Broken toes and gender roles

If your nose is held to the grindstone rough
And you hold it down there long enough
Soon you’ll say there’s no such thing
As brooks that babble and birds that sing.
Three things will all your world compose-
Just you, the grindstone, and your darned old nose.
-Julia Cameron
Thursday BJJ in Kirkland. Several basic guard passes, all of which I have done enough at this point to be able to focus on detail, speed and the Stupid Side.
Several spars, all of which I took the rough side of (with the exception of a new white belt woman)
Friday BJJ in Bellevue. Several guard passes, including a couple of the ones from yesterday.
One spar, in which I let a new white belt woman work upas on me, and ended up breaking my big right toe. She felt *really* bad, even though I assured her it wasn’t anything she did (and it wasn’t; it was just one of those things). After I rolled around whimpering for a few minutes, I got back up and said, “Let’s go again,” Partly to reassure both myself and her that this too would pass; and partly because I knew from experience how this would go. I would be able to do a little more (painful) sparring, before the injury swelled/stiffened/became more mechanically debilitating. This is useful triaging skill. I know that if I am on the path to Mordor and I break a toe, I should just press on those last fifteen miles instead of saying, “Let’s make camp and let it rest up a bit, and continue in the morning,”  In this case, it’s more of “Okay, I’m going to be on the bench for a while, so  I better get one or two more rolls in first,”  White belt looked at me very doubtfully (probably because I was kneeling with my right foot held up off the mat), but it was fine. Then I had to try to walk to the locker room and then out to the car without looking like I was limping too badly, because I didn’t want her to feel worse than she already did.
PSG- despite arranging for walking buddies ahead of time, *no* exercise happened outside of required work and two concerts with Eric (one of which I only lasted through half of). It was over 100 degrees every day, and the nights did not cool off much. I just do not do very well in those conditions. I spent way too much time parked on my arse at Herald Camp, hugging frozen gel neck wraps. Unfortunately, when you are at Herald Camp, you get fed (too much). We also happened to land right beside the Happy Hippies Food Truck. All in all, it was not a good setup for fitness and self improvement. The tuna packets worked out well, though. I have found a new appreciation for tuna and the things you can mix it up with. I will be incorporating more of this healthy item into my routine diet.
I did get those two concerts (Extreme Contact Improv For Martial Artists), which is one more than we usually get, so that was good. I did not get any face time with the guy who has been circling me for the last four years in a row with rather impressive doggedness…. which is just as well, as I have still not decided what to do about him.
The U-haul trailer as camper worked very well. Of course, having gone to all that expense and hassle, this was the second year out of twenty-something that resulted in *NO* rain, so I didn’t get to see how it performed. There was a notice on the inside warning that the trailer is “rain-resistant” and not “rain-proof”- bummer- but I still think that with the addition of a tarp on top, it should do better than a tent. I shall try this again next year. The 5×8 was the perfect size (I had asked for a smaller one, which they didn’t have). Next time I would like to try clothespinning some foil thermal blankets on top of my shade shelter. As it was, my camp was unbearable during the day. I was relieved to see that the trailer did not RETAIN heat- it wasn’t any hotter in there than it was anywhere else, with the exception of a layer of superheated air right at the top that would bake your brain if you stood upright. Sitting down- or lying on the metal floor- was not any hotter than anywhere else. Going to have to sacrifice some privacy for some trees next year, though. This site is like Wisteria in that there are precious few trees placed where you can put your camp- and I am limited in where I am allowed to park a trailer- but I’m going to have to try to get some shade next year so that I don’t die.
Ticks- my first shower resulted in removal of fourteen ticks. After that, I checked every few hours. I removed dozens. I also spent a great deal of time picking ticks out of other people’s hair and ass cracks. I actually went to the med tent (which I never do!) several times to get my itchy tick bites re-sprayed, re-bandaided, and also my poison ivy re-creamed. The Hunt space in particular was lousy with both ticks and poison ivy. I knew there was no help for it; I was just resigned to bathing in both, and so I did. I actually went to the doctor when I got home, though (again! I never do this!). That was just a hell of a lot of tick bites, and I was skeeved about it. She found one last hitch hiker hiding in my back tat. It was too late to get shots. I just have to watch for symptoms.
The new Hunt space is actually outside the camp gate- which did not thrill me, but Dru was even less happy. I’ve never been that stuck on the physical space as a strong factor in how the Hunt’s going to go, but it is definitely a minus in my eyes to be far enough away that the community can’t hear the Hunt. Other than that, no problem. I left Finn out there till the bitter end, and I would have left him out there another forty minutes if I could have. I also howled and barked in the woods to try to get the Hunters vocalizing…. it seems like once someone starts, the others feel freer to do it as well.
Michael (who did very well as Dru’s drum backup this year) brought up a point that I’m paying attention to, because I respect him. He said that it’s important for the community- especially the young women of the community- to see me as a role model in this venue. Honestly I had not looked at it that way, as my perspective was that Bo needed a backup to help with the work as well as to be able to step in and lead if he became unable. I’m perfectly content being a lieutenant. I don’t enjoy standing up in meetings and making announcements. What usually happens is that the Hunt coordinating team stands up there with Bo and he does the talking. I feel uncomfortable standing up there unless I have something pertinent to say (and sometimes I do…. if Dru’s not at the meeting, I make any needed announcements for the drum aspect of things). But usually I just stay in the crowd and Bo makes a point of waving at me at the beginning of the week and announcing that I’m part of the team. But Michael’s opinion- along with the fact that more than one person mentioned in the post mortem that they had noticed that the coordinating team was perfectly gender balanced this year, and how important that was- makes me feel as if I need to purposefully make myself more visible and audible in this role. As a female, specifically. Not very happy about this idea. It seems like egoist posturing, and all I truly care about is making sure the rit runs well. Also, as I become more and more sensitive to society’s outdated and restrictive gender-role pigeonholing and how much it annoys me, I become ever more resistant to being defined by my urinary plumbing before being defined as more important things. But hearing that message from multiple people….
When the Hunt began, the coordinating team was very Y-chromosome-heavy. This led to (among other issues) persistant rumors in the community that women were relegated to certain roles in the rit or not present/welcome in the rit at all. Those types of rumors have dispelled over the years but I think there’s still a bit of that lurking. Secondly, there’s a wealth of “fluffy-bunny-white-light” ritual. There’s nothing wrong with FBWL, but that’s not all there is…. and it’s important that *women* feel like they can move out of the Fluffy Bunny arena should they choose. Also, though it’s less of a problem in this community than in others, I do feel that women have still not reclaimed quite enough of their power/equality yet to feel comfortable moving beyond that into a place where it honestly doesn’t matter what urinary plumbing the ritual coordinators have. (It makes me sad and frustrated to think that we won’t get to this place in my lifetime.) I think I have been trying to occupy that place in my leadership roles without accepting that everyone else is not really ready for that stage yet. Feels like a slide backwards for me personally, but leadership in the Hunt is about serving the community- if they need me to do the “I Am Woman Hear Me Roar” thing, I should at least consider doing that service.



“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.

“You’re breaking all the rules!”


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).
Sun: 128.5

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.