“Are you readyyyyy to ruuuuummmmble!”
I bump my fists with my formidable opponent and wait for the bell to ding.
Time slows to a still.
Breathe dammit. Focus! Stay in this moment!

My heart jumps and my ears reverberate! DONG!
I can’t hear anything but the roar of my pulse.
My face turns so red and sweat flows in beads down my face.

I shuffle my feet
I dodge and bob and hope to evade
The blows that are about to land

I keep my fists up
I don’t try to punch
When asked after the round
“What happened?”
I say that I froze.

The truth is, I didn’t freeze
When that bell rung
The fight in me was gone

FADE TO BLACK – “By TKO, in the red shorts, Vulnerability wins!”

The blood travels back to my heart
Hearing returns to my ears

Suddenly, my life goes on fast forward
Like an old VHS tape
Until it stops in the present.

I sit flat on my ass
Legs sprawled in a V
Out in front of me

My head throbs
Blood drips from my nose
Family and friends gather around

I see their worried faces
Wondering what damage was done
I jump to my feet and scream
“I float like a butterfly and sting like a bee.”

Their faces grow concerned.
My Mom, my manager
Grabs me by the shoulders
“Are you okay?”

I smile. I laugh.
“Ya, I’m fine.”
I needed that punch and knocked off my feet.
I needed the discomfort so I would not be the same

In the spotlight
In front of the audience
Or looking in the mirror
Right before the fight begins

I show off all that is good
I bask in the sunshine
I’m not afraid to step in the ring
If I’m not afraid of what will be exposed

I saw my opponent. I knew what I was about to battle.
I had to face my fear. Afraid to show how I feel.
Terrified of rejection if I am vulnerable
With not just the good, but the bad and the ugly as well.

I saw the only way for me to win
Was for my vulnerability to throw the punch
I dropped my arms and didn’t fight
To put my soul on display in the ring for all to see

I woke up on the other side of the 10 count
Terrified I would be alone
But no one had left
They were all by my side

It’s for the best vulnerability won
I’m sure the next fight is already being scheduled
But I’m hoping the next match won’t be so bad
Since I survived this round