Accidental Wins

There was something on my work shirt this morning. Chocolate? Drool? I don’t know what it was. I tried to wipe it off but it was reluctant to leave. 

I was already at work and didn’t have an extra shirt of my own.

In the storage closet of extra shirts there were Smalls, 6XLs, 2XLS, Mediums and XLs. 

I wear a Large. A unisex Large. Since July 2010 when I first started at this company, I’ve always worn a Large. Not sized up, not down.  Until very recently I’ve always had to stretch my shirts out before putting them on and never ever ever did I put them in the dryer. 

Recently, I haven’t had to stretch new shirts. Recently, they’ve started to fit directly out of the dryer. That’s been a nice thing. A lovely surprise. 

Today, 5 minutes before starting work I frantically looked at the XL and I looked at the Medium and thought “well, I think if I stretch it out, the Medium will maybe work. Enough to get through the day at least.”

I tugged the shirt over my head and pulled it down. I rotated my shoulders. I smoothed my hand over my belly, the part of me I always try to hide. I looked down, surprised. 

No stretching needed. The shirt fit. A MEDIUM SHIRT FIT. I was so shocked. I walked/ran to the bathroom and made sure there wasn’t some weird gas in the storage closet that threw off my mental acoustics and staged whispered to myself “we are NOT going to cry in this work bathroom.”

Seven years of Large work shirts. Seven years of stretching shirts and hanging them up to dry. Seven years of diets and workouts and body concerns and Large shirts. 

Today feels really damn good. 

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Krav Maga: Not Gaga’s Alter Ego

When I tell people I do Krav Maga, there’s mostly confusion.

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To be fair, Krav (rhymes with mauve) Maga (reaaaal southern “mah gawd” minus the ‘d’) isn’t super obvious at first. Its not a martial art, but it’s got a lot of martial arts in it and was clearly influenced by them. In Hebrew it translates to “close combat.” It’s a self-defense system developed by Imi Litchfield and the Israeli Defense Force into a program often taught to law enforcement professionals and really, really ridiculously good looking 5’8″ women from the northwest corner of Washington State.

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There’s no rules save this: “Get home safe.” If you need to bite, scratch, scream, use a weapon–all of it’s allowed–there’s no limits since it’s not a martial art. It isn’t bound by a ring or titles or belts but accessible to everyone despite your experience and physical fitness level.

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A coworker asked me this week after learning that I practice Krav, “Do you really think you’ll be able to remember those moves under stress, in a fight?” I sat for a second in thought. A fight doesn’t subscribe to rules. An attacker doesn’t respect any combination practiced. But the one thing that I know for sure that Krav has given me is the knowledge that I can and will fight beyond when my body wants to give up; despite tears, pain, blood, sore muscles and less-than-idea-conditions I’m growing a fighting spirit.

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While living in Daegu, I did some boxing and found that I really liked the workout as well as the community vibe of sweat dripping off one’s nose with friends.

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And now, I do the same thing, except with kicking. And elbows. Possibly teeth on the street. Definitely with the knees.

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In February 2016 I started a 6-month weight loss survey with Northwestern University that needed me to track minutes of working out. Only problem? I didn’t have a gym. I started doing recon in the area and I knew that my job would give me $300/year as a gym reimbursement. There was a free women’s self-defense seminar at this place about 15 minutes by bus south of my house and in-between work and home. So….I tried it.200-6

Holy hell. These women were tough. And strong. And scary. And confident. I needed to be one of that tribe. So…I joined the gym. I passed my Level 1 certification. I went camping with them. I drank with them. I got hit and hit people. I went to their Halloween party as the BEST character and *some* people got it.

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I liked this tribe. In the end of December the owners asked if I’d consider being an instructor. WHAT.

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I don’t understand. I am still over 200 pounds. I’m still working on getting fully into 14s and making my thigh-holes in my 16s be less noticeable when on stage. THESE PEOPLE ARE ASKING ME TO CREDIBLY LEAD OTHER ADULTS IN FITNESSING.

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It was a lot to think about and take on. But ultimately I decided that I wanted to turn 30 at the end of this year knowing I was a certified (or about to be certified, depending on the testing date) Krav Maga instructor. It’s a lot of work: memorizing techniques, teaching style, class management, mats to clean, bathrooms to sanitize and that’s on top of getting my own workout in.

I want to be a Ripley. A Tulip. A Sarah Connor. A Zoe Washburne. A Ronda. A Furiousa. And I really, really want my arms to look like Emily Blunt’s in “Edge of Tomorrow.”

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But most of all, I love the idea of being a strong, fit, powerful, confident woman and sharing that knowledge with others. Krav is a tool that is helping me build a community while empowering me on and off the mat as a student, a teacher and as a woman.

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I’m strong and I’m standing, y’all.

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Now I get to pay it forward with other women too, showing them you don’t have to be a Lululemon-wearing #fitspo junkie to protect yourself and feel good in a gym (although if you are one of those people, you’re welcome too!).

Krav is for those of us with extra rolls in our groin kick. It’s for those with heart wrenching personal experiences of violence and those who thought elbowing people seemed like a cool way to mix up a workout. We’re all there for different reasons and I for one, love seeing the below photo of 30+ women giving up an hour on a Saturday morning to invest in their own safety and taking control of the narrative.

I love this thing. I love this gym. I’m loving where I’m at, where I’m going and I’m proud to be part of the Titan Family.

Fight on, y’all.

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Photo Courtesy of Titan Gym; Monthly Free Women’s Self-Defense Seminar April 2017

The Wheels on the Bus, They Go.

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There hasn’t been a lot going on since the last post 2 weeks ago; the wheels are indeed going round and round (round and round). Last weekend I spent Saturday and Sunday on a solo walkabout at Seomun Market, reveling in the fact that I’m living in Korea, a completely foreign country. Riding the subway in a car with 70 people, and I’m the only foreigner. Walking among fish heads and baby clothes in the market, not one word of English to be heard. And reminding myself, “there’s nowhere I need to be. I’m here, in this moment. I’m doing the thing.” 

Which, even to my own ears, sounds ridiculously cheesy. But it’s been very empowering to know that I’m able to get downtown, to the subway, add money to my transit card, get to the stop, walk a couple miles around with people who I’ll never see again, speaking a language that I don’t think I’ll ever get the hang of, and get back to the village, alive and in one piece. After living in Korea, I kind of think I can do anything. 

Right now I don’t have any big plans on the horizon; then again, I didn’t plan Seoul or Busan more than 4 days out anyways. Hopefully the weather will stop acting like Hades soon and I’ll be able to visit some parks and mountains without sweating fresh to death.

This week I conquered the first out of 13 weeks of P90X and you know what? I’m really proud. I never sat down. I never stopped. And now I’m looking at Monday and a whole new week with a bit of a groan (and tight calves), if I can do 1 week, I can do 13 weeks.

Apologies that this isn’t more exciting–sometimes life isn’t the big festival 5k, it’s the day-to-day grind and sweat–and it’s about pushing play every day and probably buying more sports bras to go along with it. 

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Survival of the Fitter.

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Not too much to report from this week, it was pretty quiet and I like it like that (now you know how I feeeeeel. Can you handle my love? Are you for reeeeal?) However, this next week is going to be by far my toughest yet.

Monday: Teach all day.

Tuesday: Teach ADULTS all day.

Wednesday: rinse & repeat Tuesday

Thursday: same, but add a Night Activity 6:15-7:40.

Friday: teach a 1-day middle school field trip–usually we only teach 3 periods on Fridays, and end with lunch and a quick “wave tunnel” as students leave by 1:30. INSTEAD a few of us “lucky” ones get to teach a 4, 5 and 6th period and then a wave tunnel. So I get to work until 4 on Friday.

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: move to new dorms, hopefully (if furniture has showed). So, I’ll work Thursday and Thursnight, Friday, and have to be done moving all of the things by Friday night. Not that I have a ton, but it doesn’t feel like much time to pack or move things across campus and up a hill.

Saturday: OH JOY, I DONE SIGNED UP FOR OVERTIME. Seriously, this paycheck better be a fatty. So I’ll teach 5 periods today as well.

Saturday at 5pm: pass out on new floor and sleep 24 hours. Pray that wifi is set up there.

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So that’s the word on the street. I’m currently working on a “these things are SUPER DIFFERENT, Y’ALL, post which will explore showering and movie theater etiquette.

PS: Beard, you know the Spice Girls reference was just for you.

PPS: I have ONE Diet Coke left. And I think we all know that I’m drinking it this week.

PPPS: I ran 3k yesterday! Without stopping or slowing down! Fitness, you are getting owned. And then I weighed in for the first time since last Sunday and gained a pound. Dang it.

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