The new girl…

Another week in Albuquerque has passed and I’m still getting use to some things...

For starters, thanks to yesterdays experience, I’ve learnt if I go for a run outside, YES it may only be March, but I dooooo need to put on sunscreen. My poor white Canadian body is sporting a bit of a burn right now. Also, try sharing a house with four other boys and being the only girl… yup. Awkwaaaard. And there are other random things I’m tying to get use to… like how fast everyone drives around here or how me saying “eh” is apparently something hilarious. Allllll righty then. It’s those little things, I’ll admit, that make me miss home.

Training at Greg Jackson’s gym has been physically demanding this past week, but in a different better way than my first week. For starters, I feel as though I am getting use to the altitude. When I first got here, it felt like there was a hand tightly covering my mouth, trying to suffocate me as I breathed deep during sparring and rolling. This week was a little better; I feel like I can breathe more freely.

Every time I talk with Greg, I can’t help but wish I had a tape recorder. Not only because I want to remember every last detail he is saying to me about the technique we are working on… but more so because I want to replay and retain everything he says to me, about the mental aspect of fighting and training… About how to be strong when you are weak, about acting weak when you are strong, about becoming familiar or comfortable with the nerves, how everything is a production but at the same time not a production at all… this man is a fountain of brilliant knowledge. Every time he speaks, I want to record it, and play it again later. To make sure I really got what he was saying and that I didn’t miss anything. It’s too valuable to just let it wash past you, with out really taking it in.

While this second week was physically hard, I am happy to report it wasn’t as mentally draining as last week. I was a bundle of nerves that first week here. Everything was so awkward, uncomfortable and basically just nerve wrecking. But now, people are starting to talk more with me and I feel a bit more relaxed. The girls I train with are incredibly sweet and kind, and all the guys seem to be pretty cool, as well.

Now, don’t get me wrong; it is still challenging.

I mean, it’s strange when I really think about it: I went from being the social butterfly girl that everyone knew and respected at the CMC gym… to being the awkward, shy, quiet new girl, who no one really knows about. Granted, I am focused on working hard here at Jacksons, so I don’t completely notice it until afterwards, when I sit back and reflect. It’s then that I realize “man, being a part of a gym atmosphere is so different when no one knows you exist.” Honestly, it’s kind of a lonely feeling… one that I am not use to…

BUT! One person knows I exist! (Okay, realistically it is probably more than one person… but just work with me here…) Greg has been very vocal with letting me know he is happy that I am here training with them and that he is pleased with how hard I work. *Fist pump!  That, my friends, makes the awkward, quiet new girl feel pretty dang good.

And on top of Greg letting me know that, I feel like I have had a lot of other signs “telling” me that being here is the right thing for me, even if it does feel uncomfortable at times. It’s now that I am finally starting to get comfortable with the thought that, yup… I think I can actually make it in this sport…

Texting with my friend Layne, who is home in Canada, I told him all about training down here in New Mexico and how Greg hardly knows me but makes it clear that he believes I have potential. Layne, bless his heart, responded back and said that “Greg probably sees what I see I ya… you really got what it takes to be at the top.”


I start to realize in this moment that I have support and belief coming to me from multiple angles… from multiple countries. My body got goosebumps and fizzed with energy and pride. “Geez, thanks Layne. I needed that… You just made my night.”

It’s funny, to get the support and belief when you need it the most, not when you want it the most. I’ve told my mom tons of times in the past that I wanted someone – whether it be a coach or a mentor or a boyfriend, just someone involved in the sport – to help guide me in this MMA world and help me remember what I can be. I never knew what form this support would show up in, but I have literally hoped, wished and prayed for it. Now, I feel like it is starting to appear. Slowly, I am becoming aware that it is surfacing in my life, and that I have people who believe in what I can do and be. It’s one thing for my mom or my best friend to have told me I can do and be anything… But to hear it come from people who have wise-eyes in the sport… well, that is just a kick-ass cherry on top. I’ve always wanted that type of support and reinforcement. Now, it’s finally being volunteered to me.

Maybe this is the missing link. Maybe this is what I need for everything to start to take off…

As I sit on my bed and type, I wonder what will be next. My mind goes all over the place…I wonder when I will fight next, I wonder what my weights at, I wonder if have to buy oatmeal this weekend. My brain bounces from one topic to the next. It’s been a long hard week of training, and my brain and body are fried and tired. It’s hard to focus on anything, other than my need to sleep. Despite the randomness of my thoughts, the uncertainties I feel or the discomfort I’ve felt being the new girl trying to prove herself, I feel pretty optimistic. It’s two weeks in, the one and only Greg Jackson is making it clear to me that he sees potential in what I can be…

That’s a good point to focus on. My sunburnt, tired body can go to sleep and rest with that.



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