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The Week in Review: A Good Ribbing

Sunday, November 06, 2011

My first week of November didn't start out the smoothest, starting with a couple of blows to my confidence. Part of it was my fault, part of it was beyond my control. The good news is, I now know the difference (usually) between when I am the one messing up and when life is messing with me. I used to slam myself for every misstep, berating every mistake. I punished myself with food, although I called it comfort at the time. I have gone from having the attitude of, "Lose weight, you disgusting jerk," to "Live healthfully because you deserve a full life." The latter attitude was challenged this week, though, and I binged twice later in the week. Actually, yesterday ended up being a whole day of overeating. I guess the upside was that it was social overeating and not me hiding in my house stuffing myself, but still...not happy about it. However, I looked through my blogs to see the last time I had a couple of days of eating like that was in the beginning of September. At least the frequency of that pattern of overeating has decreased significantly.

I also had my annual check-up this week with a new doctor. I had seen her once before for an office visit and thought she was awesome, so she is going to be my primary doctor now. She commended my 45 pound weight loss, and for doing it in a healthy manner. I have to say, although I am not doing this for anyone else, it is nice to be commended by a health care provider. They should be more pleased than anyone about weight loss. I also liked her because while she acknowledged that I am obese (although officially no longer morbidly obese, as she pointed out), she knows that overall I am pretty healthy. If I had to find a positive aspect to the week, it would have been my check-up when I was commended for my healthy lifestyle.

I had gotten injured in Muay Thai on Monday, so I got myself psyched up for Jiu Jitsu and Muay Thai on Wednesday. The moment we started our warm-up in Jiu Jitsu, I knew I was going to have problems. I was very klutzy on Monday, and while I was doing a take-down, my ribcage landed on my partner's knee. It only hurt temporarily and didn't seem like it would be any worse than the typical hit I would take, so I got back up and kept going. It wasn't until I started moving around on Wednesday that it really bothered me. I focused a lot on guarding my ribs, and therefore I sucked even more than usual at Jiu Jitsu. I made it through both Jiu Jitsu and Muay Thai (luckily Eric gave us an easier circuit workout--I wasn't the only one sore that day) and then iced my ribs. As much as I didn't want to miss training, I acknowledged that I had to let this heal. I figured it would be better within a few days.

On Monday, I should have told Eric that I didn't think I could do the Muay Boran moves he was showing us. I should have asked to do something else so that I didn't get injured. I was too stubborn, though, and tried the moves anyways. I took it easy on the exercise after Wednesday, but it didn't seem to matter--my rib pain has actually gotten much worse. I can't lay on my left side and a lot of upper body movements hurt. It hurts to cough, sneeze, and laugh. Now I'm pretty sure I actually have a fracture. Apparently bruised ribs can be very painful, too. Either way, I think I'm out of my MMA training for at least a month while allowing this to heal. And yes, I am aware of the complications that can occur with a broken rib and am going to have my mother (E.R. nurse) take a look to be on the safe side. It does not actually hurt to breathe and I can still move freely until I torque my torso the wrong way. Since the only treatment for either a bruised or broken rib is rest, there isn't much point in rushing in for an x-ray.

I have also been considering stopping my saxophone lessons. It isn't that I don't want to play, I just feel like I'm not advancing as I "should" be. My saxophone teacher Jeff is a very intense person, which is part of the reason he has been such a force of change. I admit to feeling a little intimidated by his manner, although he is a gentle person. On Tuesday, as I fumbled through my pieces, I could see disappointment in his face. All I could say to myself was, "Don't cry...don't...cry." I left vowing to practice more this week.

I don't think I am going to quit; I know I'm probably just being harsh on myself. I have practiced, and some days I sound good, and others I sound like crap. Today I started crying from frustration. But I had to ask myself, is it really the saxophone, or something else? On Thursday I got talked to at my work about my conduct, as I blogged about on that day. I hate my job. Hate. It. I'm bored, I'm tired of the B.S. and the unreliable/undependable hours. After my "supervisor" called me and asked for me to come in early, I practiced my saxophone. I was elated at the thought of being fired. My playing was light and airy, playful and easy. I realized that it isn't my saxophone, it's me. It's my job. How can I make music that sounds soulful when my soul feels oppressed by my job? It isn't my saxophone that is making fumbling, stuffy, non-musical sounds, it's my emotions.

I have realized several things about my job:

1) I will never advance at my company because I won't play their games, kiss ass, or tattle on co-workers for petty things.

2) My co-workers will treat me more and more like an outcast due to the factors listed above and I will continue to be bullied, with no recourse from managers.

3) I am probably going to get fired eventually due to the above 2 reasons.

For the first time ever, I cried just by thinking about having to go to work. I really wanted to walk in on Thursday and get some sort of final warning, which is always followed by a prompt firing at my work. Nope, it was just more B.S. to put in my record so they don't feel the need to give me decent raises. I am tearing up right now thinking about working today. I hadn't realized until this week how much my toxic (pun intended) job is affecting my very being. It makes me feel as though I don't have any control over my life. Part of me feels like just when everything starts to fall into place and starts going really well, something happens in an instant to conspire to change things. A tiny misstep has taken me out of my martial arts training for weeks, and I am deeply disappointed. I know that ultimately that only I can sabotage myself. But I've also finally deeply acknowledged that my life can't truly fall into place while I am in my current job, because it is too draining. I have applied for another job with our direct competitor which would have several advantages, including being closer to my house. If nothing else, it would be a fresh start.

This week had a series of missteps that have changed my directions in a few ways, some for the better and some for the worse. I am going to try to watch my step a little more closely from now on. Perhaps the missteps don't take me where I had planned to go, but are meant to steer me in another direction towards where I want to be.

“When obstacles arise, you change your direction to reach your goal; you do not change your decision to get there.”
¯ Zig Ziglar

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

GEMINIAN1 11/12/2011 9:05PM

    I hope that you're ribs are feeling better and better every day.
I've never had anything happen to my ribs; but, man, that has got to stink. I can't imagine.
Does it hurt to breath?
I feel for you big time.
Wait a second, I just realized, this Blog was 6 days ago!
Are you healed?

Office Politics are the worst.
Although I can't relate to the rib pain, I so *can* relate to Office Drama.
I really hope that something changes in that area of your life.
If it's a new job, or a change at your current one.
Somethings got to give.

"Part of me feels like just when everything starts to fall into place and starts going really well, something happens in an instant to conspire to change things."
I know what you mean. Why does it work like that?!?!

My thoughts are with you Erin and I *really* hope that you're doing good.
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MEWHENRYSMAMA 11/8/2011 12:28AM

    You do an amazing job at looking at yourself and your life with objectivity and insight. It is really commendable! I so hope you get a new job and have a fresh start and less stressful work environment. I remember to well being in a situation that caused me tears and it clouds ones entire life! Take care, my friend, you are doing a great job of attaining a healthy lifestyle!

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EMRANA 11/7/2011 8:52PM


I'm so sorry you're going through this work stuff ~ but you know what, you're worth way more than accepting being fired for political BS. You submitted that other resume and I know you're currently pondering working at home, but whatever happens, you're worth being able to have a good environment without the negativity of being fired.

Take care of your physical injuries too. Come here when you need to vent ~ we love you!


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    Good luck with future prospects. You already read my comment on your previous post about looking for another job... use that time usually spent in martial arts classes scoping out a new job!

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CANNIE50 11/7/2011 7:51PM

    Oh, Erin, I am sorry to hear life is "suckish" right now. Okay, life in general is not, just a couple great big areas of your life. I just noticed your status that they offered to let you work from home. I am wondering if you have heard back from the competitor? Either way, you certainly sound clear that things cannot continue in the status quo. You deserve SO much better. I will look forward to reading your next blog and hearing about which direction you will be taking. PS Thank you for the goodie - I appreciate your kindness. I have to say, I feel like I am on the upswing. Food & mood continue to be a bit of a struggle but not so difficult as last week. I am backing off a little bit on exercise, but doing something every single day. A friend came over today, with her beautiful baby, and we went for a hike and then she helped me clean my house (we take turns at each other's houses every week, it's great), and I got to cuddle the baby. Amazing how much each of those things lifted my spirits. I am hoping your spirits get lifted by many things, very soon.

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CRABADA 11/7/2011 2:29PM

    One of my favorite quotes is, "At the moment of commitment, the universe conspires to assist you." (It's a paraphrase of Goethe.) Sometimes you just have to commit to a change and trust that the universe will help everything fall into place.

I have been in your situation with work - wanting to call in sick literally every day, feeling a weight on my shoulders that never let up. When I finally decided that I was going to leave, my whole outlook changed and things were bearable.

As for your exercise program, are there things you can do that won't further injure your rib? Workouts you can do at your gym that don't include contact with the other people in your classes? I bring it up only because it's so obvious you love it there, and removing that place and those people from your life for a month of healing time may be too isolating. Especially when work isn't a social outlet. Just something to think about.

Hang in there!
:) Courtney

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FRAN0426 11/7/2011 12:50PM

    Looking for another job sounds like the answer, glad your doing so with out quiting the job you have---it still brings in the money for living. As for the saxaphone, definately cobtinue if it gives you and outlet for you to enjoy---just maybe slow down a bit if the prsent job is making it tougher to play it well. Now for the injury, take this as a warning that not everything others want us to try is best for us, chalk it up to expereance, and in the future only do what you know your body lets you do, if you think it is an accident waiting to happen---refrain, after all your the one paying for the lessons, be kind to your body.

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DDOORN 11/7/2011 12:05PM

    SO sorry to hear about the work situation...! Petty stuff like this should not drive good employees away...and management OUGHT to take a hard look at this, but most times they don't.

Hang in there, keep your eyes / ears open for opportunities to Vote With Your Feet...! Good book to re-evaluate your career: What Color is Your Parachute, Richard Bolles.


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BECKY3774 11/7/2011 6:30AM

    About work....I feel for you. That is EXACTLY what happened with my last job before I went back to being a nanny. I got written up because of other tattlers, which only meant no raise for me. The funny thing is that I did my job better and worked way harder than the person that did the tattling. So in the end they were left with her. I'd like to think that they realized their mistake, but really, their loss was MY gain. I have a job now that supports me better and where I get more freedom to be MYSELF. I wish that for you.

As for the saxophone, never quit doing what you love. If you take away all that you love, you're left with nothing. You are worth more than that. Rest up those ribs and get yourself back emoticon

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1HAPPYWOMAN 11/7/2011 1:44AM

    So sorry you're hurting, darling Erin.

It sounds like you're on the cusp of some really big changes -- usually a tense and even painful place to be, but ultimately very liberating. Thanks for yet another beautifully written blog. I love reading about your life and your insights, even though my heart aches for you during this tough time....

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    I know what it's like to be so upset to go into work because of a coworker. I used to cry on my walk there. I'd call my parents to talk about it before I walked in the door. I was truly miserable. It wasn't the job, it was the environment. I agree that you don't want to tattle on people.

I'm so glad to hear that you are exploring other employment options. It seems like the best choice. Let's be honest, most people spend more time at work than they do at home. So, you have to (at the minimum) not dread walking in the door. I know that jobs are hard to come by and money is a huge factor.

You are educated and (from what I've learned about you on SP) you are a great person. I'm also in the situation of looking for a job; and I know how frustrating it can be. I do like the website It's a little different than the typical career builder or monster websites. It's worth looking into.

Best wishes with everything! I'm sure it will all work out in the end! Keep your head up!

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APIRLRAIN888 11/6/2011 11:31PM

    Hugs ;) don't quit saxophone sometimes we are just hard on ourselves my DD cries on the piano every day! But she is improving like crazy and I don't force her

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Dammit, I didn't get fired.

Thursday, November 03, 2011

Yeah. So this week is not getting a whole lot better. That's right, it's another whiny-ass blog.

I have a rib injury and can't go to MMA training the next 2 days, and I've just been displeased in general this week. So when I got a call from my "supervisor" earlier this afternoon asking me to come in for a meeting, I was less than thrilled. She asked me to come in at 4:00, an hour before my shift. I gave her a very a "Office Space" answer of, "No, I don't think that will work."

"How about 4:30?"

"I guess I'll see what I can do."

She seemed surprised that my response wasn't, "Of course! I have no life outside of my job, and I'll drop everything to come in and make my day longer than it already is! Cool!" I sincerely believe that if my employer needs to speak to me, they should do it during my shift time and stop assuming that I will drop everything to come in early. I really wanted to get fired. I was hoping I would walk in, they would hand me a paycheck, and I could be on my merry way. I figured I wasn't getting fired, though, because they called first.

In any case, I did come in a little early to let them say their peace. I got written up. Apparently I started a rumor about our absenteeism policy. What happened was that a co-worker asked if she could get a shift covered, and I warned her that she could be written up for being absent if she did this. I know, 100% for a fact, that they have written people up for getting their shifts covered by someone else. She immediately wrote to my "supervisor" and asked if this was true. So I got talked to for spreading rumors. People have also sent e-mails to my "supervisor" about making comments about stupid callers, which everyone does. EVERYBODY. Apparently some of my co-workers don't have enough to do, because they seem to spend a lot of time putting together e-mails to complain about petty stuff.

I told him that EVERYBODY complains about certain callers or vents about people who chew them out. My boss told me that if I overhear people gossiping, I should e-mail them so they can keep track of gossip. I told him frankly that I think that is petty and immature and that I will do no such thing. Yes, I could whine about how the supervisor who is on tonight has whined non...stop...about how busy we are tonight. I mean, he is bugging the sh!t out of me. Do people really complain just because their co-worker bothers them? Well, I guess they do here, but I won't stoop to that level. I could tattle about co-workers letting calls roll while they're checking Facebook. I could keep tabs on who bitches about our "supervisor" or our schedules. But I won't. I am not a tattler, I am a "live-and-let-live" sort of person and I don't tend to repeat what I hear. But one way to cut down on the chances of someone blabbing about something they overhear from me is to not talk to my co-workers. So for as long as I have to work here, I am not going to talk to my co-workers about anything that isn't directly related to a case we are handling. I am here to do my job, and I don't have to be their pals. On the other hand, my workplace is toxic enough, and I won't contribute by starting to pick on petty things or starting to tattle, nor will I kiss anyone's butt. Unfortunately, both of those go a long way at my work.

The irony is, I started the process of applying for a job with our direct competitor today (before my "supervisor" called). At this point, any job would be better than my current job with all the back-stabbing and a lying "supervisor." I wrote a blog a few months ago about how much I hate my job, and it has only gotten worse. I was surprised to see that this was way back in July, and I still haven't taken aggressive action to get out of here. I had applied for a couple of jobs, but was only granted an interview for one that does not pay nearly enough. I am hoping that the other poison control center hires me. I have no idea what the pay is like, but I would be able to bike, or even take a long (70 minute) walk to work. It would be a nice change of pace if nothing else. I will be sending in my resume and cover letter tomorrow. I have to say, I really am an excellent candidate, and I hope I can get that across.

Here's the blog I wrote about my job and how I used to adore it so much. It makes me genuinely sad that I keep hating it even more and that I want to walk through the door and be fired:

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

APED7969 11/14/2011 3:53AM

    ha we'd have no staff at all at our clinic and no bosses either if making fun of or complaining about clients was a sackable offense! sorry to hear it sucks so much :(

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    sounds like a bunch of BS from a bunch of D-bags. get the heck out of there. job-hunting sounds like a good use of your time while you're resting due to your injury.

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LYNETTEMOM 11/5/2011 1:52PM

    this brought up some uncomfortable memories for me. I sure would advise you to get out, tho I know that paying the bills limits total free will. Bottom line:
Look out for #1!

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MORTICIAADDAMS 11/4/2011 10:34PM

    it really is time for you to move on. I worked a toxic job for a while and it affected my health. You deserve better and it sounds like a sucky place. In the meantime I would just work and not get too chummy too. No one likes a tattletale.

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HIKINGSD 11/4/2011 5:34PM

    I am so sorry you are having such a rough time at work.

I wish I could change your work environment for you.

Hang in there and remind yourself that you do not need to stoop to their level.


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ORANGEMUSE 11/4/2011 1:38PM

    No matter what, most co-workers are going to complain about someone else when they themselves are doing the exact same thing. It's not something you can really get away from when everyone is backstabbing in the department.

Good luck on getting a new job, sounds like you need outta that place! And hopefully your new digs will be a more friendly environment where everyone knows how to actually work as a team!!

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DLEDBETTER11 11/4/2011 12:38PM

    Good luck - nothing worse than having to deal with a crappy work environment every day emoticon

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AIRPEACH 11/4/2011 12:25PM

    I am happy that you started an application with another company. I hope it works out!
You know, the description you give about being a live-and-let-live person sounds so much like the situation I am on, too. I'm not a favorite of my boss' either, and it results in trash work being flung my way. I get told I have extraneous conversations, and that they need to stop or I will lose my job, but he comes over to my neighbor's desk and has extraneous conversations with her for ages. *sigh* It seems like it's everywhere.

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VALERIEMAHA 11/4/2011 12:19PM

    The irony is, I started the process of applying for a job with our direct competitor IRON OUT the irony already and get the process moving in high gear!!! You need to be OUT.Of.THERE forthwith!

WE emoticon have your back through this "ugh!" process. Come here anytime day or night for emoticonand emoticon

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KKINNEA 11/4/2011 11:39AM

    Sounds miserable - hope you can get out sooner.

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EMRANA 11/4/2011 10:36AM

  Oh my goodness, I have put up with that garbage in more workplaces than I like to think about. I'm so sorry that you're doing this right at the same time as you can't take out your frustrations in one of your MMA classes!

I have no doubt you're an excellent candidate for the competition. Your empathy and love for animals shines through your blogs. Hopefully that resume and cover letter open the door for a better environment, and close the door on this one! That is pretty much my only fear about my huge move I'm undertaking ~ I don't want to end up in another horrid work environment.


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SKYWATCHERRS 11/4/2011 9:48AM

    I have a toxic work environment, too, so I'm feelin for ya. I hope you get the other position!

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MEWHENRYSMAMA 11/4/2011 9:17AM


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SABLENESS 11/4/2011 8:49AM

    Ditto to everyone else's comments. Best of luck with your job search. Even with being out of work for 18 mos, I quit a job right after starting it; the environment was literally toxic. I blogged about the experience in WHAT DOES YOUR HEART SAY?

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TRYINGTOLOSE64 11/4/2011 7:01AM

    It's hard to find a job out there right now. I've been looking for a year and a half now.

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JSALERNO 11/4/2011 6:18AM


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1HAPPYWOMAN 11/4/2011 2:01AM

    Erk, your workplace sounds like a nightmare.... The good news is you're getting a new job -- hopefully, very, very soon! You have so much to offer, and I hope you get a really fulfilling position, with a kind employer and fun co-workers. I'm rooting for you to get your dream job. Dream big, I say!
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JILLYBEAN25 11/4/2011 1:20AM

    I'm glad you're on the hunt for something else. I left my job recently, not because of the people, whom I actually loved, but because I just didn't like the job and how useless I felt there. If its starting to effect your mood, etc, its not worth it. Especially for folks in need of losing weight- the stress makes that so much more difficult, you increase your risk for binge/emotional eating, etc. Time to move on! Good luck on the job hunt!

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WINDSWEPTACRES 11/4/2011 12:35AM

    Every line of your blog screams, "Toxic environment!" I've been there, done that, put up with the bull for the paycheck. Trust me -- it's not worth it. When I was finally fired, I wanted to send them a thank you card.

Put on your brave face, go out there and do those interviews. You're worth so much more than this. Your job is waiting for you. Go get it!

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UTMIZ_2000 11/4/2011 12:31AM

    I'm glad you aren't a tattler and a gossip. I hate that kind of environment, especially the people who tell you something and then swear you to secrecy and you find out everybody else already knew. What? Hello, if you have a secret, keep it to yourself and leave me out of your drama.

Hope the job application works out and pays well. You should enjoy your work because otherwise it's just a job. Boring!

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MAMADWARF 11/4/2011 12:30AM

    That sucks.I hope you can find somewhere to work that will make you happier.

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    I'm sorry you didn't get fired. I agree with the other comments that you need to look for a new job....and it really is easier to get a job when you already have one.
Keep us updated!

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APIRLRAIN888 11/4/2011 12:08AM

    Woah drama at work how old r we now?

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CHUMLEY54 11/4/2011 12:04AM

    Get a new plan, Stan
get off the bus, Gus,
get a new job, Bob......

there must be 50 ways to leave your employer.....

I always found new work and said goodbye to employers/jobs that didn't fit me.
It's easiest to get another job, especially nowadays, if you already have one. So be cool, found a new place, then come and give them 5 minutes notice. 2 weeks is not necessary, because they would NEVER give you 2 weeks notice either.

Good luck, be happy

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SMILINGTREE 11/3/2011 11:45PM

    I get a newsletter from a guy named Ramit Sethi. He wrote a book called I Will Teach You To Be Rich, and has been writing some really interesting stuff about finding your dream job and the art of persuading (as in persuading someone to hire you) recently.

It's good to write about your frustrations sometimes. I'm sorry you are having a crappy week. Also, my offer to look at your resume stands. A different set of eyes never hurts.

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HEALTHYL1 11/3/2011 11:27PM

    I felt the same way about my old job and am so glad I finally left and found a new job. Good luck and I hope you find a new job soon, you will be a lot happier and less stressed.

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So you know when you're fighting someone and they kick you in the ribs?

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Yeah, I hate that, too.

Okay, it is not accurate to say that I got kicked in the ribs. On Monday, while I was doing take-downs, my ribs landed on my partner's knee when I did a sloppy move. It stunned me a little bit, but I didn't think much of it at the time. In MMA training, sometimes you actually get hit.

In any case, I noticed my ribcage on the left was sore, but--MMA training=sore. There was no bruising, swelling, or any other apparent abnormality (and still isn't). When I got to Jiu Jitsu this morning, we started our warm-up of rolls (somersaults), and I immediately had pain in the ribcage.

Did I stop?

NOOOOOO, I'm too stubborn for that.

I got through both Jiu Jitsu and Muay Thai, but by the end, my ribs were very tender. I also focused a lot on guarding my ribs during both classes, especially Jiu Jitsu. The guys got me a couple of times by throwing me or shoving me. Well, at least I learned by the last round and sat out. Luckily Muay Thai was a no-contact workout and we did a circuit workout, but punching was still uncomfortable. I iced it on the way home and am going to again tonight. It doesn't hurt right at this moment, but is apparently aggravated by guys throwing their body weight on top of me.

Grrr, so I am going to wait until at least Monday to go to the gym, and I also cancelled my personal training session on Saturday, assuming it would be a bad idea. I'll do walking and yoga in the meantime. The irony is, I was injured doing Muay Thai, which is the sport I've done for quite a while, and not in Jiu Jitsu. Oh well, some days you just get kneed in the ribs, I suppose...

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

1HAPPYWOMAN 11/3/2011 10:30PM

    Oh, ow. Ow. Ow.
Sorry you're hurting.

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    My son is a black belt in taekwondo and he takes some whacks routinely.

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GEMINIAN1 11/3/2011 4:53PM

    I hope you heal up real fast.

I just read your Blog about you wanting to pull over this week and your ribs are all jacked up. Wowzzer baby!
When it rains it pours.
Hang in there my friend, you got this.
Guys are throwing themselves at you ...
emoticon emoticon

Comment edited on: 11/3/2011 4:53:51 PM

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EMRANA 11/3/2011 11:19AM

  I'm glad you're resting while you need to. Sounds painful!


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SCHWINNER! 11/3/2011 7:16AM

    Owie! I've had rib pain from pulled muscles in there - not fun! Take it easy and I hope you're back to training soon!

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    I have a friend who does MMA too and she is always covered in bruises...and she loves it too.
I would totally be proud of those injuries if I did MMA... :)

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MEWHENRYSMAMA 11/2/2011 11:23PM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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APIRLRAIN888 11/2/2011 11:12PM

    Woah u go girl ouch

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Please pull this week over, I'd like to get off...

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

It's only Tuesday. So far I have made an ass of myself at the gym, an ass of myself at my saxophone lesson, and then an ass of myself at the grocery store when my card got declined. Oh wait, it wasn't 1 card that got declined, it was 2 of them. Awesome.

I am awful with money. I try to keep tabs of money in my head and check my bank account every few days, but sometimes I botch it. I had been doing pretty well, too, but I had a couple extra expenses, like car tires, and lost track. The good news is, I spent perhaps 10 minutes beating myself up about the money, not days or weeks. One of my concerns is that my gas tank is almost empty, and I want to get to the gym tomorrow. I dumped out my change canister and scrounged up as much change as I could (that was not pennies), and came up with a little over $7. That will be enough to get me to the gym and work until Friday when I get paid.

Before the grocery store debacle, I had my saxophone lesson. I swear I could palpate Jeff's frustration with me. It actually made me want to cry. I have been very frustrated with my playing, and I know I don't practice enough. On top of that, I have terrible anxiety with playing in front of someone, and I thought I would be over that by now. I am determined to be better next week and put in a lot of playing time and maybe even, Goddess forbid, enjoy myself. I'm not quite sure what to do to make myself less anxious about playing--and I don't think that picturing Jeff in his underwear will help.

Monday was not the best day at the gym. I was worn out from my first week of doing Jiu Jitsu last week. Jiu Jitsu class was okay yesterday. Then Eric had us working on Muay Boran-style striking. Muay Boran is an ancient fighting method, but because it is so brutal, it is not taught in conventional schools because the moves are illegal in kickboxing fights. Eric and my old coach Kru Mike are 2 of the only Muay Boran instructors in the United States, so I am fortunate to have the opportunity to learn the techniques. I would argue that I am fairly fit, but nonetheless, Muay Boran is meant for lean people. With some of the strikes, you launch off of your partner to strike them from above (like in the pictures below; Eric was teaching us the second one). Well, I couldn't heft my 254 pounds off of my partner. Eric had me modify, but I was embarrassed to have to do something different from the other guys. I also kept hurting myself trying to do take-downs. I was ready to tap out before my partner even had me in position because I was sore from last week, but I tried to get through it. It was not my most graceful day, and I left the gym feeling a bit defeated.

Muay Boran-style kick. Image from

Muay Boran elbow strike from above. Yeah, uhhhh--I can't do that right now. Image from

I am going to get up early tomorrow, put on my big girl panties, go pay for gas with $7 worth of quarters and dimes, and get to the gym. And I'm going to have a spectacular workout.

And blah blah blah boo hoo...I have a car to put gas in. I have an awesome gym to go to with the best instructors I could hope for. I have a saxophone to play, and my own little house to play it in. Although I'm entitled to a slight amount of "Poor me," I must never let it cause me to give up, nor to forget how lucky I really am. I won't let feeling embarrassed or afraid derail any of my efforts. So I couldn't so a kick while flying through the air--most people probably can't. Someday I will launch into the air and do a perfect Muay Boran strike--just not this week.

"Go and wake up your luck."
-Persian Saying

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:


    You got knocked down this week but you are tough and got back up. I admire your attitude. You are a winner!

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GEMINIAN1 11/3/2011 4:58PM

    I liked the phrase you used in your 3rd paragraph.

Anyway, I'm commenting on your Blogs backwards.
I just came from your newest one, the rib cage one ... :-)
You rock!

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    I love that...put on your big girl panties.Ha.. For now you can just work your ass off and know you'll get there. Hours and hours at the gym can't be for nothin! Have some faith!

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DDOORN 11/2/2011 3:31PM

    You are just SO ROCKIN' the SPARK!

Cheers to getting out of your own way and stepping out with even MORE pride & confidence!


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UTMIZ_2000 11/2/2011 2:03PM

    I am so impressed with everything you are doing. Go you!! Do you have any idea how inspiring you are? Lots, let me tell you. So glad you are not going to let one or two silly days take you down. Maybe it's something in the air because I've just had a couple of not so fun days myself. I'm taking your advice and remembering all the good things happening. They so outweigh the bad stuff.

Thanks for sharing and reminding me how great things really are in my life.

emoticon emoticon emoticon

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KKINNEA 11/2/2011 12:32PM

    Every once in a while, everything feels like it has crashed. This too shall pass!

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EMRANA 11/2/2011 10:29AM

  Oh my, we are on the same wavelength right now! Always good to share a few emoticon

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VALERIEMAHA 11/2/2011 10:15AM

    What 1HAPPYWOMAN said...ALL THE WAY!


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AIRPEACH 11/2/2011 7:21AM

    No matter the anxiety, you're still playing, and that's great. Keep going!
Based on my previous experience with martial arts (and certainly those pictures), I would say that those Muay Boran moves are very, very difficult. Let it go for now, and do what you can. You will get to success, I know it, because you won't give up.
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JSALERNO 11/2/2011 6:25AM


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    I'm sorry things were so rough for you. I admire that you were able to put things into perspective and not let it defeat you. There is nothing wrong with having a little pitty party but then, like you said, you pull up your big girl panties and deal with it.
One day the pictures you post of those moves will have you in them!

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MEWHENRYSMAMA 11/2/2011 12:46AM


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ADAGIO_CON_BRIO 11/2/2011 12:05AM

    I hope that this week improves swiftly! It seems as if bad things cluster together to cluster....together....I am so sorry.

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JILLYBEAN25 11/1/2011 11:27PM

    I hate weeks like this. It feels like such a bad omen for the rest of the week. But, I think you'll pull through it and be fine. :-D I have performance anxiety, too, but only when I sing (even though I'm a trained singer). And I don't have any tips for you on this one, either. Just do what you know you gotta do for the week.

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1HAPPYWOMAN 11/1/2011 11:17PM

    Reading this just gave me the most profound feeling of fondness for you, Erin! You are vulnerable, feeling defeated, yet recognizing your achievements, staying grateful and committed to growth. You reveal yourself so authentically, and I find that very reassuring! Thank you.
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GSWINNIE 11/1/2011 10:58PM

    You'll get there hun! As far as the money stuff...I've done that before and felt really stupid about it too. Just gotta make it through the day! :D

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APIRLRAIN888 11/1/2011 10:57PM

    Lol I have anxiety playing in front of ppl too. First time was a Xmas gig. Thankfully it was spot light to audience was dark ;) just did my best

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The Week (and Month) in Review: The Guys in My Corner

Sunday, October 30, 2011

“When I was 5 years old, my mother always told me that happiness was the key to life. When I went to school, they asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I wrote down ‘happy’. They told me I didn’t understand the assignment, and I told them they didn’t understand life.”
- John Lennon

October was easily the best month I've had since starting this SparkJourney, in large part because of my new gym and the guys who are "in my corner" there. I REALLY feel like an athlete and am treated like one when I'm there. Overall, these guys are helping me to live in the present, in the body I'm in now, while still focusing on improving myself. The improvement comes from the discipline of martial arts, not just the calories burned. After a mere 4 weeks, I have dropped 7 pounds and am starting to have actual curves (not just bulges). I just need to keep being consistent with martial arts training and do what I'm told, and my body will probably be re-shaped in a matter of months.

I find that even though these guys are in my corner, I push back a lot. Really, I'm pushing back against myself, afraid to really progress and afraid of flubbing in the process of improvement. I do it to the guys at the gym all the time and try to catch myself from resisting their encouragement or feedback. They call me out on this, but I've realized I've been pushing back against others, too.

A lot of the courage I've mustered in this journey comes from the guy who fuels my creative energy, my saxophone teacher Jeff. Jeff and the changes in my perception from playing music have been the ultimate force in changing my approach to this journey. I've learned to laugh more at myself while simultaneously acknowledging my strengths. I still get very nervous playing in front of Jeff. I'm not sure exactly what it is, if it is just that it feels awkward to have someone looking at me that closely, or just the thought of messing up. I feel naked when I play my sax, like I'm baring my soul. I consequently push back against Jeff a lot, but he seems able to trick me into thinking a different way and accomplishing the task at hand.

This week, I struggled again with overtones, which is fingering one note but using your mouth position to make another note. It is a delicate balance between breath, mouth position, and even tongue position. I couldn't hit the notes. For some reason, I can do it when Jeff plays them and I play with him, but I told him I couldn't do it at home.

"Well, are you trying to make your sax make the note, or are you LETTING your sax make the note?" I grinned, "Well, I guess I might be trying to command it." Jeff nodded, "I figured that." He told me once again to just hear the note in my head, and then just let it out. Sure enough, I did it. I joked, though, that I may try to grapple my saxophone into submission at times.

Although I have gotten better at letting things happen rather than trying to force them to happen, I do still get impatient with myself at times. Doing martial arts is helping me learn greater patience in the learning process. Unlike playing the saxophone, I don't choke (no pun intended) under the pressure. I just relax and react to what the other guy is doing. If he beats me, he beats me, and I learn from what he did to win.

My summary of my workouts this week goes something like, "I got my ass handed to me." I've completed my first full week of hardcore martial arts training, attending Jiu Jitsu and Muay Thai classes Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, and Muay Thai sparring yesterday. It was like a 2 hour boot camp workout each day. I'm sore. This week worked muscles that have not been asked to do anything in years. My knee is not painful and the soreness isn't over-the-top or anything, but I can tell I had hard workouts. I have been smiling every time I feel my abs when I go to move a certain way, as Jiu Jitsu is really working them (and I really need to work on them). This level of activity is what I have been inching towards for the past 10 months, and I am finally here. Better yet, I am here and my joints are tolerating it. I will continue to avoid high-impact movements (running, jump rope, etc.), but the results I'm getting are just fine without them.

I've talked as nauseum about how much I love my new gym, but I have to say, I really love the guys there. And I say guys because I am the only woman who does Jiu Jitsu, and there has only been 1 other woman who showed up once to Muay Thai. The women I have met when I was doing the boxing class have been very nice, which has been a refreshing change from the cattiness at my other kickboxing gym. On a typical day, though, it's just me and the boys in Jiu Jitsu and Muay Thai. I love the lack of pretension with being around these guys. Even the most skilled martial artists at the gym have zero attitude.

My first Jiu Jitsu class was last Monday, and the guys took it pretty easy on me (no submission holds). Play time was apparently over on Wednesday, though. I actually appreciate a "trial by fire" approach because I think it is the best way to learn something and I like just jumping right in. Because Jiu Jitsu requires muscle strength and endurance that I don't really have right now, rolling (sparring) was very tough. I was not physically incapable of doing it, but it is just a very different way of moving my body. Several of the guys commented on how strong I am, and a couple others commended me for jumping right in and going for it.

The other nice thing about Jiu Jitsu? I feel feather-light when I get thrown through the air.

I have been good about doing yoga, and I plan on doing a quick (15-20 minute workout) before I go to Jiu Jitsu and Muay Thai in the morning. I have been feeling great after my workouts, and I credit yoga in part for this. I also know I am getting into better shape, as my 2-hour workouts have been getting easier. I have still been trying to decide exactly what I am going to do for strength and conditioning in my legs. My knee has been fine with 2+ hours of martial arts at a time, but I don't want to jump into overdoing it. Yesterday I had a training session with Ty, the boxing instructor, to do some conditioning work. He is a strength and conditioning coach, so I figured he could provide some fresh ideas and push me much harder than I do by myself. I never did think I would have a model for a personal trainer, though. We did a lot of floor work and did some light weight stuff. The workout was very cardio based and was aimed at building muscle endurance, which is a good place for me to start right now.

As I grunted through his one of his sets, he said, "I know, getting back in shape sucks--fight through it!" Ty actually complimented and told me he knows that I have athletic ability. Ty does not freely give compliments, so I was very pleased to hear him say that. I appreciate not just being viewed as some fat girl who is trying to do martial arts. I like to think of myself as an athlete, so I liked hearing someone actually calling me one, even though I'm overweight. I certainly didn't feel athletic when I was grunting through his workout, incapable of getting through the entire set.

Ty and I were chatting about workouts and I mentioned that I've lost about 45 pounds so far and have about 90 more to go. He asked me point blank, "How much did you weigh?" Without thinking, I said, "Almost 300 pounds." I have never told anyone outside of SparkPeople how much I weighed, nor do I talk about my weight loss with most people. So now he knows that I weigh over 250 pounds, but it doesn't matter. The way my body is right now is a reflection of how chaotic my life was a couple of years ago and doesn't show who I am now.

"How did that happen?"

" mean how did I get to be that heavy?"

"Yeah." He wasn't asking with criticism or judgement, but just wanted to know what happened. "I don't know, I was in school, life got out of hand, I overate...I guess things happen."

He shrugged, "Doesn't matter now, you're here and you're going to keep coming. You'll be in shape in no time."

Poor Ty--they give him a lot of crap about the modeling thing.

He's right. All I have to do is show up. I have to let these guys push me and not push back. Now that I've been going to this gym for about 4 weeks, I can't believe how much self-doubt I had before I went. I was afraid of walking through the door because I was worried about being judged, after being treated poorly for several years at my other gym. I am learning to live in the present moment and not worry so much about what the future holds, because I now know that the future will be just fine. This week I've been fighting as though my life depended on it--and it does. With these guys in my corner, I know I'll be more fit than I've ever been very soon.

As I was dripping in sweat and panting, guzzling water, Ty turned around and pointed at me as he was walking out the door. "See you'll be here, right?"

"Yes, I will." So I'll be back for more rollin' with the guys in my corner this week...and I'm in for a fantastic November.

"In our lives, we have two or three opportunities to be a hero, but almost every day, we have the opportunity not to be a coward."
- Spanish proverb

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

GEMINIAN1 11/1/2011 5:05PM

I am glad to hear that the new gym is going so well.
You rock!

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    You are awesome! emoticon

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MEWHENRYSMAMA 10/31/2011 11:05PM


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DDOORN 10/31/2011 8:54PM

    Sax master TOO! Wow! What a SOULFUL instrument...! Have always loved the sax, however don't have the mouth for any wind instrument. Have played guitar instead. Some of my favorite sax players are John Klemmer, Paul Winter, Jan Garbarek, and (RIP) John Coltrane & Michael Brecker . I'm big into jazz.

You are pushing the envelope in SO many ways! Awesome SPARKIN' going down!


Comment edited on: 10/31/2011 8:56:31 PM

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HIKINGSD 10/31/2011 6:56PM

    I am so happy you like your new gym. I know it was a tough decision for you make!

Keep up the great work!

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CRABADA 10/31/2011 5:54PM

    Great blog! I'm SO glad you changed gyms and that you're having a great time.

And I love that quote at the end - it's so true. Thanks for the reminder to work on living in the present.

:) Courtney

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ALISHAB3 10/31/2011 11:59AM

    I love reading your blog, if I suggested this before forgive me, have you tried any icing after your workouts? Would that help or hinder your muscle recovery? Ask your trainer, he may have an idea about that.

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APIRLRAIN888 10/30/2011 9:45PM

    Awesome that is awesome support!!!!

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JILLYBEAN25 10/30/2011 8:50PM

    emoticon (What else is there to say? emoticon)

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1HAPPYWOMAN 10/30/2011 6:35PM

    It is so wonderful to hear that October has been your best Spark month yet! I bet there'll be even more awesome months in future as you continue to try new things, be yourself and surpass your own expectations!
emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon keep on inspiring me....

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    Isn't that a great feeling? Knowing that all you have to do is show up and you know you're doing the best thing you can for your body. And again, I bow to you, the most hardcore bad@ss girl on SP. Martial arts warrior! Rock on.

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