I went to class today nursing what I think is a bruised rib from rolling over a classmate’s foot on Wednesday. It’s nothing some ibuprofen can’t handle, but it reaggravates easily. One of the reasons I started jiu jitsu was to distract myself from the blight of winter. I also promised that I would take a warm weather respite to help jump start my mood. Next week Oldest Son and I are going on a cruise to Florida and the Bahamas. (Youngest Son, four, told me that while we are gone, his father is taking him to Wendy’s for lunch. Gloating, he said, “Too bad; you have to go to the Bahamas!”) I won’t have any jiu jitsu for over a week, but it will give my rib time to heal.
My feet were still ragged from their half marathon this fall; toenails cracked . . . well, I’ll spare you all the gruesome details. After class I took a quick lunch and headed to the salon for my first French pedicure of the year (and then some frilly underwear shopping, but I digress . . . ). Rest assured, a pedicure was definitely long overdue. I wouldn’t cut the ship’s “resort casual” dress code otherwise.
As I sat in the massage chair, I could see the pedicurist wondering disapprovingly at the bruises on my legs. The salon was fairly quiet until a klatsch of middle-aged women swarmed in about the time I sat down at the “foot dryer.” I was indulging in old People magazines and taking deep breaths to assess my self-diagnosed rib bruise. The klatsch surrounded me and I was engulfed by their urgent, idle chatter about such themes as status, wealth, and material goods. I took another deep breath.
These women are my peers. We live in the same town, we go to the same salon, we have children in the same schools, we flip through the same magazines. However, I was keenly aware that they most likely did not have jiu jitsu bruises on their bodies. Would they be mortified if they did? I could imagine the pin-drop silence if I brought up martial arts (unless it had to do with their children). Eleven years ago, when we were looking for a house, Husband eschewed the suburbs. “It’s where people go to die,” he said dramatically. “Maybe,” I said, “but we don’t have to be those people.”
Some of you have been wondering about my March deadline. Give me until June. I’m having too much fun right now with my dirty little secret. Perhaps I’m having fun because it is a dirty little secret. Monday night I will walk on the mat sporting freshly groomed toes and some new undergarments. And by the way, I’m not scared anymore. I feel alive.