Men & Women

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We are standing in the changing room after training. All of us tired. But also lighter and “happier” than before training. Smiles. And our faces look easier. Today we were about 12 or 14 people, all men and myself. And I say that I decided not to lose weight. And Dave says that I should not, that I look great. And I say “Thank you” and explain that I meant for U.S. Open.  That I am exactly in between weights. 135Lbs with the gi. The cuts are 129Lbs and then 141Lbs for women.

I usually train with men, just because there are more men than women at the gym and in this sport. The lightest one is probably around 165Lbs. This means I am so used to work against a heavier fighter. If I opt for losing weight I have to starve myself, and with all the work load and training it weakens me up. Thus, the weigh is fine.

I get into the car. My both kids, who were waiting for me to finish training, are with me. I feel bad that they have to spend all this time in the gym, but they always say they do not mind. I look at them and I feel this deep love in me. Love that translates into care. As I drive home I think about this recent spark of articles about how hard it is for women to work in tech or to get funding in tech or to be tech company founder. And I think that this is true. Or it might be true in many cases.

It is the same way that it is harder for a woman to train in a mostly men team, where all your opponents are at least 30 pounds heavier. In sports I never think of it. I am the one who wants to enter this game and play here. And I do not mind the difference, I do not think I am in a disadvantage. I might be, but I do not care. I am going to train and fight anyway, because this is who I am. And I like it. I like pushing myself till I can feel my muscles giving it all for a few seconds. I like the sweat. I like grabbing the gi and pushing the other person around. I like to sprawl and control his head. I like when I can get out of a bad situation, after thinking that I was done, but not giving up. I like the eyes of my partner right before my head will go into his shoulder. I love the physical concentration of our bodies. You are never sloppy when you fight. I love every detail of fighting. This is why I do it.

The same is true to building a tech startup. I started working on my project two and a half years ago and I fully went into it this July. It is hard. It is mostly a male dominated world where women are welcome but a few stay. Because it gets really tough along the road. Getting a team is hard. Raising money is very hard. Dealing with a lot of men and a few women who will meet with you and reject your project. For different reasons, because they do not see how it is going to monetize, because I do not have a male cofounder (yes, people said that, and then rectified, that they meant a technical cofounder), because I am a mom, because they do not see the product market fit, because they just do not feel it. My male advisors look at my deck and the MVP and say I should not have problems raising funding. And then when I go for it I have all problems I could ever have. I think many just want to see if I stick around long enough working on the project after I have been rejected hundred times. May be men just stick around longer and women quit easier. I do not know.

I believe in what I do. I know that ultimately my product will help hundreds of people get jobs and live better. It is a long road though. And my natural way to deal with it is how I deal with fighting. I am not going to focus on disadvantages. I will fight regularly with a heavier opponent. I will train. I will show up. No matter how hard things are, how sad I am or how sore I am from yesterday. I will fight my way into improving myself. I will become good. I can do this because I know who I am and what I care about.

You have to know who you are. Once you have it you will find the way to achieve it. I think the major disadvantage is not sex or weight, it is not knowing yourself. This is what makes us less resourceful, this is what makes us give up on things we try to achieve. I guess the question is “What do you really care about?”.

Every small thing

It was quiet at home. I was baking. Kids’ friends were coming over with their mom. My coffee got cold while I was working on the website. A small side project just for cash sake. I almost forgot about the coffee. I took the white cup and sipped the coffee while baking the cake. It was windy outside. The trees were making lots of noise. And quiet at home. The smell of the cake in the oven and the cold coffee.

I moved silently inside the apartment. I knew my steps and I did not make any noise. Smoothly. I always walked barefoot. My right foot hurt with every step. But even the pain was smooth and common. It did not bother me. It was soothing in a way.

This month was hard. I was stressed out and with a lot of pressure. Mostly financial. I woke up in the mornings before the alarm and could not fall back asleep. Just lay in the bed worrying. Every small thing that went wrong broke me down. My sunglasses broke. Those were cheap sunglasses from Spain, I always bought them cheap on purpose, if they break or I lose them it is ok. This time they broke and I cried. Every small thing made me cry. A comment, a knife that falls on the floor and breaks, spilled detergent…

It is hard to get through bad months alone. There is nobody at home who would hug you and tell you that you will make it. It is hard at work when you are the only founder. There is nobody in it with you. Nobody to cheer you up. Nobody to tell you that “we” will get through it.

I know I am strong. I know I will make it. I know who I am and I can depend on myself. It is extremely lonely and damaging too. Like walking with an injured foot and not noticing the pain. Loneliness is drinking cold coffee in the early afternoon. It is crying over broken sunglasses. It is standing next to the kitchen counter and being very quiet.