Bug Bites and Black Belts: The Little Things Are Big Things

5054374Yesterday was a tough day of little challenges. I couldn't sleep, and in the morning, I was complaining to my prince about the extreme itchiness and discomfort I was experiencing from the bites from whatever tiny creatures inhabit our mattress. Or, I theorized, were the bites from mosquitos? Could he ask the people at the office if they had any advice? He was sipping the morning coffee that I made him in front of an open window, and looking doubtful that among all the saving children, he was going to have time to ask about the possibility of bugs in our mattress. I looked at the open window and got up to slide the screen shut, giving him a "the least you could do is shut the screen to keep the bugs out" look. Then we argued about the insect life in Rammallah, Palestine, vs. Lumberton, NC. He went to work. I cried my eyes out for an hour, loudly, relishing the fact that no one I knew was going to hear me and ask any questions.  I rallied, called him, and resolved our stupid little argument. I found the pain-relieving spray (see photo) that Prince Charming had, of course, thought to pack, covered my skin with it, and slept blissfully for four hours.

Later, doing the dishes, I was scrubbing a hardened flake of oatmeal off a cup. My hand slipped, shunting the sharp shard of oatmeal under my fingernail. A small cut, a small annoyance. But damn it, couldn't something just go right today?When Prince got back from work, I told him that if something big and horrific happened to us, like something like the people back home are afraid will happen to us (crime, terrorism, etc.) we'd get through it. Our "I'm a tough survivor" instinct would kick in. Adrenaline would flow, and we'd roll with the challenges like it was our job. And people would think we were so tough, so heroic.We laughed and laughed about how it's really the little things that are the big things. He reminded my about how he'd stubbed his toe hard a week back, and even though it was just a stubbed toe, damn it, it was sore for days, and he had a lot of walking to do. So long to impressing his new staff with his powerful gait.I was reminded of when I was at a Tae Kwon Do Tournament as a teenager. I had just sparred with a huge, Amazonian warrior black belt with legs twice as long as mine, and a deadly, "I'm from the Bronx and I've killed girls just like you," look in her eyes. (It's my story, I'll embelish a little. Okay?) I was tough. I was brutal. I fought hard. I got kicked in the stomach and the face. I didn't cry. I probably won the match, but the point is that my instructors, my teammates, everyone was telling me I was One Tough Cookie. And let's be honest, I was. There weren't a lot of girls like me in my peer group.But what happened later was that I had to stay  for hours supporting my teammates. I wandered around the tournament, getting increasingly hungry, thirsty, and tired. This was right at the beginning of puberty, and I was just beginning to learn that I had a blood sugar issue and I would feel wonky if I didn't eat every three hours.

I didn't feel hungry, but I felt lost. I began to cry. I wanted to lie down. I remember that my instructor came over to me and said "What's wrong?" I shook my head, saying something like "I don't know, ahhh! I don't know….no snack yet, I lie down here?"

He gave me the most bewildered look, and said something like "You just beat Bronx girl, and now you are crying?"

It was a Little Things are Big Things moment. It's not the big fight that'll get you. It's missing your snack two hours later.