And you hold it down there long enough
As brooks that babble and birds that sing.
Three things will all your world compose-
Just you, the grindstone, and your darned old nose.
“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
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.
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.
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.
Ecstasy is not a faraway, unreachable dimension. It is right here, just a few feet away from the sleep of the senses. -Daniele Bolelli, On The Warrior’s Path
Saturday lunchtime BJJ in Seattle.
I had forgotten about the training camp… the visiting black belt who is doing the training camp was running basics class. I hid in the locker room because if I’d gone out to sit by the mat and watch, Rodrigo would have insisted I go on the mat even though I didn’t pay for the training camp, and I’m not fishing for charity.
I had a good stretching session, did some Tai Chi short form, then Chen Dao and Catherine Dao with a coat hanger substituting for the dao.
Competition class. Positional sparring. I wasn’t doing that great, but I also had a very challenging group of people to deal with. Rodrigo divided us up into pods by size and rank, and I was in the “Small But Mighty” group- Suranjan, Lindsey, Z, Coach Dynamo, a couple of others, but no easy marks.
I love watching Z and Suranjan fight- I told Lindsey that they look like a couple of overcaffeinated ferrets. With ten legs apiece. And rabies. In a clothes dryer set on Fast Spin. They just whirl in a blurred little furious ball and you can hardly even follow the action.
One long roll with a Small But Mighty blue belt that I’m not familiar with. I spent almost the entire time struggling to pass his guard, with a couple of brief intervals where I found myself on the bottom and he was passing *my* guard. My guard passes are decent- but damn, he played excellent guard.
Then I got Cindy, who had just come in and was nice and fresh. It quickly became apparent the The Move Of The Day was the crucifix. Before long, my objective of “survive” became “try to last thirty seconds without finding yourself crucifixed.” We did some standup, too (no-gi). I feel so intimidated trying to do standup with Cindy. I felt like I was doing really terrible overall, but she told me I was good. It really is impossible to tell how I’m doing when I’m rolling with Cindy…. I just know that lying on the bottom like a possum is bad.
Turtle Drum. This was interesting. I walked in and set my stuff down, and immediately Jen pounces on me because my rug is too close to the altar and there is too much water in my mug (!). “You’re breaking all the rules!” I was aghast. I shoved my rug back against the wall and dumped half the water into a plant (this was a mug of water with a little floating turtle candle in it, for the altar). “But if we don’t get that many people, you’ll need to be closer in than that.” “In that case, I’ll move.” “Oh, do whatever you want.” She flaps her hands and walks away.
Five minutes later, here she is again: “Wow, why did I just jump down your throat like that? Guess it’s turned into a knee-jerk reaction whenever I see you in here, ha ha.”
What the hell????!?!? We had a whole freaking encounter session about her cutting me down with her criticism to the point that I didn’t even want to be a facilitator for this event any more. She wants me to come back and run this shindig- ideally next month- but within sixty seconds of my entering the building as a mere participant, she’s all up my butt. And the most bizarre part of that was not even questioning the amount of water in my mug, it was the fact that I could see that she was wrestling with herself to try to narrow my list of sins to just those two…. she, like, visibly bit her tongue and stopped herself after the “rug” and “water”. What is going on here? Is she subconsciously threatened by me? Is she a drama whore? Is this just how she reacts to stress? Are we really stuck in this dynamic? I don’t want to deal with that from her while I’m trying to run a big public event. That will freak me out.
She also did some of the same things tonight that she raked me over the coals for not doing: she did almost no closing at the end (called quarters at the beginning but did not close them at the end; if you’re going to do one, you really should do both), and didn’t shill for money, which was the biggest thing we clashed about that last time.
Otherwise: I had brought the “Tom Ox” drum for the first time, and I think it did well. Also, Tiala (doumbek)- had one very nice song with that- egg shaker, water drum, double woodblock, and the large-size ocarina. It turned out to be a flutey and whistley night. That was mostly really nice, although two or three of them did get a little out of hand a couple of times. I had never used the ocarina here before, but when everybody was making a big flute section, I gave it a try. At first it seemed like it was not in a compatible key, but I went up an octave and found a five-note sequence that seemed to harmonize well.
There was quite a bit of toning and chanting, which people seem to really enjoy, so I’m always happy to see that (and help it along). Some dancing, which to me is also a good indicator of a drum circle going well.
Jen was unhappy with the entire schmeer musically. Thekla also felt that there was some weirdness here and there. I thought it went fine. (And oftentimes, even when the more experienced people at a drum circle think it was a disaster, the newbies still had a blast.)
I was pretty much resolved to go back and try facilitating a Turtle Drum again, but now I’m vascillating (again). I’m not sure if I can deal in a constructive manner with having Jen riding my ass and undermining my confidence while I’m trying to focus on leading a group ritual (which is nervewracking enough when you *don’t* have an authority figure looming over you with a scorecard in her hand).
Having her experience a completely different eval of the energy than I did makes me question my own ability to read the circle. I might have been tempted to write it off as more clash-dynamic if Thekla had not mentioned something “off” as well. Think I will make an open-ended request for participant feedback on the Facebook group (If my internet connection ever comes up again… sigh).
I spent part of the day in the hospital lobby with my laptop and a bag of candy corn, because internet is still down at my place. The Facebook feedback about TD is very positive. Jen bought up the fact that she dropped the ball on the closing. She feels that there was an out-of-control level of “catharsis” going on. I remarked that I think a certain level of “catharsis” is inevitable for an event that close to Samhain, with the theme of “Release into the Beauty of Darkness”, and a few participants had also created a lovely and powerful altar to those who have gone ahead. What do you expect? Kittens and Tinkerbell? I didn’t percieve it as having gotten out of hand.
I ranted some more on Facebook/blogs/forums about Schultz/Maldonado and LI, and got some conversations and shares among my own contacts on it, so that’s a good thing.
Bree sent me photos of three big bruises that I gave her in class the other day.
I should mention- just in case I turn up dead- that the assassin songbird is back. Phock, phock, phock, against the window. He wakes me up every morning at the crack of dawn and comes back periodically all day long to fling himself tirelessly against the glass. Either constant practice at flinging yourself against window glass is like most other things and you get better with more reps, or he’s flitting off to the gym and getting in a little Crossfit between kamikaze bouts- because he’s getting better. The inital soft thumps have turned into hard, sharp raps- to the point that I periodically go downstairs to see if he’s managed to crack the window yet. He’s also figured out that if he goes to the little north-side window, there is some ivy he can perch on and chain his phocks so as to get several blows in succession. So maybe he’s not *quite* as dumb as he seems, or maybe he got this suggestion from his asassin decoder ring. I wonder who put out the hit on me, and for how much.