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
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:
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...
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 http://badikhassan.blogspot.com/2010/11/mu
Muay Boran elbow strike from above. Yeah, uhhhh--I can't do that right now. Image from http://www.triptourthai.net/trip/ceremony
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."
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?"
"Umm...you 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 Monday...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
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