Melanie Gibson is the creator of the blog Little Black Belt. She began taekwondo training at age ten, took a twenty-two year hiatus, and began training again in her early thirties. She is a second degree black belt and is a third degree black belt candidate.
Melanie has a few college degrees, a corporate job that mostly lets her work in peace and quiet, and lives in Texas.
Her memoir Kicking and Screaming: a Memoir of Madness and Martial Arts is available wherever books are sold.
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Feeling sad is not fun and feeling anxious or angry. It's not fun and we want to get away from it. It's like, you know, you're touching something hot, you want to get away from it. But maybe it's teaching us something, maybe it's it's showing us we need to slow down or pay attention to just something going on in our lives. So it'll pass, they always do everything passes. So if we can sit with that emotion for a moment, recognize it, not judge ourselves. So it's okay that you're feeling anxiety. You're not a bad person. It's okay, if you're feeling angry. Put that aside, you still have your self worth? What is this emotion telling you? What can you learn from it? And what can you do to get through it if you can't get around it or if you can't avoid it? Hi,Jaclyn Steele:
I am Jaclyn Steele. And welcome to self discovery. Howard Thurman so beautifully wrote, don't ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive, coming alive. That, my friends, is what self discovery is all about. Wear that mask.Unknown:
All right. Beautiful listeners. Today, we are joined by Melanie de Gibson. She is a master in martial arts. And she recently published a book, which I am just, I want to write a book at some point. So to have you on here as a new author, I'm so honored. Thank you, Melanie. Well, thank you for having me on your show. Jacqueline, I'm happy to be here. Oh, it is a pleasure. And these kinds of conversations, you know, you are so vulnerable in your book. And I feel like it will it opens up a portal and a sense of permission for other people to be vulnerable. So for those listeners who don't know who you are, or anything about your book, kicking and screaming, can you tell us a little bit about yourself, Melanie, and what inspired you to write this beautiful book kicking and screaming? Sure. So I grew up with a fairly normal childhood and and did all the things that you think you're supposed to do in life. So I got good grades, I went to college, I started building a career. But all the while I was suffering. So I have mental illness, depression, bipolar disorder, anxiety and an eating disorder. And then all started to manifest around the time I was a teenager, but perfectionist that I am, I held it back and hit it, which a lot of people do. And that's really why I wrote the book to reach out to people like that. So I was able to get by and and hide under the radar for a long time until I just couldn't anymore. So I sought treatment from a therapist and a psychiatrist. And it was okay for a while it got me to a good baseline point. But I was still pretty unhappy. I was making bad choices in relationships. My emotions were all over the place. I couldn't seem to get a handle on my own mind and my life. So as kind of a last ditch effort to get out of this rock bottom place I was in I decided to go back to Taekwondo. And Taekwondo is a Korean martial art. It's very similar to karate. And I had done it when I was a child from age 10 to about a 12. And I liked it, but I never thought I would really return to I thought it was just one of those childhood things. But it crossed my mind once in a while. And so I was desperate for a big positive change in my life. And what really sealed it for me was when I was searching for Taekwondo schools in Fort Worth where I live I discovered that my childhood instructors who were out in Snyder, Texas out in West Texas had reported up to a grandmaster who's at higher rank than them in Fort Worth, about five miles from my home. And and I remember him coming to tests and tournaments, and intimidating Korean man, like like the grandmasters are. And when I discovered he had a school here in Fort Worth, I thought, okay, that's fate that some something is telling me I've got to do this. And so that's how I got back into training as an adult. Wow. Wow. And what is it about Taekwondo that you felt drawn to? Is it a specific discipline within the practice, or what is it? I think it's a lot of things and I noticed it as a child even when I didn't have the words for it. I love the the mind body connection. And I think that helped me through doing a dance in college. I was dance major for a while and getting into yoga, which I've practiced since I was a teen. So the mind body connection is really strong. Of course, there's a sense of discipline with both your physical body and also your mind. Focus is a big thing. It's hard for me To be in the present moment, even though we all want I want to do that more than anything else, I'm always worrying about the past or worrying about the future. It's what happens when you have anxiety. But it's one of those things more than anything else I've experienced that can help me be completely focused on what I'm doing in the present moment without a lot of noise and distraction going on in my head. So I think that was probably appealing to me as a child, I just didn't really know it. And then that's definitely what is was appealing to me as an adult as I got back into it and started training. And so it was helping my emotional and mental growth and getting that under control. And then also just Taekwondo itself is really fun. It's you get your endorphins rushing, you get to kick people, you get to break stuff. It's fun. It's just, I do so much adulting in my life, I just want to just scream and hit stuff. It's fun. Yeah, yeah, I can imagine that there would be such a release, couple things came to mind. While you were speaking, I feel like as little children, we, there's no stigma around releasing your Wiggles, so to speak. Like when you've got a lot of energy, your parents tell you to go run and play in the yard or dig in the dirt or do jumping jacks or something to release the energy. But as we get older, and especially when it comes to mental illness, or any kind of mental suffering, there isn't that encouragement to move it out physically. And I know for me, I have definitely danced with anxiety for sure. Movement is such a giant part of my healing practice, because I feel like it physically allows that tense energy to leave my body. Do you have anything you want to add to that? Yeah, I can agree with that. And I love the the idea of calling it letting out the wiggles because that's what I feel sometimes. But I always knew it worked. Because I'd have those days where I just didn't feel like going to class I wasn't feeling well or it had a bad day, every single time I came out feeling better. So it means such a release of tension. Sometimes it allows you when you do start wanting your mind wanders and you think about other things centers allows you to work through issues. And and yeah, I just I agree with that. 100% is that the movement is it's a great distraction. And the release of it makes you look back on some of those things you're worrying about, like a work meeting, or whatever it is or things your partner I think, you know, it's not as bad as I thought it was. Yes, I'm hearing you say that it puts life into a healthier perspective. Like the thing before we go into the gym or for me, I love yoga. Yoga is one of my releases, like, whatever is bothering me before I go into a yoga practice is generally not bothering me so much after it's like a it something happens in that movement that transforms the anxiety into something that feels very manageable. And it's a perspective shift. I want to chat with you about like a rock bottom moment. Was there a moment in your life where you just felt like I cannot possibly move forward without making some kind of really deep change? And if you have experienced that, can you touch on that a little bit? Yes, I've experienced it twice. And I'm a little embarrassed that it has to do with disappointing relationships with men I shouldn't have even been chasing after anyway. So the first time I had gotten rejected by someone I liked, and this was before I got on medications or went to therapy or anything and I was so upset I think I'd had a few drinks too. I was just sobbing I was at a really low point and I had suicidal thoughts before and it's not like I was gonna kill myself over this guy but it just that those urges were there and thought I've got to do something I cannot keep putting this off so that's when I started seeing a therapist and getting on medication. The second rock bottom happened a couple years later and again it was it was wasn't really because of a breakup but it was that was the trigger and and it is so silly when I think back to it now. But it that shined a light on how worthless I thought I was because that's where I put all my validation was in other I couldn't I couldn't validate or approve or love myself. So I got to the point where I felt so worthless that I was just calling my poor parents and crying into the phone and they don't know what to do and I'm drinking whiskey for dinner every night and that's when I got to the point it was like the second first time I thought I've got to get on medication or something where I will get so depressed that I'll I'll do something drastic. This time I just thought okay, I'm not I'm not suicidal or anything, but I am you miserable. I can't go on feeling like this. And that's when getting into Taekwondo or getting into some kind of positive activity came into my mind. Just to shake up my routine. Just something to get me out of the house a couple of nights a week. Hmm. and refocus. We have on this podcast, a lot of female listeners. So when it comes to toxic relationships, what advice do you have for beating an addiction to toxic partnerships, I feel like from my observations, and this is not coming from a judgmental place. But when somebody gets into the pattern of being in a toxic relationship, even if they leave that particular toxic relationship, they often repeat that. So how do you break that pattern? You know, is it is it a matter of like creating awareness and recognizing that it's toxic, and then leaving and setting up some like red flag boundaries? Or how did you overcome that desire for a toxic relationship? I think that was one of my last addictions that I had. Like, it was like breaking a spell. Oh, I'd gotten abusing prescription drugs under control. my eating disorder was quiet for the moment, although it's had its ups and downs, wasn't abusing alcohol, but I know you've read the book, you know that I am in a toxic relationship for a big chunk of it. And people around me were very frustrated at that they could see the red flags, but I couldn't or even when I did see them, I thought and if this was my thinking at the time, and this is I think how a lot of people in those situations feel I thought I couldn't do any better. I thought that was what I deserved. I thought that was the best I could get. I thought that being in a really awful relationship was better than being single, which it's not nothing wrong with being single. And I spent several years after that very happily being single. And I don't know if there's a magic bullet. Sometimes, unfortunately, you have to learn your lesson the hard way, which I hope for other people they don't. But I did, I had to learn after the breakup with that last person was that my worth isn't tied up in relationships. And I think what really helped is around that time, I was getting close to testing for black belt. So I had all that positivity going on with Taekwondo. And I went through that last leg of that journey alone. And that proved to me that I could accomplish big things without anybody telling me how long how wonderful I am, without anybody by my side. And so it took that it took going through that to prove to myself that I don't really need anybody else in my life, if they're there, they're nice to have. But you'd mentioned boundaries before is that I had to learn on reflecting on that relationship was that I wasn't good at setting boundaries. And I had to think about where they are now. And I will say I'm in a good relationship now. But there were some growing pains at first. He was very good to me. But I think I didn't trust either him or myself to be good to me. I was afraid that if I wasn't perfect at everything all the time, he would criticize me or he would break up with me, which that hasn't happened. And I had to get over the baggage I was carrying before I could trust us both to be in a healthy normal relationship where we both have boundaries where we can both communicate, and and speak to each other like respectful adults. So I guess the advice for somebody in that relationship is, is have some compassion for yourself, because you're probably going to have a lot of people yelling at you and telling you you need to get out. And that's not always very helpful, can be very judgmental about it. So it kind of depends on the situation that you're in and the abuse going on. Maybe there are some finances you need to get in order. Maybe you need to set up a different place to live. Once you recognize it, I would say try to try to get out as soon as possible. Don't string it along like I did, and keep hoping that it will get better because the hard truth is if you're in a toxic relationship with an abuser, it will not get better. They will not change. You can change and you'll do that on your own. Hmm. I'm hearing a couple of things in there that I love so much. The first is radical self responsibility. I think it's so important as human beings that we have extreme compassion for ourselves and extreme compassion for other people. And the deep knowing that we are all the masters of our own fate. No one can make the decision for us. No one can rescue us from a situation. You know, especially as women you know the idea of the princess in the tower. We can be our own rescuers. We do not need to wait for someone else to take us out of a toxic situation. We Even though it may be really difficult, do have so much power. The other thing that you touched on that I think is so important, is understanding that real self worth is not external, it is totally internal. And even if we don't naturally feel self worth, or feel like we grew up in an environment that fostered a healthy sense of self worth, we do have a choice to treat ourselves with respect. And I feel like self respect begets more self respect, if that makes sense. So like you channeling this energy into Taekwondo, which is such a positive outlet, it allowed you to see your progress in there, and probably build a little block of self worth. And then as you focus more and channel more energy in such a positive direction, it builds another block of self worth. And I think the work that I do with clients, everybody wants everything instantaneously. Like we could order it on Amazon and have it auto delivered the next day. That's the culture we live in, I get it, I'm familiar with it, I'm the same way. But when it comes to mental illness, when it comes to toxic patterns and relationships, when it comes to overcoming self doubt, when it comes to building our own self worth, it really, in my experience is a brick by brick choice by choice building. And it's so beautiful, because that's a really rock solid foundation rather than one event. That gives you that excitement that burst of like, we've got all this energy behind this. And then what so often happens after that burst of energy, there's a fallback and a fallback into doubt and fear and all of those things versus the brick by brick process. You just gradually get stronger and stronger and stronger and stronger. Do you have anything you want to add to that? Oh, I agree. I love again, you don't have all these wonderful metaphors. But building the foundation because it doesn't happen overnight. And that can be a little frustrating. And I know I've even had some some setbacks with all the fun we've had in 2020 and 2021. I've had to go back to my foundation. But yeah, even an even with something positive, like Taekwondo, I had to learn that even that was not the key to my self worth. It did give some validation and some positivity, but I had to learn that I couldn't rest my laurels on that either. It can't just feel good because I'm a black belt or because I do this and I do that I still had to find the self worth inside myself. But I think Taekwondo was a good vehicle to help me find that I needed something external to focus on before I could really start feeling it internally. And I think like you said, building that foundation, I was able to do it step by step to start working start having more compassion for myself, and finding the self worth inside me whether I'm doing Taekwondo or not. Hmm.Jaclyn Steele:
This is another segment of these are a few of my favorite things. And my favorite things I mean companies. Yes, I am an affiliate for these companies. So I get a little kickback when you purchase from them and that allows me to continue to make this podcast and pay my bills. So today I want to introduce you to be k r and they are by far my favorite reusable water bottle company. I have been using their bottles since 2017. So you do the math, it's been a long time. Here's why I love them so much the shape of the water bottle and the loop lid make it so easy to carry them from yoga to the grocery store to work, whatever. They're super portable. Next, the specialty lid that holds weight for it. Lip Balm. So in this Arizona dryness, my lips can get some much needed moisture, always right at my fingertips. Next, the silicone shell that makes it grippy and easy to drink from and Then the Colors. Oh my gosh admittedly I'm someone who's very picky about what I purchase. I want it sustainable ethical and I want the colors to be on brand. I'm not a hot pink in your face kind of gal and bkr gets it they have the most beautiful selection of colors that in my opinion will not hurt your eyes. Also, the water bottles are easy, easy, easy to clean or pop in the dishwasher. I love that they don't take a lot of time to keep sanitary. I got my first bkr bottle like I mentioned in 2017 and it still looks brand new. And that's something I wish was so important to me but it is it's in perfect condition and I have dropped it traveled with it taking it to music performances, et cetera, taken it to work. Oh my gosh, this thing has seen some life my friends and it looks fantastic for its age. You can see my little family of bkr bottles on Jaclyn Steele calm slash bkr my favorite colors are tight. Be in Brooklyn, trust me, they are so freaking beautiful. And they are an item that will last and last and last again. That's Jaclyn Steele comm slash bkr for my favorite picks. Now back to the episodeUnknown:
where there any bricks, so to speak healing modalities, events, meditations, whatever it may be that you feel like contributed to your self worth, specifically to your, like foundation of growth. totally unique to you. I had something that happened earlier this year. So we fast forward a couple years from the black belt test. And I was in a yoga class. And it there's a long story behind the yoga class. I hadn't done it in several months because of pandemic and I had some other health issues going on. And I've done yoga since I was 18. I'm almost 42 now so you can do the math as to how long I've been doing yoga. And I was going through class and I'm starting to worry about something work or whatever, I think it was something work related. And I'm sitting there and a little voice said, you don't have to solve this right now. And it sounds so simple. But it was so profound. Because I'm such a past or future focused person, I have such a hard time. Still, even after all these years, I still I have to consciously try to be present. And being able to say you miss recovering perfectionist, don't have to solve this problem and try to force an outcome. And that felt like such a relief. And I can really get into my yoga practice and enjoy it for what it was. And I've had that little mantra ever since then as I start to worry about things that are very often outside of my control. I think you don't have to solve this right now. And where that helps with self compassion is that I cut myself some slack. I don't always have to fix everything and make everything perfect and make the outcome as controlled as I want it to be because that that just builds your anxieties to trade off. Yes, it does. So reminding myself that things are fine the way they are, they're all worked out. You're following the way you are. You don't have to solve all these problems right now you are fine, just the way you are right now in this moment. And I think that was a big block, as you call it, of self worth. Hmm, I relate to all of that I feel like anxiety is just it's such a tough thing to overcome, because it's slippery. But I love what you said about creating awareness. Like I don't have to fix this right now. And what's coming to my mind is this sense of healthy separation. And that can come with the question, is this something that is in my control? Or is this something that is out of my control. And if it's out of our control, it is something that we can easily say, that is not my problem to fix, or I don't need to fix this right now, or one of the mantras that I like to say is, that is not my responsibility. I am a recovering perfectionist, I have bouts of anxiety. And that has been so huge for me, especially as an empath and somebody with a big compassionate heart. I want to fix everything for everybody, I want everybody in my presence to be happy. I want them to feel like they have 1,000,000% of my attention. And what I found is that I can try as hard as I want to fix a situation but a, if that person doesn't want help or doesn't want the situation fixed, it doesn't matter. And then second, my propensity to pour out all of my energy often leaves me in a state of burnout. And so having that check in of like, is this actually in my control? can I fix someone that isn't me? Absolutely not. Is that person's problem, even though the answer is very clear to me how they could go about solving it. My responsibility? Absolutely not. If somebody is different if somebody comes to me for advice, I'm so happy to help. But if there isn't that invitation to be brought in, then I am learning slowly, very slowly to have healthy boundaries with myself and others but also in my own mind of like, like you said, I don't have to fix this right now or the laundry isn't put away. And that's okay because me resting is more important than the laundry right now. Just that tiny, tiny flip of awareness is pivotal. I want to talk to you about mental health too, because your book is so centered on mental health. You speak about the stigmas around it too. Do you think, like, I here's, here's what's coming to mind is the me you can't see that Oprah and Prince Harry just the series that they just published on Apple TV Plus, it's so beautiful, and it's so enormously I think it has the power to be so transformational in our country, because here are these people like Lady Gaga, like Prince Harry, talking about mental health, who from the outside looking in look like they have everything. So how do you think we can flip this conversation from people judging people who come out with and say that they have some kind of mental illness to a situation in which there is a sense of compassion and reciprocity, even if that reciprocity is just love? I think that'll take some time. I think it's a good start, especially with what Oprah and other celebrities are doing. And it may take some brave trailblazers like Megan Markel and Lady Gaga to to blaze the path for us or people like me with with our book as we just have to put it out there and and start talking about it. And there will be some backlash. I know Megan Markel got a lot of very cruel backlash towards her when she talked about her mental health because we, even though mental health is so common in the United States, one in five people suffers from some kind of mental health condition. But it's still so stigmatized, that it doesn't get the same compassion that say, a physical health or an injury or an illness, when we have so I think it's just going to take time and effort and continuing to speak out and try to normalize having mental health conditions and offering solutions. I even with my book coming out, it has forced me to be open and public about my mental health problems, and I never have before but I learned that it's a relief to be able to talk about it. I had a conversation with my boss about two months ago, because they were just, I was not in a good place and and isn't like my mental health is suffering. And here's why. And I never wanted to have that conversation. Because of my own Wi Fi, I even carry my own bias and stigma about it. But seeing somebody else be compassionate towards me, was a huge relief, first of all, and then it showed me that I could be more open. And so for those of us who are open about it, this is our chance to be advocates for normalizing how we talk about mental health. The 2020 pandemic and the political upheaval and all the things that happened last year were horrible things that we had horrible traumas we all live through. Something good that may come of it is that we start speaking openly about mental health, because it was triggering for people like me who already have diagnosed conditions. And I think it's, it may have opened a lot of problems for people who had never suffered anxiety, or depression. And now all of a sudden, they have these feelings and emotions and experiences that they don't know how to deal with. And so it's unfortunate that we had to go through such tragic events to get there. But I think it's an opportunity to collectively say, hey, our emotional and mental wellness is just as important as our physical health. What can we do to make it better? And I would argue that our emotional health has a huge effect on our physical health, how we feel mentally, very often manifests physically. So I think it's all tied so intricately together. Oh, yeah, it is. And it's it's strange and sad that people see it as such separate entities that mental health has such a taboo over and if you have a mental health problem, there is something wrong with you. But if you have diabetes, if you break your leg, if you get cancer, you get a lot of compassion. Oh, what can we do to make you better? Let's Let's rally around you and support you. And it's starting to happen with mental health. Not yet. I think maybe in 10 years, even five years from now, we'll be amazed at how archaic our thinking was towards health. Yeah, we're going in the right direction. We're not there yet. Yeah. going in the right direction. Yeah, I feel like we're going in the right direction too. And I feel like what I'm hearing from what you're saying too, is just normalizing the human experience. And the human experience is beautiful. And it's also brutal. Like Glennon Doyle says she calls it beautiful, like we, the human experience is a breadth of so many emotions. I don't know anybody that I have ever met in my 34 years and I've met a lot of people I've traveled a lot of places who hasn't struggled with periods of sadness or depression, like you lose a loved one, you you lose a job, something that you thought you wanted falls through. Those are things that are part of the human experience. Yes, they are an opportunity for growth. Yes, there are lessons inside of them. But it doesn't mean that they aren't disappointing, or sadness or depression inducing. And I feel like normalizing the fact that we have feelings, and that having feelings is part of being human, and it's totally normal, doesn't make you crazy, doesn't make you weird, doesn't make you a woman, because you feel things more extraordinarily deep or whatever. It's just part of the human experience. Yeah, and some of my problems have come from fighting those feelings so much takeaway, the part of the the diagnose chemical imbalance and all that just the bouts of sadness, or the small bouts of anxiety, the more I struggle against it, instead of just sitting with it and observing it for a moment. The worst I feel, and I think many of us do, feeling sad, is not fun and feeling anxious or angry. It's not fun, and we want to get away from it. It's like, you know, you're touching something hot, you want to get away from it. But maybe it's teaching us something, maybe it's it's showing us we need to slow down or pay attention to just something going on in our lives. So it'll pass, they always do everything passes. So if we can sit with that emotion for a moment, recognize it, not judge ourselves. So it's okay that you're feeling anxiety. You're not a bad person. It's okay, if you're feeling angry. Put that aside, you still have your self worth. What is this emotion telling you? What can you learn from it? And what can you do to get through it if you can't get around it? Or if you can't avoid it? Hmm, oh, I think you hit the nail on the head there. Yes, yes, yes, yes. And I'll add that, what I find in my client work is that people feel like because they are sad, or they have anxiety, or they have issues with perfectionism or self doubt, like you said, something is wrong with them. But I think what we have to normalize is that these are natural human reactions. It doesn't mean anything is wrong with us. It is a natural human reaction. Do we need to stay in those places forever? No. But the more we try and ignore them, the bigger they become, in my experience. So like you said, sitting with it, I'll even ask my anxiety questions and my fear questions like, wow, I noticed you're really here right now pretty strong. What are you trying to tell me? And that vulnerability of admitting the fear is there, but then doing something about it? By asking it a question is also really, really empowering. So for those of us, for anybody who's listening, that feels bad for feeling sad, sometimes or feeling self doubt, or lacking confidence, or lacking self worth, there's nothing intrinsically wrong with you. If you're just human. We're just having a very weird, dense experience on this planet. And what you're feeling is normal. And you don't have to stay in that headspace forever, either. There is help. You know, there are therapists, psychologists, like you turning to Taekwondo. You know, there are so many different modalities of healing. So, yeah, do you have anything that you want to add on that? I like that you call it part of the human experience and English nerd that I am, I thought back to my Shakespeare class in college and how he showed the breadth of the human experience in his plays, and they weren't all comedies of romance, no tragedies, too. And that's what I think going back to Oprah and everybody else, and me and me telling our stories is that we normalize the human experience. Sometimes it's really awesome. And other times it's not. And that's normal, and that's part of life, and how we respond to it. And and how we can get through the difficult experiences and how we can celebrate and learn from the good experiences helps us grow as humans. So that's what I hope we can do is keep being able to be vulnerable. And right now, I think it's not necessarily the safest place to be vulnerable, but some of us just have to blaze that trail and do it. And then we start normalizing the whole breadth and depth of the human experience from all all of the emotions, joy, sadness, fear, anger, all of those things, is that they happen to us. It's normal, it's human. We can recognize it and take what we can from it and move on. And you are so brave in the way that you write about your experience and the way that you're speaking about your experience. And I would argue that As humans, we Need the duality? We wouldn't know what intense joy feels like, if we didn't know what intense sadness feels like, just like you wouldn't know what water feels like on your skin, if you didn't have the feeling of like a blanket on your skin, if it was always water, you would never feel anything else you wouldn't know anything else. And so having all of these different experiences and the capacity to have all of these different emotions, it is, in my opinion, a portal into understanding ourselves in a way that we never would be able to if life and the human experience was one dimensional. Uh huh. Yeah, I agree. Yeah.Jaclyn Steele:
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Okay, so let's chat plateaus and setbacks. Because certainly growth is not linear. What do you have to say for the people who have seen this recently, several times, people getting super excited about a change that they're about to make. But then once the excitement wears off, some of the motivation decreases. So how do you stay motivated? How do you keep going even when you reach a plateau or a setback? I think first recognizing that those are normal parts of the process keep us from getting burned out once you hit a wall. And I'll share a story that's in the book. And it's one that stayed with me for a long time as I was probably red belt or something. And I had taken some time off from Taekwondo to deal with whatever mental issues I was having. And I had plenty of plateaus in my performance because it's hard. It's a difficult technique to learn and you don't get it perfectly overnight. And my Grandmaster had noticed that that I've been gone and I said, Oh, you know, I don't know how much I shared with him. Not much. He said, Oh, I'm a little frustrated right now. I'm not making a lot of progress. And he said, Well, it's not and he used his hand his English wasn't great. So use some hand motions. He said it's not like this and he shot his hand straight up in the air like it like a steep cliff. He said it's like this zigzag like stairs and he He wiggled his hand and he did these little motions, that the progress are a little stair steps and sometimes you get stuck. On one for a while, and sometimes you have to go back. But it's not always a straight shot to success is that it's a zigzag motion. Like he said, sometimes you have to go back a little bit. Sometimes you have to take time off, I sometimes go back feeling refreshed if I take time off from a certain activity. Rat Race, like you said, it's not linear, it's it's a zigzag, sometimes it's a circle, or an ellipse ease or whatever shape you want to throw in there. But it's often not a straight line. Mm hmm. I love you saying that so much. Because I feel like especially as a perfectionist myself, I want things to be linear, I want to go from one to 10 and know exactly how to get there. But especially when we are walking in territory that we have not walked in before, we have to normalize that we don't know what we're doing yet. And that's okay, we're not expected to know what we're doing yet. The whole point of doing it is to be able to learn. So to hold ourselves to these standards of perfection or getting things right the first time. It's just not a realistic expectation. And I feel like that translates into life as a whole to like, sometimes we're gonna be riding an awesome wave. And we can get back to that point. But some periods in life are more difficult. And that is also very normal. It's all so extremely normal. Yeah, I mean, if you want instant gratification, you can eat a candy bar, or something and get that quick fix. But those don't happen with the bigger things in life, with our relationships with our careers, with our hobbies and our passions and things we love to do is, is it's not linear, and we can burn ourselves out when we have that unrealistic expectation. That is a straight, perfect linear process. And that's something I'm still having to remind myself to, it's it you don't The more you try to force it to be perfect, the more miserable you're going to make yourself. So just sit back and go with those waves, huh? Yeah, respect and honor the body. Okay, when it comes to overcoming adversity with an unusual hobby, what advice do you have for people and where should they start? Hmm. Be patient with yourself. Don't expect overnight success. But also I don't want it to all be don't do this don't do that is enjoy the excitement of it and and enjoy the the new enthusiasm and the passion that you feel from it. And know that even if you're learning something really difficult right now, is that that is building resiliency. It's building perseverance. And think of how proud of yourself you'll be when you feel proud of yourself for starting some kind of difficult or unusual hobby. Be proud of yourself just for doing that. It doesn't always have to be about the end goal or the end accomplishment. But if the end goal seems too daunting, you know, let's say you start if you start taking piano lessons and you want to play it or recital, well start learning pieces of it. First start learning a little bit of the music theory, start learning little pieces of music and do things in little chunks. And then you discover it, you've done all these chunks. And it's like you said you build your mental foundation when you built your foundation of skills, one small accomplishment at a time and celebrate the wins along the way. I think we and I'm guilty of this getting so caught up in where I want to go that I forget all the progress that I'm making along the way. Okay, as we wrap up this beautiful episode, what do you want our listeners to take away from hearing this conversation? I want them to honor their mental health and their emotional well being whether they're in a good place, or they're not in a good place. And if they're not in a good place, find ways to practice some self care and self compassion and seek out help. We're in a changing period, I think with the way we treat mental health in this country. And so it's prime time really to start taking care of your mental health, whether you have issues or not. It's like how we all take care of our but our physical bodies. This is prime time to start taking care of your mind and your emotions. So that's what I want people to do is to make their mental and emotional health a priority. Ah, I second everything you just said. Okay, where can folks find you online and where can people pick up your book? I am verifiable I cannot disappear and join witness protection program I'm verifiable. So you can buy my book kicking and screaming memoir of madness and martial arts from any bookseller of course the big ones like Amazon and Barnes and Noble indiebound is another place to find it bookshop.org wherever you prefer to buy books, you can buy it in print version or you can buy it in any copy for your your E reader. You can find me on my blog, little black belt.com It's a play on the term little black dress because a black belt is a great accessory so little black belt. It is and I've got all my media articles and podcasts and things on there too. And then on social media, I'm Melanie Gibson author on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook. Hmm. Beautiful. Melanie, thank you so much for your time today and wisdom and heart and vulnerability. Thank you so much for having me enjoyed our conversation. My pleasure.