Saturday, February 12, 2011

Dirty Little Secret

My cousin is a blue belt. Before I started jiu jitsu, I asked him what he liked about it. He said that it was the only sport he had tried since soccer that made him feel so alive and invigorated afterward. Recently I have been feeling the same way after my mat sessions. I feel in touch with my body, alert, and powerful. Then why do I feel like my jiu jitsu practice is such a dirty little secret?

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.


  1. Wendy's or Bahamas... Hmm, I can't decide. However, I'm absolutely positive that I have a dirty little secret too. I don't discuss martial arts with my coworkers, unless they are also my friends. Most people just wouldn't understand. There is a rumor running around that I am a black belt in TKD... I just let the mystery be. When I hear the whispers, I will smile to myself and think, if they only knew...

    BTW, I'm glad you finaly got those frilly underwear. I'm sure they look smashing under your gi! Happy Valentine's Day and I hope you enjoy your trip.

  2. Maybe there will be a Wendy's in the Bahamas?? Thank you and HVD to you, too!

  3. Yeah...I have the same "Secret" with my coworkers. ALL my friends know, and my closest coworkers do, but I don't bring it up at work or at church. I'm not ashamed, but I've found there's just little point in bringing it up to people who don't know me well.

    I feel you on the talk of material possessions. My friend-base is mostly comprised of very down to earth people, but any time I get around my technical peer group (corporate, graduate educated women in the early 30s), the talk of granite counter tops and purse prices just...sounds like so much noise now. Don't get me wrong...I don't see anything wrong with those things and love home design and fashion, but I just don't see much point in burning large amounts of time discussing them.

    And if you're sailing out of Lauderdale, we've got some GREAT BJJ schools down here if you want to stop by:)

  4. We're leaving from NYC. : (
    Until Husband bailed on vacation (took the wrong week off...)Lauderdale was a top choice. Maybe next year cause that would be AWESOME!
    You remind me of when I bought a Pandora charm for my sister. I didn't really know what to buy and the salesMAN pointed to a purse charm and said, "How about this? Women love purses!" I was like, "Really? Thanks for filling me in, cause, like, I'M A WOMAN, dude!"

  5. I have decided to get a pedicure tomorrow. You've inspired me. :)

  6. One mat session and it's all ruined, RUINED I say! Hope yours lasts longer than mine.

  7. Hahaha I'm with all of you sisters. I confess, I love my eyelash extensions, they make me look all Bambi-eyed and movie star-esque, and I love to get a pedicure. But at the same time, I love being a rough-and-tumble tomboy who can choke a boy out. I have always taken pride in being low maintenance and yet loving shoe shopping. I love that this sport has room for all of us :)


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