Behold My Breathtakingly Beautiful Bruise

Describe a moment you're most proud of.

The egg-sized bruise on my leg glowed black and purple, but to me, it was shinier and more valuable than any other medal of honor. All day long I carried it around like a trophy, proudly presenting it to others around me. I had received many bruises before, but this bruise, a bruise that took more than 3 weeks to fade, marked a significant event in my years of practicing Tae Kwon Do. It wasn’t only the medal of a one-time victory, but the symbol of triumph over a fear of sparring I had harbored for many years.

The first couple months of Tae Kwon Do were far from fulfilling. I felt so out of place, standing amidst the bunch of white belters, who were all at least 5 years younger than I. The first weeks of practice were especially grueling. All the kids were faster, more flexible, and in better shape than I. While the other students were doing these amazing, movie stunt-like kicks, I was confusing my right leg with my left leg. I envied the black belters so much. How I longed to possess their agility, speed, and their confident demeanor. At that time, however, I kept telling myself that I’d be satisfied with just a yellow belt. The elusive black belt would be something I’d always yearn for but probably never attain.

Soon I was...

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