Sunday, January 12, 2014

These Feet Are Deadly Weapons!

“What are you doing?” Husband asked.
“I’m soaking my feet.”
“You’re soaking your feet?”
“Yes, I’m soaking my feet,” Shark Girl replied.
“Right now?”
“Is it a problem?”
“Well, no. It just seems a bit weird.”
“That I’m soaking my feet?”
“I’ve never seen you soak your feet before.”
“I’m just full of surprises after 17 years of marriage.”
“But you’re soaking your feet now?” Husband asked.
“What’s wrong with now?”
“It’s first thing in the morning.” This meant Husband was offended that the pull of soaking my feet, which to his eye I had never done before, was stronger than the pull of his warm, supple, enveloping, marital-bed embrace. How insulting that I would choose to soak my feet instead of luxuriating in a few more minutes of un-child-disturbed conjugal bliss!
“When would you like me to do it?” I queried.
“I don’t know . . . never? Because I’ve never seen you do it before.”
He’s right, he hasn’t seen me soak my feet before. The peppermint foot soak I strewed into the tub is about as old as Son #1, perhaps older; I can’t remember when I received it. As a gift when I was pregnant with him 12 years ago? I haven’t needed it before.
In my 43 years, I have tortured my feet more than most people I know. I have run marathons and half marathons and 10ks and 5ks and completed days of aerobics, with step and without. I have done yoga and danced the night away with others and alone in my basement, sometimes wearing tap shoes or high heels, sometimes not. I have spent weeks in chlorine-filled pools. I have been standing on my feet for most of my working life, from waitressing to teaching, taking a break only to be an administrative assistant for three or four years, but still choosing to walk up the six flights of stairs to my office. Let’s face it . . . these tootsies have seen some action. And not once, not once, have I felt the need to soak my feet. 
I have looked at others’ feet and shuddered: what was that on their heels? What was that rough, calloused-looking, cracked white crap on their goddamned heels? How did it get there? I prided myself on my thickened, but still pinkish and soft, feet. I would try to judge whether my feet would ever succumb to that scourge of foot-tractiveness: She’s much younger than me, and she doesn’t exercise nearly as intensely! That means I’m in good shape! I will NEVER get that disturbing foot look, NEVER! Bwa-ha-ha!
Well, call it the poetic justice of the smug, but I recently noticed a white film forming on my beloved heels. Not to worry, I thought. Not to worry, heh heh! I don’t have those feet! Until, my dear friends, until the night before that conversation with Husband.

Lying in bed, settling into a pre-sleep snuggle (my favorite part of the day) I swept my feet along Husband’s downy legs, creating that beautiful, warm friction that defrosts my cold tootsies.
“Ow!” Husband cried out. “Stop it!
Ow? Ow. Shit just got real.
Why now, after 43 years of foot abuse, are my feet hurting Husband? I’ll tell you why, goddamn it, and I don’t even care if it’s true, it’s what I’m blaming it on. Those goddamned mats. Yes, those mats. Those mats that are cleaned (thank god) with bleach. 43 years of punishment, but it took only 3 years on those g-d mats to turn my feet into scaled dragon talons. WTF?

Does it work on feet, too? I could take a tip from Madge the Manicurist!
When I finally confided in Husband why I was soaking my feet, he said, “That was your feet? I thought it was your toenails.” So, my friends, soak my feet I must. And get out that foot butter. I’ll be using it religiously until my feet are no longer considered a lethal weapon other than for the sick chokes they deal out.

Friday, January 3, 2014

Blue Belt Blues

I am sitting here on a snow day from school, a snow day that should have been worse, that could have had me up and out the door at 7 to teach the children, and I am wondering what I should write about. These days meaningful tidbits come up less often. When I first started BJJ, everything was momentous. Everything was something to write about. I needed help and support and cheerleading for every little thing, from which undergarments to wear to how to wash my gi. I would drive home from a class with ideas for posts sprouting out in all directions. But now, well, my training has become mundane, in the sense that on a daily basis it is nothing special.

I once read some snide poster on some BJJ board write that all female white belts started a blog and then dropped it once they became blue belts. He was belittling our women’s voice in BJJ. I interpret the phenomenon differently. It speaks to how isolated women who start BJJ feel. At the beginning, there are few people, if any, in their gyms that can give them the help and support they need, so they turn to the Internet. That’s what I did. But, if they haven’t dropped out by the time they make blue belt, guess what? They must have found some support and guidance, found a place where they belong. Because really, who, guy or girl, could make it to blue belt without support and guidance? So I get it. Since I’ve become a blue belt I’ve had less to talk about, I’ve needed less day-to-day support.

As I look through my blogging archives, I see that my posts have become less frequent. Either that means I am really supported, or I am uninspired. Perhaps a little of both. Some days I wonder whether it’s time to pack up the blog. Do I really need it any longer? Is it serving a function? If I shut it down, am I just another notch on that douchey poster’s 2-stripe white belt (although he’s probably quit by now)? Am I just another female blogger that stopped after she hit blue belt? I gotta say, I am motivated more than I should be by proving douchebags wrong. That’s part of what appeals to me about BJJ.

I notice that other female blue-belt bloggers who are still in the game sometimes change their focus. I started this blog to make sure I didn’t quit jiu jitsu. It has served its purpose. I’m not sure I have another focus. If I do, it’s not yet clear. If you start to hear less frequently from Shark Girl, don’t panic. I am still here. I may decide to sunset Shark Girl BJJ, but I will never sunset Shark Girl!

Happy 2014!




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It is a turning point for Shark Girl. I haven’t written in a while. When I was a white belt, everything was new and curious. And being ...