The crisp air of the arena chills the sweat and Vaseline on my face as I make my way from backstage to the ‘x’ marked on the ground. I’m taking slow, deep breaths as the announcer’s booming voice introduces my opponent. I watch her enter the ring before my name now blares over the sound system. I take in two more deep breaths whilst I stand still as my entrance music begins to play and I patiently wait to feel THE moment – the instant where I make peace and accept that everything I’ve done has led to this point.
It is the moment deep within my gut where the anxiety, nerves and thoughts surrender to my competitiveness, courage, determination, confidence and instinct. In this moment, I am clear and calm, I am at peace and I am ready to make my way to the four sided proving ground where the battle awaits. It is the calmest moment just before the storm. No thoughts or words matter now. I begin to walk as my now-heightened senses lock me into absolute presence. Left foot, right foot, left foot, “Here we go”. Right foot, left foot, right foot, “This is my time”. Left foot, right foot, “Don’t trip!”. Left foot, right foot, left foot.
I advance in making my way toward the lights, continuing to breathe easily, “It’s only water, it’s only fire, it’s only love”. I hear the lyrics to the song as I approach the steps of the ring and they couldn’t resonate more deeply than in this moment. My fear versus my courage, my insecurities versus my confidence, my serenity versus my rage, and love…pure love. I love this moment for it is, where I feel the most alive and it happens right before I do what I believe I was born to do.