Friday, March 23, 2012

I am a Rock

I've had an interesting week.  One night I have no recollection of falling to sleep sideways across my bed, and waking up in a funk that make me feel very "out of body" and foggy through lunchtime the next day. I've had long days at work, but I suppose many of us do - not a complaint, just part of the picture.  I wrestled twice.  I lifted once.  I went to the gym once only to decide that it was too late and I wasn't mentally ready to do what I do with the intensity that I do it, so I went home.

I video taped one of my training sessions and this week: from leaving work to drive to they Citadel, to changing in the bathroom, to wrestling, to making it out to my car afterwards to come home.  I just need a few minutes to stitch all the pieces together into something short to share.  I don't know that there are any other 50+  year old women wrestlers actively training to compete so it's a unique moment that I felt needs to be captured.  There won't be many more days (or opportunities) like this.

Natalie Reed wrote what I feel is a very good, comprehensive, well-thought, compelling blog entry about the ongoing conundrum many trans-women face with regards to outing themselves to a partner or to a potential partner.  Yes/No?  Under what circumstances?  How?  Why?  It's very much worth a read (read it here).

In a totally unrelated, but in my mind - still related - story there's news about a woman of trans history who transitioned at an early age, recently won the right to compete for Miss Universe from Canada, and suddenly had all her information deleted from the pageant website (read it here).

Regardless of how you feel about dating, or beauty pageants, or sports - the continuous theme that flows through all of this is definition of what constitutes a "real" woman.  That's the rub - that some women are NOT woman enough because of past circumstance to be accepted as such in what is generally considered uniquely woman space.  That's the thread that connects bathrooms, birth certificates, proms, athletics - you name it.  Some think you can hide from that if you try hard enough.  I do not, nor will I.

In one of the articles I posted the author posted a compelling argument of why it shouldn't be necessary to self-disclose.  And in the other this particular stunningly beautiful woman has been open and honest about her history from early on, and now it's costing her.  Damned if you do, damned if you don't.....many times  that's just the way it is.

That's what I try to explain as people start wading into this pool called transition to test the waters.  There is generally a cost.  For everything in life.  But at the same time, there can be rewards beyond measure for those willing to take the risk.  But that cost is often one that stretches a lifetime and is measured in relationships, lost opportunities, daily indignities of having to validate yourself to those who would invalidate you....all the way to being victimized and having your personhood taken.

As I approach my competition next weekend I feel that way - damned if I do and damned if I don't.  But it's something I have chosen to do and, well, the argument of whether I should or not is significantly overshadowed by the argument of whether I can or not.  We'll see how things unfold....but I'm pretty good at staying focused on the things I can control and letting go of the things I can't.

One of the real life pressures I've placed on myself right now is something I've been mentioning in recent weeks, and is now becoming all too real.  I need to get down to my competition weight.  That's one of the things that makes this sport unique, and as I've said in the past my weight class is ten pounds lighter than my body likes to be at or that feels natural.

I suppose society in general has a "thing" about weight.  One of the women I work with weighs herself every single day.  But the reality for me is that all this work - everything I've put into getting to this point simply to get out onto a mat to compete - is dependent upon my ability to get to 158.75 pounds for at least a minute next Saturday afternoon for weigh-in.  There is no padding.  And soon, there is no time left.

I've struggled mightily with this in recent weeks.  One part of me has tried to lose the weight gradually to get down there but I find myself weak, tired, demoralized, dehydrated, and unmotivated to the point that I need to get out of that funk.  I've faced that and brought myself back from that edge several times in recent weeks only to be where I am.

My mom hated this part of the sport.  She hated the violent physical nature of it, too, but the weight thing was ongoing for me way back then just as it is now.  But this isn't something I plan to keep off, it's just something I need to reach.  It's a test of will, and as I face the coming week I'm SIGNIFICANTLY over my limit (but feeling strong, fairly motivated, and fairly hydrated).  So - next week will be a pretty intense week in many ways.....

As I was training with one of the coaches tonight we were talking about doing this particular move strong, with purpose, as though you mean it.  I found myself thinking about that on the way home - about living live in general as though you mean it.  As though there was purpose.  Head high, chest out, not timid or apologetic or tentative.  When you make decisions - make decisions.  Those are all life mantras I've tried to live by and in one way or another I can trace some of that back to whatever inside of me finds this particular sport so compelling.  Compelling in ways that transcend athletics....

Anyway - that's a bit of a brain dump of what I'm thinking right now and how I'm feeling and I suppose it's good to do those kinds of things from time to time.

I'll post the little unflattering as it is....shortly.

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