Friday night

Girl, I just threw up.
I then showered and am rushing to cozy up in warm stuff, because it seems to be making me feel better right now.
Vomiting is one of the worst things I have ever experienced in life. It is always nearly traumatic for me.
Omg r u okay ??
I think so. It just seemed to be the little bit of food I had after work…
And a boatload of air…
Weirdest version ever, but I’m glad it seems to be done.
I was crying so much…
It always crushes me on so many levels.
Like the world is coming to an end, and nobody loves me, and a drunk person just spilled some sticky, unidentifiable red cocktail all over me and my favorite vintage ivory dress, and didn’t even notice, and it doesn’t even matter, because the world is ending, but I can’t stop crying about it the most, somehow…
That’s my average experience whenever I throw up. 😂
And now, I simultaneously never want to eat again, and want some chicken soup…
What a night…
Post-a-day 2021

Healing

Someone said something very hurtful to me on Monday. This is someone who is very dear to me. I have been dealing physically with an inner virus the past couple weeks, so I have been exhausted and unable to sleep well; workouts have been annoyingly difficult, due to the fatigue; I almost sent myself to the ER the other weekend, for fear of what was happening inside my body one morning. Put simply, it has been a tough and rough couple or few weeks for me physically, and then emotionally due to the physical strains and struggles. When this person made the comment on Monday, I just couldn’t take it. I simply started crying and got up and went home. The next morning, when I mentally didn’t want to go to the gym, because I wasn’t ready emotionally to deal with that interaction, I found that it didn’t matter: I couldn’t walk, and so certainly couldn’t go to the gym.

By Thursday morning, I could walk with almost no twinges of pain at all, and so went for a run. It felt really, really good. By Thursday evening, however, my legs were starting to hurt, and not just in a sore muscle way. They were hurting in a twisted muscle sort of way. I have rubbed them intentionally and often since then, and they are doing quite well now, with only some tightness and discomfort in the right leg and hip remaining at present. But that meant that I did not go to the gym Friday either. I considered not going today, actually, but I had agreed that I would make up the pull-up cycle stuff I had missed Tuesday, and today was the only option for that. So, the plan was always to go today, no matter what.

And so, I went today for the weightlifting workout, and traded out certain parts for the specific pull-up cycle work from earlier in the week. By the end, my leg was feeling a touch better, which was a positive sign. But the knee and hip and thigh are totally still iffy, to say the least. (Essentially, it sometimes feels like my top and bottom halves of my leg aren’t connected anymore, and my knee will give out suddenly, as though my lower leg is breaking…, even though it isn’t. That’s just how it feels, somehow, and so walking gets really shaky, as well as standing up or squatting down or doing stairs up or down. My knee just sometimes gives out, and usually in an odd direction.)

Anyway, I got fully clear before going to the gym about where I stood and what I needed to say to be complete around what the person had said to me. Once I had started working, I was kind of on my own to the side of the gym – there were only a few of us in this particular class, but loads of people had been on the previous class, this person included. This person came over to me before leaving, and asked me about my not having given a greeting. (I hadn’t intentionally avoided it, but I also hadn’t sought it out.) I shared what I needed to share – how I don’t share much detail about my physical struggles, and so he couldn’t have known, but how his comment, which was joking yet quite judgmental, hit me very hard and painfully, especially since he is someone important to me and whom I trust, and that, because of my fatigue and exhaustion, I hadn’t been able to deal with it emotionally until now.

The whole interaction was really great. I cried almost immediately, yet still was doing my exercise. He caught himself about to give a BS non-apology, said that, and then said that he truly wants to apologize, and then did apologize. He also requested that I tell him if and when he is being an a**hole. I laughed, and told him that it very much had been a total a**hole of a comment and was definitely judgmental. We both laughed. I reminded him that I love him and am grateful to have him in my life, and not to make fun of my physical body problems, but he can definitely tease me about my phone (It’s smaller than most these days.).

I was extremely satisfied with the interaction, and had a bonus follow-up message from him later on the day, which boosted my tired spirits when I was at work in the late afternoon and early evening.

I’m still not at full energy – or much anywhere near it, really -, but I am doing much better now, in large part due to my rest this week physically. But that rest helped me deal with my emotional struggles, which then helps somewhat further physically. (It all really is connected.) I am grateful to be healing, and in all ways, albeit somewhat slowly. But I can feel and see the healing happening, and I am relieved and grateful.

Thank you, God and Cosmos.

Post-a-day 2021

Making music

I started writing another song last night. It was initially to help me organize and express some thoughts around the work situation within my life so far – how it isn’t exactly consistent in terms of title or finances, but it is always part of being my true self and being committed to making a positive difference in this world. But an unexpected line showed up right at the end of the session last night, and it was clearly part of the chorus. It was a line about listening to the angels around me. And it made sense, but seemed almost out of place for the content so far in the song…

Until today, that is. Today, for whatever reason, a deeper fullness arose for the song. My mom and I discussed the situation with my Opa, how he is dying, and how he might finish that process in the very near future. It is an uncomfortable thought, itself, but we both are ready to allow what needs to happen next in the situation. At least, as ready as we know how to be…

However, after she and I discussed their things for a while, and then got off the phone, I started working on the song again, as I had just begun before our phone call (I think I had, anyway). As I got reacquainted with what I’d written so far, I started feeling what ideas needed to come next. I was reminded of the encouragement my Opa had given me one day, and felt immediately that it was perfect to use for the song, as it expressed what I was wanting to express… and then the idea fleshed out a bit…, and, without realizing it, the song had a deeper meaning.

Not only am I listening to the angels around me, having them call me forward in life, but a new one has just joined them, and he has given me further encouragement to follow this path I am forging in my life. Every time I sang that part of the song, I could barely get words out by the middle of the verse, and had to stop altogether for the tears and emotion that arose. And I think the words communicate beautifully in the song, even without someone’s knowing the whole situation.

Anyway, I look forward to finishing that song, but, boy, is it going to be a tough one, emotionally speaking.

Post-a-day 2021

Volun-cheering

Today was awesome, yet stressful, but both in very good ways.

First, I had an awesome time volunteering with my gym at sunrise for the Bayou City Tri Series 2021 Sylvan Beach Paralympic Triathlon. We had the honor of physically and verbally assisting paratriathletes in their transitions, as they worked toward earning points to be part of Team USA. I think we all look forward to the next such opportunity – it was a blessing and a blast for us all. ❤🤗🙏 💪👊🏻

And it brought me to tears multiple times, it was such an honor to be a part of it all.

It also brought back memories of my many sports volunteering days, and had me wondering yet again if I don’t want to find actual work in that world, somehow… There was a lot that, unfortunately, had not been sorted out properly for the event as a whole – there were other races happening this morning, too. Our little crew took it upon ourselves just to go ahead and handle many of those things, making a tremendous difference for all athletes that were out there racing today. And I enjoyed doing even that stuff.

From there, after the sun was well over the horizon but not all that far up, I headed to a karate tournament that was nearby. It was my first one in roughly 18 years, and my first one ever in the adult division. I was absolutely nervous, but I had all day to get even more so, since my division wasn’t until mid-afternoon. But I had volunteered to take photos, and so I got to enjoy working with that throughout all the kids’ sparring all morning and midday.

I did take a good couple minutes at one point in a private room with myself to talk and make noise and jump and move, fully on my own. And I did give myself close to a minute to go ahead and experience all the pent-up emotion that had been building all day, just a short while before my category was going to be up. (Aka I cried brief tears of stress and anxiety, and let a lot go with them as they lightly tripped out of my eyes.)

I had someone record my match for me, and he did so well enough. It turns out that I actually did better than I had thought I’d done at the actual time of the match. After watching the matches of the adults at the end, the highest ranked individuals, I have been able to see styles of everyone, and how much comfort makes a difference in a match. When someone is comfortable, he or she almost always does very well. When someone is uncomfortable, he or she usually does not very well. That isn’t to say win versus lose – I mean doing well, sparring well, technique-ing well (both attack and defense). Yes, that usually also results in winning, if those are all done well. But it isn’t about winning to me these days, so much as it is about doing well. Winning when doing well, however, just adds to the fun and joy of it all.

I have some specifics on which I want to work – reacting with a point-earning move to being blocked, practicing different point-earning trio combinations, and backward spinning kicks (one would have created a beautiful point today, but I had neither confidence nor comfort in it, so didn’t even consider it – only the video afterward showed me the opportunity [I’d spun and everything, but didn’t even try to hit her with the foot]). Now, just to find the partner to work with me, and the place to do it.

Oh, and this was one of the very few times that I 1)didn’t lose a match at a tournament, and 2)didn’t cry after the match. Good start in my eyes, even just for those two facts! ;P

So, yeah… today was a really great-for-me day, all of its stresses included.

Post-a-day 2021

Ouch…

But seriously, who invented all the nonsense that goes alongside menstruation? Utter nonsense… ::facepalm

Anyway, this weekend, I saw the wife of someone I know. Though I had seen the husband many, many times, I had not seen the wife until this Saturday.

When I first saw her, it took a few moments to process fully what I was seeing. Then it took another few moments to allow for my initial reactions. And another few to crave indulging in them. And a final few to allow them just to be, and then, therefore, to release. Rather than being upset by what I saw, I knew I could have it be a positive experience – even if it took some effort.

“Body goals,” I told myself, letting it fall heavily from my lips, the initial sigh thereby dispersed. Music was playing loudly at the gym, so I had no overhearing ears. I really only could feel the words vibrate through my body, as it wasn’t loud enough for my own ears to hear over the music.

But I felt it… and in more ways than one.

After that, I kept going back and forth between awe at how amazing she was physically, and wanting to break down crying at how far away I am from that right now.

I knew pitying myself was neither necessary nor valuable, so I always let that one go. But that didn’t stop it from co to hint to pop up at intervals throughout the whole day afterward, and even the following day somewhat.

As a friend reminded me later, the wife probably wasn’t like that when they got married, and it probably took her years to get to that point. Same for the husband. (Though, he was always less intimidating or whatever, because he’s male, I suppose.) It wasn’t an overnight process for either of them, and they probably weren’t already like that when they first met one another or even got married.

That idea gives me hope… that I can find someone who is fit beautifully already and who values my own work thus far, but who will continue to grow with me and thereby support and empower me o to further-enhanced fitness throughout our future. I would continue this same road, but no longer on my own. I’d have a true partner in crime for it all. (So to speak, that is… haha)

Anyway,… there’s that ouch and the menstruation and resulting digestion ouch, and the utter exhaustion that they and all the other stress have brought for this evening.

Alas, I shall now go sleep… with an alarm every two-ish hours, of course, to use the bathroom. ::facepalm I swear…, whoever made up this nonsense must have been severely out of his wits at the time… Man

Post-a-day 2021

Back on the log*

I stayed in bed – with possibly six bathroom breaks (number one only) – from 7:45pm to about 6:45am this morning. My sleep was fitful. I did my feel entirely rested when I got up. However, my bowels functioned somewhat normally, and without any pains, and that was a total win.

I still felt slow, my lower belly and lower right edge were still uncomfortable (but not in pain), and I was somehow a bit clumsy, but I felt significantly improved overall. It still took effort to talk, but a whole lot more came out, whenever I did attempt speaking, and much sooner than it had taken every time yesterday. My mom noticed that part immediately when we finally spoke later in the morning.

I wasn’t sure how the day would progress, and was worried I might have to be home and, possibly, in bed most of the day. By nine o’clock, I had determined that I likely would go in to work. It was only for three hours today, and the prospect of being at home all alone, especially with the discomfort and all, was not a delightful one. So, I took a fitful nap, after eating some, and then got up and went in. I was slow-moving still, with a light sensation of my guts being as of yet undetermined as to when they might escape my body and in which direction they might choose to do that escape.

I adjusted after a little while to being able to talk to people quite normally, and eventually was at almost full normalcy on that front. I was able to walk around a bit faster near the end, and even jogged back inside, when I discovered that I’d left my smoothie near-dregs in the fridge. That surprised me, even.

I did my grocery shopping, and headed home to change. Since late morning, I had been messaging a buddy from the gym about running together this afternoon/evening. He hadn’t replied to my inquiry yesterday (about running today), and I knew he probably had been out drinking.

Turns out that he had arrived home around 3:30am last night/this morning. I told him that 13+ hours was plenty of recovery time, and that, though he claimed he felt like he was dying, I had almost ended up in Urgent Care, and so he and I could die together – it would be better to die in good company than all alone, after all.

He allowed that we could make it work, assuming he didn’t feel quite so terrible by the evening. We agreed that we would be in touch after I finished grocery shopping in the afternoon.

By the time, however, that he responded to my messages in the afternoon, he told me that he was out drinking… right then. Can we get a facepalm, please?? ;P

I considered running to the bar to meet him, partly for getting back at him for leaving me hanging, and partly for my desire not to be left alone with whatever was going on in my belly. It was gorgeous outside, and I knew it was an outdoor patio kind of place, only a 5k from my house. However, he was actually doing some one-on-one time with a friend from out of town, and so I did not do that.

(Okay, but when was he planning to run with me, if he had the friend in all weekend, anyway?? Either he’s a sneaky liar or wasn’t thinking, I dare say.)

And so, I went running in my own. What had intended to be a short little run, maybe two miles at most (plus a .05 as stretch beyond the goal), and at a slower, we-are-ill pace, turned out to be a full-on ladder run – with the 10lb vest, recall – that ended up being the third-fastest 5k I have ever done. Period. That means without any weighted vest for those fastest times. And I did my third-fastest with a 10lb vest on me, wondering the whole time if I might hurl or just sh** my pants at any given moment.

That is some other-world Goggins stuff right there.* Nearly end up in a hospital in the morning, have a panic attack, work out late morning, nearly fall apart trying to work in the afternoon, so go home and get ready for bed at 4:45pm. Sleep forever, wake up still sick, go to work again anyway, and then do one of the hardest and most successful runs of my life, considering if and when I might need to crap or vomit on the side of the road somewhere. (I actually did come very close to vomiting right after I set out!)

So, yeah… what a day…

*If you don’t get the references, read David Goggins’s book, Can’t Hurt Me.

Post-a-day 2021

Oh, snap…

6:40am: Wake up groggily, in need of a bathroom. I have slept in by over two and a half hours, and my body is demanding that I get up to relieve it, at last. I do.

As I re-ascend, a flea lands on my ankle. I grab it immediately, destroy it, and flush it down the sink. This cycle repeats itself once more, but this time with the bug landing on my shin. I head downstairs a get plates and tea lights, set up the traps in a few spots, hoping to nab anything left while it is still somewhat dark outside, and pour the soapy water and light the candles.

As I am just about to head upstairs to my bed – for I had not felt as though I had slept eight hours, and felt a real need for more – , a pain strikes my lower belly. Oh, no… digestion problem, I think, rushing back to the bathroom. Everything had gone as usual in the bathroom initially, but my father’s (and my maternal grandfather’s) GI tract genes had been passed down to me, so it is somewhat always a toss-up as to whether by bowels will be normal or ridiculously sensitive.

Back in the bathroom, I find that nothing is interested in moving – it feels as though there is nothing to depart from my body, even. And yet, I am suddenly crying out in pain, it has become so intense. But nothing seems to be happening inside me. Just pain exists, increasing to a point I have never known. I have had success pains before, but they typically end within a minute, as things readjust inside me, and then I am fine.

But this is somehow different.

The cries of pain continue to escape my lips, shocking my more and more. What is happening?

There is a chance it could be the appendix. The position of the point of the most pain is appropriate. But I’d need a second opinion to be sure. Perhaps I would do best to call my mom and ask her, since I know that she knows. The cries and the pain continue and increase, as the phone calls.

Straight to voicemail. I call again, in case it is merely Do Not Disturb. Voicemail immediately. She’s still asleep. I could call the house, but only if absolutely necessary, as it would wake more than just her. Wait on that.

Thinking is growing fuzzy. As I begin to get up from the toilet, my ears lose full hearing, filling partly with a fuzzy, humming noise. My vision is shaking. I might be about to pass out.

I rush to wash my hands, and rinse some cool water on the back of my neck. It helps briefly and barely. I need water. But my bottle is upstairs. If something goes wrong, I need to be downstairs. There’s a cold bottle in the fridge, I recall.

I bolt in a slow stumble down the stairs to the kitchen, and open the fridge, shakily. I manage to pull out the water and drink some, then hold it against the back of my neck.

But I cannot hold it there. Before I really know how it has happened, I find myself on my hands and knees, my head laying inside the fridge, my breathing heavy and intense.

I just feel so hot.

And I hadn’t five minutes ago.

Something is definitely wrong.

I call my brother. He does not answer. I call the house for my mom twice, but it just keeps ringing both times. Some emergency contacts, I think, somewhere far back in my brain.

I might hurl, I realize. But I might just need a bowel release. Either way, I need to get back to the bathroom.

Because I always put things away, I put the water away in the fridge, though something inside tells me too weakly to bring it with me. Too hard to hold.

I crawl back up the stairs, so hot, out of breath, the pain only increasing in my lower belly, just above my pelvic floor, especially on the right side.

I make it to the bathroom. Nothing is moving in my bowels, nothing wants to exit. As I have been contemplating where to seek emergency medical care, should I need it – though, I had wanted a second opinion on that, this the phone calls – I am now faced fully with making the decision myself. But I know I cannot see well enough or function well enough to find the directions to the right place on my phone. Urgent Care, not ER, but I have never been there, so I’m not certain we’re it is; just that it is near.

First that, then see if I can drive… or even make it to the car.

I have been very near passing out this past several minutes, I know I need someone else to know of my situation, to help if I do pass out.

I call a friend on EDT, knowing she would be awake by 8:20am, even if it is a Saturday. She answers.

But I find that I cannot speak.

I manage a greeting of some sort, I believe, but then just continue breathing heavily, crying tears of pain and confusion and frustration. I know she will remain calm and evaluate properly, but I need to communicate what is happening.

My arms have gone completely tingly, shoulders to fingertips. When did that happen?

With much struggle and murkiness, I finally manage to say what is happening. I am only in underwear at this point. My shirt was wrenched off in the bathroom when the heat first began – I had thought that I only was overheating somewhat, but my skin was completely soaked with sweat once I’d slid off my shirt.

She first tells me that her husband (hems a doctor, but not the first reason I was calling her) is not with her right now, but then immediately tells me that I might be having a panic attack – BREATHE. At this point, I am lying face-down on the floor, my cheek just hanging over the first stair step. My left hand clenches a soaked paper towel… soaked with what? Tears, snot, sweat…, probably all of them, but I cannot quite remember how it even got to my hand. My right hand is pressed into my lower right belly, at the point of the most pain.

Staring at the phone – on speaker – on the floor next to me, I focus on calming my breathing, deepening each stroke. I am still terrified, but I already feel immensely better emotionally, now that someone is here with me. That helps my breathing ease better.

We laugh at her comment on how I should probably be talking to an actual doctor, not someone searching on WebMD. My face is soaked and my body hurts, my arms still tingling, but my hearing has been restored and I can see clearly, though my processing is still slow – it takes real effort to make the words come out. But I tell her that, if we determine I need to go to see a real doctor, I first need to make it upstairs to put on clothes. We laugh at the prospect of my showing up in my car in just a pair of underwear, and I wonder if I would end up with a ticket afterward for indecent exposure…. and yet an ambulance would have taken me in just my underwear, and that would have made their jobs even easier.

I marvel somewhere in the back at how I can even have such thoughts right now, but can barely manage to mutter a single simple sentence aloud.

I tell her that, even if it just turns out to be digestion issues, I am totally okay with that. I’m still glad I was able to get ahold of her. I’d actually rather not have it go that way if I ended up at Urgent Care, however. Not cool. She is giving me options of what might be wrong, assessing my specifics on the pain locations.

Nothing quite lines up as well as the facts that 1)I am near beginning menstruation, and 2)I have bad bowel genes. I ate brisket yesterday, which I do not usually do, but everything else was rather normal in my food.

As we sit on the phone, the pain slowly begins to ebb away, bit by bit. I ask her to stay with me, and she agrees with a firmness that she had already planned on that.

After an hour, I finally have been able to roll to my right side, and curl up in a ball for a bit, and then lie on my back, knees up. The pain has finally begun shifting around slightly, no longer covering such a great area within my body, but it has shifted partly, though gently, to the tender area just above the pelvic bone and in front of the uterus. It is relaxing its grip, nonetheless. I make it to my hands and knees. My arms are only barely tingling.

I need water. I had wanted some already, and had laughed as I’d told her that my brain felt like she could get it for me, because she was here with me now… that fogginess hadn’t been able to sort out the different between digital and physical presence, obviously. But so, I have finally made it to my hands and knees. After staying there a while longer, I finally make it shakily to my feet, and then head downstairs. Perhaps I should eat food, too.

I have some calm, dry food, after I gulp some more water, and she tells me she’ll check in again later.

It is almost 9:00 now. I use the bathroom once more – no BM or gas, of course – and head upstairs to rest briefly. For some reason, I have it in my head that I still need to go to the gym. I had already canceled the 9:00am cardio class, knowing that was neither an option nor a good idea. Not paying that no-show fee. But the 10:00 class is just calm weights, and part of that was something I had missed Monday and had been waiting to make up all week.

I couldn’t miss it… but that had been a thought I’d had before the morning’s insanity. However, my brain was still so murky that it was not able to notice that fully. It just knew that I had to go to 10:00. And that I had convinced someone to go with me, and had helped that person sign up for the class this morning… while I was lying on the floor in the hallway, shaking still…

(I know, right?)

And so, after a brief nap, I did go. Before we began, one of the guys asked about my morning so far – I think – and so I told him a brief summary.

‘And you’re still here?!’

My brain hadn’t even considered that yet. Life goes on, was all it could think, and so it had had me continue onward in my day.

It was still very difficult to talk, to make my body out forth the effort of creating and spitting out words, more than just a few at a time. But, once we got to work on our training, I didn’t really need words – not more than a few every so often – and so life felt somewhat normal. I was sleepy, exactly, but my brain felt something like sleepy, and my body was definitely tired. I had the wherewithal to take it all easy, but not to consider that I maybe should just go to bed or something.

I think I really wanted to be with people for a while. And whatever was wrong with me seemed utterly unlikely to be contagious. I’d even checked my temperature, and it was quite low. No elevation whatsoever. And I don’t feel that kind of sick, anyway. I just felt cloudy and a bit weak on endurance.

And I was. But I got through all that I’d determined to do for today’s workout, and I felt much improved by the end of it. Though, no longer having a specific, repetitive task in front of me, it was a struggle to walk to the car to get myself home. I stopped for bananas on the way, knowing I would want smoothies today and tomorrow, and feeling a call toward eating a banana, anyway.

I managed to make food and eat it, and drink some smoothie, and then shower and nap for a while before having to head to work. When I got in, I found that I couldn’t talk. Not quickly, anyway. If someone greeted me, I could only smile, and then wonder how speech worked, feeling mentally my throat and mouth. I set down my stuff, and acknowledged that maybe I couldn’t do this work today, despite my efforts to show up. My belly had begun aching again, but I wasn’t sure when. Every time I considered genuinely talking, my eyes started to burn.

I went a spoke to the supervisor. She reminded me what the store actually does, that they’ve been short workers before, and that it is significantly more important that I take care of my own health and well-being than suffer through helping there. They absolutely would make it without me, if I needed to go home. And the fact that I had shown up in the first place spoke volumes to my dedication. No, there were no negative repercussions for me, if I determined that I needed to go home right now. Think about it, she told me, and let her know. I had been crying from the moment I’d started telling her what had happened.

After a few minutes sitting there, chatting – well, sort of – with another coworker who had been in the room with us, I noticed that I was hunching forward. When I stood up, I could not stand up straight. The pain was too strong, and I was too weak.

I was going home.

Now, it is just after 6:30pm. I am lying uncomfortably in bed, that lower right spot gently twisting again. The aim is to sleep. The goal is to awaken healed tomorrow. We shall see what happens.

Post-a-day 2021

Karate

In the weapons practice tonight, we were doing defense for knife attacks. I discovered that I am not cut out to be a knife attacker. However, I am totally capable of the defense. 😂

We were using washable markers, so as to see where exactly we were ‘cut’, so that we could evaluate the degree of success of our maneuvers. The only two times I had more than a gentle little graze were both when I was the attacker. She got me good once and decently the other time.

However, when I was defending myself, I was a bit of a beast, even against the teacher. Perhaps it is just real enough for me, that the only reason the person attacking me doesn’t end up on the ground, is because I continuously remind myself not to hurt but to disable only – there were far too many occasions where my instincts were ready genuinely to kick out knees and knock a person to the ground…

I think I want to bring back sock wrestling in the near future. My brain could use the tactical efforts combined with genuine physical efforts, all under the shelf of knowing not actually to hurt the other person. In the defense practice, it is difficult not to hurt the person attacking me, because that is the training realm for my brain: attacker here, so destroy!!! In sick wrestling, I’m not caught off guard and am not merely defending myself – I am also attacking and strategizing to last and to win, without the idea of threat to my actual safety.

Anyway, yeah… it was a good night at karate. We sparred again, too, and I was the sample to go against all the kids by the end. But I also got to spar the other instructor first. He and I both knew that I got some really, really good hits on him, but that they were unseen by the two judges. So, he won the three points first by their eyes, but he and I both knew that that wasn’t really the case. I was honored to have tied and to receive his compliments via surprised awe afterward. It was really cool, actually.

I think that might have been the first time that I didn’t win a match but didn’t cry… it didn’t even show up as a possibility for me… I am genuinely only just now realizing it… and that is very cool.

Post-a-day 2021

Gym

Remember how I mentioned that Katy Perry song last night, “Teenage Dream”? Well, guess what song played at the gym this morning! It was so fun to have that happen, especially considering how that song does not usually play at the gym – nothing of its genre, even. So, that was a delightful start to the day for me.

However, speaking of the gym, I totally cried during the workout today. We were doing these deltoid press-downs with stretchy bands looped over the pull-up bars. I had attempted my left arm first. I always ask which muscles are managing movements (if I am not already sure), so that I can do the movement correctly and at all. (I’ve definitely been unable to do something simply because I was using, say, my arm muscles, when it should have been shoulder and back muscles, and then it totally worked when I got the right muscle group going.)

But something just didn’t click for me this morning – I couldn’t make the band go down. As soon as I hit the point of the band’s genuine resistance, I just could not make it go any farther. And yet, that was hardly half the distance to my body. I looked around, and saw everyone else doing it with somewhat ease. I took a step closer to the bar, to lessen the tension on the band. And then another. And I still couldn’t get my arm all the way down to my body, as we were supposed to be doing – as everyone else was doing. I was bordering on tears… from embarrassment, perhaps? I was also quite low on my sleep from the past couple nights – nightmares had plagued Sunday night, giving me minimal rest then, and last night hadn’t been much more restful, though the nightmares had mostly all gone.

The coach saw me and told me to move away from the bar. I moved a bit, and he said with more emphasis and volume for me to move, suggesting that I needed to take a huge step away. And I did, but I was beginning to panic. It is not a comfortable feeling when the body does not do as we wish it to do for something that it, by all means, ought to be able to do. Nor is it comfortable to feel oneself beginning to cry over such a simple little movement in a gym workout.

But I reminded myself that I was behind on sleep, which always seems to affect my ability to remain calm and not crying in situations. And so, I struggled and mostly failed, and then switched to the right arm, just to see if it would be any different. The band went right down. It was easy like how I had seen everyone else doing it… So something is wrong with my left side, I thought. Even more stress.

I moved on to the other activity for that round, and aimed to take a mental breather from the fact that I was supposed to do that four more rounds, and yet I hadn’t even been able to do it one time out of the 20 repetitions with my left side.

When I returned for the start of my second round, I tried again, aiming truly to figure out if there were a way that I could do it, despite my body’s not being able to do it fully as intended. A modification would be fine, if I could find one. The coach saw me again, standing too close to the bar as I attempting the modification. The earlier process had repeated, and the taunting tears from before no longer taunted, but fell forth. He was immediately in front of me, standing very close, talking calmly and gently to me, asking me what was going on, what was happening in that moment. I told him that – after a solid ten seconds of being unable to speak, for my tears – I was frustrated because I couldn’t do it. He evaluated, looking to the bar where I was, and the bar I had used the first round. This one was higher, which increased the tension, he pointed out. And I said I hadn’t been able to do it before either. The bands, too, were new, and so were harder to use than the ones we had had until recently. I told him that it was just my left side that I just couldn’t seem to make do the movement. He aligned everything for me, adjusting exactly the angle of my arm and elbow, and altering my handhold to decrease resistance.

And then I did it. I was still crying and, even, shaking, somewhat, but now there was relief in my tears, not merely stress and embarrassment. And I did it again. And I kept going. I nodded, making it clear that I was okay to continue on my own now. Before he walked away, he said to me, “You don’t need to be frustrated. You’re doing f***ing pull-ups,” and it made me laugh through my tears. He was right, after all. I was crying from stress at a tiny movement that I hadn’t been able to do, thinking I was too weak – I could do it, now that he had helped me figure it out, so it hadn’t been that I was too weak at all. And yet, after the workout today, I did three pull-ups, and attempted a fourth five or so times (making it about 90-95% of the way up each time on that fourth), wanting to get in one more than I had done after yesterday’s workout. I most certainly was not too weak.

I took one deep breathe, let it go, and I was breathing fully and easily again. I’m sure my face and eyes were still rather cry-looking for a while after that, but everyone was busy working, so I doubt anyone else even noticed. By the time I started the next round, which I was able to do with ease – relative ease, that it, as it was still hard work, but I could do that hard work now – I was fully calm and focused. While doing my left side, the coach caught my eye from across the room and gave me a visual clapping with his hands (because it was meant to be seen and not heard – there was loud music playing, after all).

I smiled sheepishly, but with immense gratitude. He is always there to encourage us to push ourselves beyond mental barriers (But he is extremely careful to keep us always safe, especially regarding physical abilities. Once, he told me, after I had cried at some back squats, never to do something that actually scared me or made me uncomfortable, where I didn’t feel safe doing it. He wants us safe, but not lazy cowards. That’s why he pushes us.), but, if ever his push of encouragement does not land as intended, he is at our side to help us how specifically we need in that moment. There was no hesitation when I started crying this morning – he saw that something was not okay for me, and his full focus was on helping me clear up whatever it was. And he did exactly that. And today was just one of the many reasons that I love this gym and its owner (today’s coach). Both because of the ridiculous song choices for the morning and for his clear love and care for me when I hit a roadblock.

Post-a-day 2021

A year ago

A year ago today, I was still on the high that arose from the musical on which my mom had been working and with which I had been helping. It is a glorious musical, and it was brand new. Its opening night never even happened, as they had to cancel everything after the dress rehearsals. It was, nonetheless, a lovely show with wonderful music and some stellar cast members and voices. One in particular actually made me cry several times – and I have a hunch that it would do it again, if I were to hear it sing those certain songs today – and two others were absurdly lovely and inspirational. The show came to mind the other day, and I pulled out my music notes for it today, and I sat on my front porch swing, playing through and singing some of the songs… just like I was doing a year ago, possibly on this exact date.

And I didn’t even plan it.

Kind of cool, huh?

And simultaneously quite sad, considering it might as well be a year ago right now regarding the show. At least then, there were prospects of eventually having an opening night, possibly later in the year. Now, it seems far too uncertain as to whether the show even will happen again, and most certainly not with the same cast, and not necessarily even in Houston. Man…

Well, with that, I go to bed. Goodnight, folks. May we all have lovely nights to follow my lovely day. 😉

Post-a-day 2021

^Not too hard