Eye-opening

bjj934

 

The four lines people cross that take their actions out of the self-defense justification are:
1)The threat isn’t physical
2)The threat isn’t immediate
3)They cross into excessive force
4)They participate in the creation and escalation of the situation.
-Marc MacYoung
Thursday BJJ in Bellevue. I had a really good spar with Seth; asked him to not let me do any escapes so that I would be forced to try other things. He praised me for staying on the move.

Thursday BJJ in Bellevue.  A lot of King Of the Hill from back mount. As usual, I was doing well at escaping back mount and I was not doing well at keeping it.

Friday evening BJJ in Bellevue. All spars. Carlos left early, so Chrisanne wanted to spar with me for the first time in forever. I didn’t injure her. Another good spar with Seth (no escapes allowed). Kevin…. OMG. Nobody rolls like this guy. Every BJJ artist on the planet should get a chance to roll with this guy once just to experience it.  That Brazilian purple belt woman that I have always found challenging- neither of us was able to tap the other tonight, and we spent a long time working standup… so nice to get to work standup with someone my own size. New girl: she stared at me wide-eyed after time was called and exclaimed, “That was….. so EYE-OPENING!”

Chrisanne is competing next month for the first time. She has 4 stripes on her blue belt. I have spent a lot of time puzzling over our differing strategies. She has done everything possible to set herself up to win. Whereas anyone who has been reading my blog for a while well knows, I am self-sabotaging- I set things up so that if I lose, I have excuses. It seems like either Chrisanne or I have things fucked up- and I suspect it’s me.

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Preserving your identity

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  Fighting, counter-assault, hand-to-hand– whatever you want to call it– is very much a thing of guts and nerve, visceral, not intellectual. And yet, you have a brain. Use it.   -Rory Miller
Friday evening BJJ in Bellevue. Did something to my left shin and it’s been bugging me all week. I was able to do most stuff yesterday and today, but I did pass on the sparring portion of tonight (with the exception of a roll with Doug).

Standup, no-gi-type grips (meathook behind neck, outside tie). Pummel back and forth a few times like this, then duck under and take the back.

Same, then the backtaken person does this escape: on the same side that opponent has your wrist trapped, take one step forward and then turn sharply back, using the free forearm to break down opponent’s arm. Single leg from here.  I had some trouble here because as always, I struggle with left/right and could not remember which foot to step forward with.

Same standing guard passes that we did last week- underhooking the thigh and passing around the back, then around the front.
Have been thinking a lot about yesterday’s quote, the part about hanging onto the past because it’s preserving your identity.  There’s also the good one about  how dwelling on past bitterness is like swallowing poison and waiting for the other person to die.

I carry around a lot of baggage and bitterness, to my detriment. I have a very visceral repulsion toward the concept of forgiveness in these cases. To me, forgiving says, “It was okay that you did that”.  Fuck no. It was not. It never will be okay.

And yes, I am intellectually aware that forgiveness is about healing the forgiver and not about letting the forgivee off, and all that… but emotionally it just doesn’t wash. There are people who have done things to me that I will never forgive.

I am aware that they are not lying awake at night. More than one of them failed to ever understand what they did wrong or that they even did anything wrong at all. It costs them nothing that I hold a grudge, it just costs me (ironically, this serves to make me even more bitter).

If you’re still bleeding years later, it proves that you were “right”, right? That the other person is unspeakably evil? That you deserve sympathy, admiration, help, slack? We already established that the perpetrators don’t give a shit that they hurt you; they are going on about their merry lives while you lie in the ditch and moan. If you let go of it, then NOBODY is carrying it, right? Somebody has to be left holding the bag. WTH, does it just evaporate? Does that prove that it didn’t matter, that it didn’t really hurt that much, it wasn’t so bad, that “it was okay that you did that”?

I’ve been stuck and frustrated about resolving this emotional baggage, because I just can’t put a spin on “forgiveness” that will make it palatable to my logic-rejecting inner child, and I couldn’t find a way to reframe the problem.

So, “preserving your identity”……..

We are brainwashed from toddlerhood in this society to admire/idealize heroes and Disney Princesses who were orphaned, abused, and otherwise got shat on and went on to rise above. It’s a glamorous identity to have been fucked over and then rise above. Movies don’t get made about people who were raised by loving parents in plenty and comfort, married their high school boyfriend/girlfriend, had a fun and enlightening education, got a great career, and had a successful happy life. If you cut out the part of Malala’s story where she had to struggle to get an education and then nearly got murdered for it, and only show the wonderful work she is doing now, it’s not quite the same. The hardships and struggles are part of the hero’s journey, the hero’s identity.

At what point does the tragic backstory become baggage? At some point do you get to choose whether that tragic past gooses you to get better or just drags you down? At some point do you get to choose when to just cut those chapters out of your book and begin at the better parts? It seems like there is an inevitable degeneration into using the tragic backstory as a crutch. “You can’t expect me to accomplish X, after what happened to me,”…. “You should marvel that I am able to do Y, after what I had to overcome”….. yes, it is a BIG part of one’s identity. Big enough that the prospect of excision is quite daunting.

Drilling while pregnant

bjj01020110

Use of force is a “Goldilocks and the Three Bears” issue. “This one is too little. This one is too much. This one is just right.” Campfire Tales From Hell

NO, I am not pregnant. Let’s just get that out of the way right now. Whomever was thinking that, go rinse the inside of your skull out with bleach.

Evening BJJ in Bellevue.

Chrisanne and I were whining in the locker room about how our thighs ached after last night (interestingly, we both ached in different AREAS of our thighs), and commented that we hoped we would not be doing anything tonight involving that same half-squat.

Well…………

Same knee-push-through standing pass. I actually didn’t mind this too much because it’s one of my favorite passes, and I don’t think I will ever get tired of it even if it hurts a bit.

Then we did the one from last night where you prop the opponent’s thigh on top of your thigh- only this time, we passed on the opposite side. After passing, we sat on opponent’s shoulder with one hip while facing hir feet, and bent one leg to hook hir near ankle. As soon as the foe turns hir attention to this distracting question of “what is s/he trying to do with my ankle, and how can I get it out?” you pop into front mount.

Then: same entry as above, only you fake being sloppy with capturing the near arm. (This was pretty easy for me, as that was the detail I was sloppy with anyway). That arm ends up between your knees. After you catch side control, fake giving opponent a little space. When s/he goes to roll into you and single-leg you, hop your butt over hir body and plant it beside hir opposite hip. Catch that arm as you go over- armbar. The catch in this was, you don’t turn the same way you turn 99% of the time you go to do an armbar from a position like this. You turn the opposite way. It’s very weird. Of course I didn’t catch that odd detail on the first go-round, and I was turning the regular way when I drilled it…. and I had just begun instructing my poor hapless white belt partner in how to do it wrong when Carlos stopped us and fixed me.

For the previous two technique drills, I did not have that hapless white belt partner, because I had Lindsay- girl Lindsay, who has been off the mat since December. It was so nice to see her. She is- not HUGELY pregnant, but BIGLY pregnant- and I had to modify my drills accordingly. I wholeheartedly approve of continuing BJJ (with careful partners, and within reasonable parameters) until a pregnancy is advanced enough that it is mechanically unworkable. Drills, that is…. I wouldn’t want to spar (even slowmo flow rolling) with someone who was far enough along to be showing prominently. Lindsey had vanished off the mat as soon as she found out she was expecting. I think she was nervous about it. So I was quite anxious to not only be careful enough to avoid causing a guard-pass-induced miscarriage, but moreso careful enough to reassure her that it’s okay, you can do this, we can work around it and you will be fine. I felt confident about it- I have good control. (However, it made me feel a little jittery when Chrisanne got a text in the locker room before class that her sister had miscarried….)

I had done a warm-up flow roll with Casey before class, and after class I rolled a while with Chrisanne (going kind of hard and competitive) and then another while with Casey. Then Casey wanted to play with an extremely complex technique and use me as a demo dummy, which eventually led to Carlos jumping in (despite having already changed into street clothes) and demo’ing several terribly evil and convoluted techniques on both me and Casey.

Turns out that one of the brand new white belts I had worked with a little last week was a guy who works (as in, career-type “work”) with Casey. Apparently he had been all excited and telling his colleagues that he got his first sweep on the mat. Further details revealed a feminine pronoun.

I find myself a bit annoyed. I’m not certain, but I’m guessing that the white belt in question was the one who performed a very nice upa on me, so I let him have it. That’s how I usually work with white belts. I don’t try to pwn them. If they do a technique well, I will usually give it to them. I’m aware that 1)it’s a Big Deal to white belts when they start seeing their techniques work on the mat, 2)It’s a Bigger Deal when it’s a colored belt you’re doing it to, 3)The white belts usually can’t tell when we are going light on them and handing them stuff, and 4)They don’t realize that it’s douchebaggy to run around telling people who you tapped (or who you swept). I don’t care if he runs around telling other BJJ people that he reversed me, since the other BJJ people for the most part understand corollaries 1 through 4. What bothers me is hearing that he was boasting to his non-BJJ coworkers about it, who now- since they don’t understand corollaries 1 through 4- probably genuinely think this guy really scored a sweep on a purple belt girl at his second ever class. It makes women MA-ists look bad. And Gods know the non-MA public already has for the most part a crappy-ass view of a woman’s ability to be a competant MA-ist. Now I kind of wish I *had* pwn’ed him. Sigh. No, not really… I think the way I work with new white belts is encouraging and educational to them, and I don’t mind sacrificing some ego. But yeah, this tweaks me.

I think part of the reason this is getting to me a bit was a conversation I had last week with one of *my* colleagues. He’s an older guy with some (long) past MA experience, a pleasant fellow, but a bit old-fashioned. He knows I train, and at some point the conversation got around (jokingly) to “what if” it ever came down to me versus him. He laughed. Not just laughed, but hooted. Could barely get out (between peals of laughter), “What do you think YOU could possibly do against ME??!!!?” Now, he is bigger than me and outweighs me significantly, but The Incredible Hulk he ain’t. He also must have about 20 years on me (and *I’m* old), and has not trained in decades. I get the impression he did not train nearly as long as I. I’m fairly sure I could take this guy, if it came down to it. I also realize that he’s from a bygone generation and has some of the casual and unthinking misogynist brainwashing common to that generation. But man…. he hooted. And I was pissed. This shit again…. and again, and again, and again. And again and again.

Although I spend not-inconsiderable reflection time mulling over various verbally-disemboweling responses to stuff like this, the truth is that usually the offender is someone that I would prefer to not verbally disembowel, for reasons of social civility. In this case, if I offend this guy too much, the water-purification system on my clinical Chemistry analyzer might not get its filters changed on time. So I usually end up letting it go, or letting it go with such a minor protest as to not be taken seriously. And then I burn inwardly, and feel it chip away another bit of my confidence in my MA.

In this instance, in response to “What do you think YOU could possibly do against ME???!!??” I pulled out my Spyderco, flicked it open, and gestured to his gut (which, I might add, is carrying some extra fat… seriously, this would not be a fair match-up). But I wish I had felt like I could call him out on being misogynistic (I’d leave out the “delusional” part). Even more, I wish that so much of the world was not so damn misogynistic. It feels like a riptide that never, ever, for a single moment stops fighting against me. I wonder what it would feel like to have a penis and be taken seriously- either on the mat or in the street- just once.

Your most important part

bjj0603

At an advanced level, a mature practitioner should begin to “look outside of the box” of his or her base style. At an advanced level, studying outside your base allows one to better perceive recurring patterns in human attack; that there are only certain ways that a particular joint or limb can move without injury; or that certain techniques are designed to produce or capitalize on a particular physiological reaction common to the species. It is therefore understood that ultimately, there may be a “correct” method to execute technique X within system Y, but ultimately, another system utilizes a nearly identical body mechanic in a related and equally effective manner to counter the same recurring human self-protection problem. The only “correct” method, therefore, becomes the effective application of that body mechanic in neutralizing or escaping a threat, and the study of individual style (judo, jujitsu, karate, aikido, and so on) comes to be seen as simply an individual on-ramp to what amounts in the end to a much larger road. –Michael Thue

Attempting to channel anger into one’s MA is inefficient, dangerous (to both parties) and potentially ego-wrecking (in a negative way; positive ego-wrecking being an actual valid thing in MA). Good to remember when a buddy impales me in the self esteem the day before a comp. Guy is a decent person and good friend, but possibly the most insecure person I have ever met in my life (worse than me, ha ha!). It is incredibly threatening to his masculinity to think that I might be able to beat him up if it came down to it. The fact that I have trained multiple MA’s for twenty years while his ass has been parked on the couch is irrelevant. I am not invested in needing HIM to know I could beat him up- it costs me little to throw him that bone, and I have (although, it must be admitted, with increasing levels of sarcasm as the years go by). Yet I have tried many times to explain to this friend that I don’t want to hear about it repeatedly. Regardless of the truth or untruth of the statement, it is disrespectful and just plain shitty of him to keep saying this to me when he knows what a big part of me is invested in MA. It is invalidating. And yes, I freely admit that my own self-esteem is crappy, and I am not in a position to shrug off his statements without being hurt, pissed, and unbelieveably frustrated. And thinking it may be true.

Anyway, he hit me with this again today, and it has raised angsty feels that I did not need the day before a tournament. I informed him that he has reached the bitter end of my tolerance tether on that score, and if he ever says that to me again, we are through. Needed to be done. But I am left feeling even more disheartened and conflicted than usual on tournament eve.

Was reflecting that defeatism/confidence/self esteem are by far the hairiest challenge for me in my MA journey. Making one wonder- if you’re into all that esoteric crap- if that’s what it all about, if that’s what it’s all FOR, for me. A higher power or my subconscious or whatever trying to use MA to heal my esteem. It occurrs to me that it may be necessary to actually try my hardest and fail, and cope with that. Actually trying my hardest and failing anyway is such a terrifying prospect that I can’t even wrap my brain around it. But I’m not sure where else to go from here, as I am making little if any progress on my defeatism. It may be that the only way through it is- THROUGH it. Straight through.

Friday evening BJJ in Bellevue.

Drill- pushups and sprawl to backtake. After we did all the reps, Chrisanne collapsed on the mat to wait for the rest oft he pairs to finish. I said, “Oh no. Get up. We’re starting over.”

Sparring. I tooled a white belt, got tooled by a blue belt, played defense with another white belt who had already been too rough with Chrisanne, so I knew I had to wach it with him. Had Chrisanne (at my request) get me in bottom side control and front mount and just hold me down. She did it very well. I couldn’t get out. She also has excellently painful Shoulder Of Justice.

Then….

Carlos, after matching up everyone in the class except me: “Come here Keetsune, we gonna talk about smashing. (wicked grin)”

Kitsune: “Oh boy. Okay, as long as all we’re going to do is TALK.”

Carlos (more wicked grinning)

Chrisanne: “When she asks to be smashed by *ME*, that’s a different thing than getting smashed by *YOU*.”

So he did to me the same thing that Chrisanne did, and if I couldn’t escape *HER*, you can guess how well I did against him. He advises more hipping up, observing that I am underutilizing my “most important part”.

After we did that for a while, he started latching onto subs and then reprimanding me for passing his guard instead of dealing with the sub attempt first. That is another item for the file of “Sloppy shit that works on lower belts but not on purples and up…. so it’s time to stop doing it.” Usually I can pass guard and *then* get out of the sub attempt, which has been weakened by the now-suboptimal positioning. The purple belts and up, though, will often set traps that cause you to sub your own self when you move.

Carlos, re: the comp: “We all gonna be there- me, Professor Hodrigo, Professor Lindsey….”

Kitsune: “Wonderful.” (gahhhhhhhh!!)

Basset hound

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There is almost no place you can hit a human that physiologically stops them from shooting back. Shot to the heart? You’ve got roughly ten seconds to shoot back. Nothing below the first or second vertebrae prevents you from pulling a trigger. Headshots are not even reliable. A local man when I was a rookie took a .45 caliber slug between the eyes from three feet away and it bounced off his skull. In the 1977 murder of Baton Rouge officer Linda Lawrence, the threat took ten shots from a large caliber revolver including a contact shot to the solar plex area, a contact shot through the rib cage from side to side (The threat grunted and said, “You got me a good one that time,”  and threw Officer Lawrence’s partner across the room) and a contact shot through the top of the head. Even after the headshot, the threat got up one more time to fight. –Rory Miller

Monday: spent a couple of hours climbing rocks by the River with my new camera. Although jumping, sliding, and even STEPPING down is slow and careful these days due to the chronic pain in my knees, I was happy to find that I can still get anywhere that I want to get… anywhere that I would have expected to be able to get at 12 (which was ANYWHERE). No slips, no falls, even in marginal footwear and with the rocks and logs wet and frosty. I have the agility of a jungle cat.

Wednesday: Day 12 of the 30–Day Plank challenge. Up to 1.5 min.  The increments go up by 30 seconds from here, every couple of days. This is obviously not gradual enough to sanely get to 5 min for someone who has never planked.  But I will be interested to see how far I get.

Anica has thown out a 30-day “no junk food” challenge. This one is a gauntlet I will not be picking up! My response: “I would die.” It has occurred to me, though, that it might be feasable to introduce a “no junk food” weekday (probably Wednesdays, since that’s the final day of my rotation, and I usually have a sleep binge so there would be fewer conscious hours in which to exercise willpower). The “no soda” thing would be the real killer. Another idea: a “no junk food” hour. Hours to be added gradually. VERY gradually. Ha ha. I’d start with the middle of the day, because- again- I’d only be conscious for half of them. I really would like to do something about my terrible diet.

Thursday: More rock scrambling, not as much as on Monday, but enough to call exercise. I am trying to put  together a posse to pick up trash at Eagle Falls, which would also count as exercise.

The more I think about the junk food blackout hours, the better I like the idea. First blackout hour: 22:00 to 23:00. No Dr Pepper allowed during blackout hours, either.

I wanted to do some BJJ so bad today, but everything is closed. So I climbed the Index Wall with Cindy and Maddie. Cindy is not interested in pausing to admire plants, rocks, and views. It’s all SPRINT up the mountain and then SPRINT back down… while I scurried in her wake, huffing like a basset hound and trying to not fall too far behind. Embarrassingly, I had to ask for a few short breaks. I didn’t remember until we were halfway up the Wall that I have CK coming over for the next 2 days, and tai chi (along with anything else we might do) is going to be even more painful than usual on post-mountain-climbing swollen knees. Oh well. Suck it up, Buttercup!  Climbing the Index Wall is such great exercise.

Fri: CK told me an interesting story equating spoons to physical and mental resources, and told me that I seem to have too few spoons. She also likened my grim effort to do what I need to do each day with the resources I have on hand to a “death march”.  Although a rich combo of facts is surely at work, these MOTHERFUCKING ALLERGIES are a the top of the list. Followed up by sleep issues. She wants me to try acupuncture. She also gave me a new supplement idea to try. I wish I could shake (or at least cut down) my caffeine addiction. I know it is not helping my sleep issues.

Sun: 30 Day Plank Challenge, day sixeen. Okay, the two minute plank SUCKS. 2.5 might be my breaking point. We’ll see.

Blackout hour added: 10am to 11am. It is 10:04 right now, and I can’t have a Dr Pepper.

CK made vegetables. A LOT of vegetables. My freezer is now holding more vegetables than I have eaten in the last eight years combined. I am going to eat them all.

I wonder if I am ever going to get back to BJJ class.  😦   😦   😦  Heavy withdrawl.

Thurs lunchtime: I made it back to BJJ class!!!!    All spars.  Came back home and was so exhausted that I went right to bed.

Fri evening: Annnnnnnnnnd all spars again.

Tomorrow I am supposed to do a 3 min plank. The 2.5 did not succeed in breaking me, but this one might.

Still no kibble.

bjj804

Violence and the risk of violence goes up when people are insecure. Remember always that weapons embolden the insecure. –Rory Miller

Open mat at Edmonds.

Started with Georgette, no-gi…. she trounced me utterly and repeatedly. Found myself in that frustrated space… that one where I just need to call it a day, because both my performance and my mental state just go downhill rapidly from there.

Note that once in this place, I should really just VACATE the gym immediately, because if I sit on the wall, people bug me to keep going. If I beg off, it starts to look like I’m pouting like an asshole because I got tapped. Which I guess in a way I am. I think everybody could tell that I was frustrated, which frustrates me all the more because I am trying to hide it. Today, no disasters ensued from continuing under duress, but next time should just go. Haven’t really found a good way to deal with that state of mind, but continuing is usually not advisable. It’s the Point Of Negative Returns.

Anyway, I let Cindy use me as a dummy to do some drills and invent some new fiendish and painful contortions. Then she was rolling with Georgette, which she probably shouldn’t be doing with her shoulder injury, but you can’t keep her off the mat.

I rolled with a purple belt guy that I don’t know, who was flow rolling and doing some catch and release. Then Craig, whom I enjoy rolling with and haven’t seen in a long time: more flowing and catch and release, he wore his gi and let me let me wear my no-gi gear to make it marginally more even. Those were both kind of fun, even though my self-sabotaging mind kept flagellating me all the while with its I-wish-I-didn’t-suck-so-bad and why-do-you-bother-to-keep-trying-to-do-this refrains.

As a scientist, I am very aware that I am battling a very basic concept of psychology that just really can’t be battled: it is very hard to keep doing something in the face of a lack of positive reinforcement. My “higher function” brain can yell all it wants that this is actually useful and good for me and progress *IS* actually being made… but it feels like I’ve been pressing a lever repeatedly for five years (longer, if you count all of my MA experience and not just BJJ) and just never getting any kibble, ever. No rat would continue to press the lever this long. My inner rat is like, “WTF is wrong with you???!??”

I continue to not know what to do about this issue, and I continue to be very frustrated and discouraged about it.

Georgette pointed out a couple of things.

1)I keep giving up my back. She rightly parsed this as, “Most of your regular training partners are going easy on you, and failing to be heavy/tight enough to prevent you from squirming (technique-less-ly) out of back mount.” It makes me feel better that I had made this very same observation and come to the very same conclusion the very first time I rolled with her. At least I can see and interpret my problems, even if I don’t do so well at actually fixing them. I really need people to stop giving me slack here, as it just encourages my sloppy habits. Note that this is neither a happy nor a fun thing to face. I asked her to keep taking my back and subbing me, and to make it hurt a little.

2)She wants me to put more weight on her feet/knees etc while I’m doing standing passes. This is not the first time I have been told this, but as I tried it again, I was reminded of why I don’t do it- it feels way too vulnerable. Once I start leaning on the knees, as soon as the opponent pulls hir knees back, I’m going to face plant. Georgette says, “don’t let them pull their knees back.” I feel that there is no person on the mat older than four whom I could actually physically PREVENT from pulling their feet or knees back.

This leads me to a principle that has been a cornerstone of my game since I started: “You don’t have to move the other guy, you only have to move YOU.” Which I still feel is golden wisdom, for us teeny people. You can’t even begin to deal with a 200lb man on top of you in side control without embracing that idea. Otherwise you are just lying there helplessly crushed for eternity. And yet I begin to wonder if I have taken a good thing too far.

I have been aware for a while that I work under an assumption that I simply cannot move my opponent nor make hir do anything. This leaves me with a severely limited game that consists solely of 1)reacting to what the opponent does to me, and 2)losing all my options as soon as the opponent starts restricting my movement. I simply do not even TRY anything- ever- that involves moving the opponent, or making hir do something, or otherwise affecting hir. Like sweeps. And most subs. I escape. That’s all I do, because that’s all I *can* do that doesn’t really involve addressing my opponent in any confrontational way- because of course as soon as we go head to head on something, I am obviously going to lose. It’s not a fight. It’s not a contest. I’m not trying to beat anyone. I’m not even truly engaging them. I’m just letting them attack me while I try to escape.
.
.
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Ouch.
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.
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Okay, I’m not sure what to do about this…. and it obviously is harking back to a lot of very deep-seated, ingrained, damaging conditioning from childhood on up. But it feels like a possible first glimpse into a different perspective on my defeatism problem. Which could be a first step.

Found that my Asics earguards do have a few spots where they start rubbing painfully at a certain point of a LOT of jiu jitsu over a two day period. I had to take them off, because it started to feel like I was more likely to get cauli from the earguards themselves than from going without. Note that I should start keeping a spare pair of (a different brand of) earguards in my bag.

FTS

bjj0701

“It’s not ‘I get a turn and then you get a turn’… it’s all my space and it’s always my turn” – Greg Hamilton

Wednesday:

I bailed on Saturday’s ceremony.

I feel terrible about it. It is not in my nature to flake out on commitments. In fact I reserve some of my most venomous contempt for people who do that. If I tell you that I am going to do X, then you can rest assured that by God I am going to do X, even if I have to move Heaven and Earth to get it done. I have gone to ridiculous lengths to fulfill minor obligations. It is a pillar of my personal identity- my moral integrity. And this is Jen’s biggest event of the year. Only three days away. And I’m well aware that she was already electrified with stress even BEFORE I bailed.

I assured Jen yesterday (for about the fourth time) that I would indeed be there and that I would be ready to do my part. This was not good enough for her. Over the course of the day she sent me four more messages bugging me for further intercourse. She wanted assurance that there is not friction between us, and she still wanted me to explain exactly what I planned to do (right down to what I was fucking THINKING) so that (presumably) she could inform me that I was “doing it wrong”. When I saw all those missives piled in my box, I was like, that’s it- Fuck This Shit. Aside from my own discomfort- which is a negligible consideration weighed against the integrity of my commitment- it is plain at this point that she is stressing over this to a level that I truly think that dealing with me was causing her more angst than having to replace me will.

I hate drama. I have a traumatic past in drama. I do not appreciate people trying to drag me into their drama when I have made it clear that I do not wish to go there. The last thing I wanted was a BEDS (Big Emotional Drama Scene) three days before the event. Unfortunately, there was *NO* way to get around it. I’m sure I’m going to get some guilt-inducing and stressful nastygrams. But seriously, I think any reasonable person would have said FTS a long time ago. I’m done.
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Thursday:

I blocked Jen for the time being; I will probably have to read her mail at some point, and it’s going to upset me, but I didn’t want to even be tempted to engage in any further drama before the rit- nor do I want to get talked into changing my mind about quitting.

Another community member messaged me when he saw that I was leaving. He’s watched Jen do this same thing to a number of people, so we indulged in a little pop-psychology analysis. It’s an interesting study in self-sabotage. It’s always easier to dissect these things when it’s not you. I don’t think I was self-sabotaging, in this case, although certain other of my problem issues definitely played a role. Yet since self sabotage is a persistant crime of mine, particularly visible in my MA training, it warrents pondering as pertains to my own situation.

Lamont messaged me to mention the Proving Grounds Championship. I figured I wouldn’t qualify anyway, but apparently I do. I had skipped the Revolution this past weekend, and had not planned to do the PGC or anything else. I still haven’t come up with any new insights or ideas on the defeatism barrier.

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Thursday evening BJJ in Bellevue.

Glenn! He’s been out for about a year. So delightful to see him back. I got to drill with him, too.

Drills- from standup, pulling spider guard. Then same, with partner proceeding to pass. Then some positional sparring, starting from establishment of the spider guard. Then postional training starting from sitting on the floor in what Carlos called “double guard pull”. After a while, Carlos switched out partners and gave me a young, long-legged blue belt who huffed and puffed like an overweight basset hound. Since it was also hotter than hell in there tonight, this was not helping him. We talked a lot about breathing. I also gave him several other suggestions as we went. I know that it was because he was breathing wrong, but I still found it rather gratifying- given our respective ages- that I had to repeatedly chivvy him along when he was literally on the brink of collapsing.

A few rolls with Allison. I haven’t seen him in a while either. He’s always great to roll with. He handled me, of course, but I think I made him work a little harder than he has had to work to handle me in the past. I finally had to cry his mercy, though, because I just became too exhausted to continue. He complimented my on my back mount escape. I had escaped his back mount four or five times, usually by grabbing his gi top and squirming around till we were chest to chest (him usually on the bottom at that point). I said, “I thought you were being nice and giving me room to get out,” and he said, “No, I was trying.” Which, given his skill level, I’m going to take as a compliment even if he’s fudging a bit.

At that point I was way too tired to jump on Glenn, so I promised to get him next time.

Validation

bjj3008

Some things won’t get fixed until the Band-Aid is ripped off. –Richard Moran

I have some generalized bitching to do. It does tie into BJJ (doesn’t everything, eventually?), but feel free to skip it.

I am under a lot of stress right now. Part of it is resulting from the necessity of dealing with seemingly endless truckloads of nonsensical bureaucratic red tape. I have little patience for this type of thing at the best of times; and when I’m stressed out and short-tempered, I just want to start cracking some heads together. It might make them pay better attention, at least. These people are not LISTENING to me.

I tried half a dozen times to sign up for paperless e-delivery of my credit union statements (which are being mailed to me in the form of a murdered tree every month and taking up a ridiculous amount of room in my file cabinet). It didn’t work. I emailed their help line. And again. And again. Finally got a response after a month- consisting of a copy of the same instructions from the website. The ones I already followed six times and had it return error messages. I called my financial advisor. It took another week and three rounds of phone-tag to get him on the line. First he gave me a number that went to a company that had no idea who I was and what I was talking about. I called him again. Then we did a conference call with the company that handles the e-statements. It was like a 40-min call… during which I’m standing in the driveway shivering in the snow because I can’t get cell service in the house. We had to explain to the guy numerous times that no, I was not in front of the computer, and no, he could not fix this problem by reading me the instructions off the website. He was no help, but we ended with him promising to e-mail me a paper form that I would fax in. Do you think this form ever appeared in my e-mail box? Of course not.

My workplace has begun rolling out the BMI sanctions. Everyone is supposed to attend a 10-min “health screening” so that they can record your weight and height. I e-mailed human resources to ask if the screeners were qualified to write the waivers for those of us whose BMI’s are skewed due to excess muscle mass. She responded with an explanation of what the “health screenings” consist of and what they are for. I responded with a polite version of, that’s nice, but you did not address my question. I explained the waivers and asked what those of us in that situation are supposed to do. She responded with an explanation of what a BMI is and that the company’s focus is to encourage people with out-of-range BMI’s to diet and exercise so that we can promote a heathier workforce.

Sometimes I feel like I’m talking to brick walls. I think I’m going to start inserting random profanities, nursery rhymes and cookie recipes into my conversations and e-mails just to see if I get a reaction. ***ANY*** reaction.

This is the person in the human resources office who was assigned to answer employee questions about the BMI program, and she has never even heard of the waivers. This does nothing to reassure me that the company is going to handle this competantly. I’ll be damned if I will submit to a “health screening”. Once they have those numbers, I can’t put the genie back in the bottle. I’m confident that they **WILL** be misused, and then I’m stuck with all the stresses and headaches of trying to do damage control with the not-listening, red-tape bureacracy after the fact. It’s better that they not have the data. Problem is, refusing to get on their little merry-go-round is going to gyp me out of hundreds of dollars in health insurace premiums. Financially, the obese people who submit to the screenings will end up paying less than me. This is exactly the type of shit I knew I’d be wading in the first time I saw the news about the BMI program.

My boss took me into her office this morning to chew me out about something that had happened at 7pm on 2/3. Obviously, I had gotten out of bed, driven to work, done this wrong thing, drove back home and went back to bed, and then reappeared at work three hours later at my normal time pretending that I had not been involved in this nefarious activity. I explained this to her, and she looked at the time stamps and acknowledged that there was no physical way that I could have been the person responsible for this error…. then proceeded to explain why it was wrong and what a hassle it caused and what should have been done instead. I repeated 4 times, like a robot, “That’s a good thing to explain to whomever did this. I didn’t do this.” I controlled my words, but I’m afraid that a little emotion may have crept into my tone of voice after the first couple reps. Then she told me that my quarterly review would be next week. Wonderful. Thank you. I can’t wait to hear all about my errors *and* my surly attitude.

I could go on… this is how my entire month has been, seriously, I have eight or ten ongoing situations on the burner here that are playing this same movie. but I am just feeling my fuse getting shorter and shorter, and I need to do a reset and get a grip before I start painting walls with blood around here.

I am realizing that besides the prevalent theme of “HELLO YOU ARE NOT LISTENING TO WHAT I’M TELLING YOU, DUMBASS”, the thing that’s tying all these incidents together is that I am having a repetitive and compounded defensive reaction to what feels like me being invalidated.

I am well aware that my poor self-esteem is at the root of this emotional overreaction. It’s like, “I have a mental soundtrack playing 24/7 telling me how much I suck; I do *NOT* need *YOU* to tell me more about how much I suck!!!!!!!” It’s even worse when it’s something that I know is a false accusation, like the work thing that is really not my fault and the BMI that really does not mean I’m a fat lazy sow.

There are a few things that need to happen here. These are destructive patterns, and I need to do something differently in order to disrupt the pattern. First thing: I need to notice when this song starts, and just take a moment to tell myself, “Here is that pattern again. Here is your blood pressure rising. Here is the defensiveness. It’s okay to feel this way. The manner in which you have been habitually responding to it have not been working out very well for you. Now just take a moment to consider before you react.”

I think one thing that I need to resolve to do is to stop the cycle of repeatedly explaining things to people who are not listening to me, and wasting my time, and getting more and more frustrated. Next time I find myself there, I think I need to get over the reticence about appearing impolite, and the aversion to causing a confrontation, and just look them in the eye and say, “I’m sorry, you must not have heard what I just said to you.” and pause long enough to let them grasp that we’re breaking the script. (I consider myself a good communicator, so the failure to resolve these incidents heaps another spoonful of “you suck” on the pile. Didn’t I explain it well enough? This must be my fault too. The objective reality, I think, is that yes I did- the other person is not listening, which is their failing and not mine. But even if I can truly internalize that (which is a struggle), I still have to resolve the practical aspects of the issue somehow.)

Another thing that needs to happen is that I need to explore methods for resisting feeling invalidated by other people. Why is it- KNOWING that my body is healthy and that I diet and exercise more than 97% of the population, I still fly into a head-exploding, defensive rage at being told that I “need to diet and exercise” by some human resources drone who doesn’t know me from Adam? And whom I know for a fact is simply wrong? Why can’t I just blow her off? Well, because her judgement- anyone’s judgement- is automatically regarded as more valid than my own. Which means that if she says I’m a fat lazy sow, I really must *be* a fat lazy sow. If my boss insists on correcting me on someone else’s mistake, well, maybe I did make that mistake after all. Or I might do so in the future. Or I should take the responsibility for it even if I didn’t make it. Not only do I suck, my perceptions are wonky and I can’t trust my own judgement. That’s a sad and SCARY place to be.

This is giving other people way too much power over me, as well as using up a lot of my energy and just making me feel like crap. And I’m not getting the objectives solved (“What’s your objective?” my former shrink liked to remind me, when I got too sidetracked by trying to wring justice out of my exchanges and forgot the original point of said exchange).

This definitely plays into the most destructive block in my training- my defeatist attitude. Fortunately, I train with mostly nice folks and I don’t have a lot of people telling me to my face that I suck. Occasionally I have a situation such as Hostility Boy treating me with unveiled contempt, or getting plowed by multiple white belts in succession, or having a brand new no-stripe white belt offer to show me how to do some BJJ, which makes me feel invalidated. This is part of the angst of being forced to wear belts as well. Wearing a colored belt is making an assertion to yourself and others around you that you have a certain level of skill. It is sort of INVITING challenges to your feeling of validation, especially if you have a hard time keeping up competitively with those of your own rank or lower.

Might write more on this later. It is definitely a big issue that I need to do something with, for the sake of my training, my career and pretty much all other aspects of my life. But right now I need to gird up and make myself tackle one more set of phone calls to some bureaucrats.

Dang. I have way too much practical crap to deal with right now to get sucked into one of these big navel-contemplating self-help projects. But isn’t that the way it always goes.