I’m still working on a post about what it's like to be a woman who trains. And now I have pics to share of New Year’s Eve. Happy new year, everyone!
Meantime, here’s something else for your reading pleasure.
One thing that has made me feel more feminine lately, in addition to 1) chopping off about 7 inches o overcompensatory but notably unconvincing hair (now I have a bob), 2) getting a mani-pedi with my mom, 3) starting to use many of the bath and beauty products I got for Christmas (depending on my mood, I can smell like candy canes, juniper berries, olive oil and green tea, or spiced vanilla), is toning down on the “representing.” At last count, without exaggeration, I had just under a bazillion BJJ/grappling t-shirts. They are mostly made for guys (no nipping in at the waist to show that I actually have a waist), and when you put one on, you basically have to wear jeans, shorts, or sweats with it. Plus, a lot of them have masculine slogans or artwork on them. I don’t wear Serious Pimp clothing (mostly because I obviously am one), but I have been known to wear shirts featuring bloody-muzzled bulldogs or the saying “Tap, Snap, or Nap.” I swear, my neck actually thickens when I have one of those shirts on.
Add to that ensemble some flip flops a messy bun or a beanie, a Sherpa, and some dried sweat (after I have competed or trained), and you have a definite STATEMENT. And while that statement is not necessarily, “I am a dude,” it is also not “I am woman. See my prettiness.” In my friend Colette’s opinion, the statement is “Thug Life,” which is what she nicknamed me upon seeing me for the first time after almost a year; I happened to be wearing pretty much the exact outfit described above, hood on the Sherpa on my head for added thuggishness.
When I first started my trip, I had left a job and a home. I had put my stuff in storage, and I had almost irrevocably freaked out myself and my entire family. In retrospect, I think I needed to identify with something. So I identified with grappling and made a point, conscious or not, of dressing like a grappler all the time. Even my car dresses like a grappler all the time, adorned as it is with grappling bumper stickers.
Of course, some of that is simply expediency. There’s no sense in putting on nice clothes after you have sweated and before you have showered (welcome to the competition world). Or wearing nice clothes to work in a gear shop when you have to lift boxes and shelve inventory. And since that’s mostly what I do, it makes sense that I’d typically dress that way. But it’s only mostly what I do, not entirely. So maybe it’s time for the pendulum to swing back the other way. And now that I have some nicer clothes, maybe I’ll attract some reasons to wear them. And it doesn’t mean I’m not still a grappler first and foremost. It just means it’s time to give expression to other parts of my personality again. I’ve been thinking of getting rid of all my bumper stickers too, probably for the same reason. Before, I needed an identity to cling to. Now, it’s just more of an ego trip.
So I’m headed to a good place in the scary recesses of my brain and my heart. Next step is to do girly things with girlfriends. I got to do the mani/pedi with my mom over the holidays (and to work out with my dad, which is important to me because I love spending time with my dad, and doing so brings out the girly in me by making me feel squishy/sentimental), and next weekend Becca and I are going to go shopping, me for barrettes, makeup, and stuff from Bath and Body Works, to which I have a gift certificate from my sister. Hey, that pink gi isn’t sounding too out there anymore.