When I was a young kid, I loved to wrestle my dad. We’d clear the living room floor–push back two club chairs, ottomans and side tables to create space for our match. I valued the intense physical challenge of body v. body, especially knowing I was the underdog.
Small but mighty, I’d tell myself.
The match would start with me taking the top position. I’d wrap my right arm as far as I could around Dad’s torso and then grab his left wrist with my left hand.
Dad took it easy on me at first, letting me wiggle out of a few holds and twist free from some tight grips, but eventually, his weight and size advantage were unescapable, and the match would end with a pin for a count of three.
“Can we wrestle again?” I’d beg.
“Someone is going to get hurt,” Mom warned. And she was usually right. The final match would end with me in tears, a bruised pride, frustrated by my limitations. A tough lesson to learn for a stubborn and tenacious young girl.
Neither my mom nor dad ever acted like a father-daughter wrestling match was anything other than normal. I grew up thinking that all girls wrestle their dads for real, raspberry rug burns and all. Little did I know then, that wrestling someone bigger and stronger in a safe and loving space would prepare me to battle much tougher matches in my future.