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There is a dark side to every moon. Aikido has always been my light, but lately it has built stones around me to create a well, and I am trapped at the bottom, looking up toward a pinprick circle of hope. The cold stone walls are wide and slippery, and I lack the strength to climb out.
I am chest-deep in ocean waters, trying to understand the finer details of techniques one at a time, but the corrections and critiques come too quickly, like currents of irimi-nage waves that wash over my head, riptides pulling me out to drown.
I am a little girl alone in the big, bad woods, bright red cape billowing behind me as I race against the wind. The woods are dark and deep, and I stand out to the creatures that hide there because I do not blend. I do not own the night. I know where I want to go, but never has it been harder to get there. Silver moonlight filters weakly through the stark tree branches, casting jagged shadows along my path.