphor for everything else in my life. Right now, it's grabbed me by the collar and shouted "You're not as cool as you think you are! You're not done working!" So not only am I hotly anticipating the next training session, in the meantime I'm thinking up ways to make my character a better heel.