So. After more than a year of working and writing, I have come to the milestone along this road that tells me there is a week to go. This is rather too huge a reality for me to render coherently in words without the help of a metaphor, and the one I have chosen is somewhat topical - Wimbledon. Contrary to the predominant trend of press coverage, though, I wish to draw attention to elements of the women's final, as it was contested on Saturday 6th by Marion Bartoli and Sabine Lisicki. The catchphrase of this match seemed to be 'mental', in the sense that the winner was decided more by the strength of the two competitors' mental attitudes than any particularly brilliant tennis. Bartoli, being interviewed before the match, stated that she is 'a tiger on the court' and then admitted that if she behaved the same way she does in her every day life whilst she was playing tennis, she wouldn't win anything, because she's too nice. Lisicki is also too nice, and vulnerable to nerves, which led her to be very close to tears at one point during play and become overwhelmed.
I think I might be closer to Lisicki, and be a little too ruled by my emotions. I've written before about how I let fear get in my way, but it's so fundamental that I think it bears repeating. I repeat it now because, building on my resolution of independence, I have resolved that I need to be more like Bartoli, at least in relation to my physical work. So, over this final week, that will entail being ruthless with my mind - barrelling through the wall of fear (fear of pain, especially) in order to do the exercises I need to if I even want to attempt this feat (feet!) next week. Although I do rather hope that I will be so taken up by the moment that I won't really be sure how I got across that stage - which brings me to why I still think Lisicki has what it takes to win. She beat Serena Williams, of course, but that's not all. Three years ago she injured herself so badly that she was completely unable to walk. On Saturday she became the runner-up (a word used in full cognisance of its significance) of what is arguably the premier tennis tournament in the world. If that's not a story to give one hope, I don't know what is.
The other major theme of the match seemed to be parental support - Lisicki's parents giving up everything so she could train, and Bartoli's reconciliation with her father, her longtime coach. My mother has been my coach, and I don't think I've quite given her her due. She has quite literally stood by me this whole way, without me even having to ask. So thanks, Mama, and sorry for the tired and crabby part of myself which emerges sometimes, for you and no-one else to see. You've put up with a heck of a lot, for which I'm so very grateful. Thanks for keeping me on the right mental track.
Because it's mentality that's saved me. I don't think I've ever been entirely sure how I'll do it (I'm still not now, with a week to go) but I've always known that I would somehow, however tough it got. Never give up, never surrender. My CP and my body might have had other ideas, but I've not let them stop me, and I won't.
Bring on week the final. Thank you and good night.