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The student news site of Inglemoor High School

Nordic News

The student news site of Inglemoor High School

Nordic News

The student news site of Inglemoor High School

Nordic News

Student Narrative: Emily Mo

Student+Narrative%3A+Emily+Mo

I stroked my hand over the light, delicate hairs on my head. My bangs no longer shielded my eyes, and I could finally see myself clearly in the mirror in front of me. There was a new balance to my stance and a different atmosphere in the air.

I looked masculine, like the boys in my kung fu classes who were always stronger and better than me. The new hairstyle removed the old me, which would mark my removal of the weaknesses I associated with being a girl.

This mindset was rooted in my kung fu classes. Since I started at age 7, I quickly found myself falling behind the male students. They executed precise kicks and punches while I endured losses and bruises. They ascended through the upper belt levels with speed while I remained in the middle.

An unsuspected side of me began to rise when the world collapsed. COVID hit, and my whole life moved to the confines of my 200-square-foot room. For the first time in my life, I was alone. Buried in my own thoughts, I did a lot of self-reflection over the first few months of quarantine. My mind kept wandering to my failures in kung fu, and the thoughts of my losses grew in my mind. Although I didn’t see them anymore, the gap between me and the boys irritated me more than ever.

Shaving my head marked my first step forward, and I began my journey of improvement. My backyard replaced the dojo, and a punching bag replaced my peers. Every afternoon, I practiced and sparred as if the haircut boosted me: lifting me in the air when I fought and accelerating my steps when I sparred. The consistency of my practices grew from once to twice to five times a week — and I learned new things that I previously could not accomplish.

Quarantine soon ended and I reentered the kung fu classes and once again began training with the boys. We continued conditioning and sparring, and before I realized what was happening, I began to land my hits and win matches, one after another. It was clear that I did not just catch up to the boys; I surpassed them. My coach noticed my progress, and I was allowed to take the black belt test. Step by step, I performed all the routines, broke countless pieces of wood and fought my way out of various attacks. The soft, black silk was placed gently in my hands, and I felt the same fire burn inside of me. I had finally succeeded in the sport and beat the male students — something unimaginable to me just a few months prior.

Reflecting on my success, I noticed that during quarantine, I put in far more effort than the other students. It seemed that I was never born “naturally inferior,” and, instead, am capable of what everyone else is with the right mindset and the right amount of work. I was born the way I am, and that is a strong, powerful woman.

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