Skip to main content

An Open Letter to My Body

Dear Body,
Let me start this off by saying that I love you. I mean sure, I wouldn't mind being a C cup, or perhaps a few inches taller, but that does not take away from my appreciation for all that you have done for me. You helped me grow and then push out a beautiful baby girl. You were strong enough to get me through multiple sparring classes and karate promotions and training sessions. You are durable and powerful and you look fairly decent in a tank top. And although no one would ever mistake you for a supermodel, you are pulling off this athletic but cute look quite successfully. So for that, I thank you.

We've been through a lot together you and I. Remember that high ranking black belt who used to regularly attend Friday night fight classes? You know the one who would get into his little fight zone where he would just keep punching you, not noticing how small and completely FEMALE you were , or how you were struggling, or that the bell had rung five minutes ago. In truth, he may have been a bit crazy, that guy.

I am sorry for him.

And body, while we are being honest with each other, I am sorry for Wednesday too. I am sorry that I let you roll with that guy.  I know he was only a blue belt, and an average one at that. He was not that much bigger than you. And he was a very friendly, helpful guy. But I still knew, without a doubt in my mind, that if I rolled with him I was going to hurt myself.
You. Us, I was going to hurt us. 

I did it anyway. I felt bad leaving him without a partner to roll with. And I wanted to train more. And to be honest, there was a little part of me that was actually looking forward to a round where I knew I had to protect you. Where no one else was going to do it for me. Isn't that what all this training is about?

It is an interesting feeling going into a BJJ round certain that you are going to get injured. I managed to keep us from being randomly elbowed in the nose, having an arm hyper-extended on an overly aggressive arm bar, and I tapped instantly to a gi choke that was clearly destined to cut our windpipe in half. The whole time I am pretty sure this nice dude thought he was going light. Who knows, maybe he was, for him? In any case, at one point he tried to get the mount, I twisted hard to my side to avoid it and felt a little pop. Then that little pop turned into a dull ache and then a sharp pain that made further twisting impossible. So I stopped rolling, explained that I was nursing an injury, and thanked him for the training session. Then I took a taxi home and you and I curled up with an ice pack.

I am not mad at that dude. It wasn't his fault. The truth is, friend, I am beginning to wonder if we are not cut out for this BJJ thing. If perhaps you are just too damn small. (Sorry, I know that's harsh.) I mean I have been trying to do it right, to use technique and brains and skill. And sometimes I really feel like we are making progress. But at least once a week someone who I know I am better than just totally smashes on top of you. Some days we are just stuck on the bottom and these dudes (and sometimes even the ladies) are so damn heavy and spazzy and speedy and my brain is not good enough yet to counter their strength or their size or their 22 year old athleticism. In truth, sometimes they are terrible at jiu-jitsu, they are all elbows and knees and heavy breathing, yet I still end up stuck on the bottom.

I am sorry about your neck last year. About the MRI and the physical therapy and the constant whining. And I am sorry about your rib on Wednesday. I am sorry I didn't listen to my instincts and sit out of that round, even though he was just another nice guy who never learned how to go slow.  I am sorry I couldn't protect you better. I am sorry about this whole BJJ thing. Especially since I plan to keep doing this torture to you. Indefinitely. 

I know I should have picked Yoga. Or curling. No one ever injures themselves in curling.

So I guess what I am really sorry for is being stubborn as all hell, for knowing that you and I are not so good at this jiu-jitsu thing but insisting on continuing with it anyway. I know that you are not getting any bigger. But maybe someday, the brain part of me will get smart enough where it will no longer matter.

Not today. Or tomorrow.
But someday. 

So here is an ice pack and some more Advil. 
Just bear with me, ok?
With love,


  1. I can relate... I am a 120lb purple belt. I just re- injured a hamstring BC I didn't listen to my 44 yr old body. I rolled with a spazzy white belt. I should have just stayed tight... Defended when he got rough despite telling him we were rolling light. But I got frustrated and tried pulling him into half guard as he jumped over me to set up a rather nasty retaliatory baseball choke. He spazzed, kicked out catching and pulling my leg out instead. Now my minor pull is a more severe strain and I'm out of rolling for awhile. And even though my boys served up some retribution in the following rolls, it certainly doesn't make my hammy feel better. Sorry leg.
    Jen H

  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  3. I'm right there with you. Sorry, shoulder, for having my partner do a shoulder lock on you, knowing you were trying to recover.

    I do not at all ever regret days where I'm not smashed. I never think "Dang, I could sure use a good smashing today." I have to make myself NOT get frustrated and angry when it DOES happen. Sigh.

    Curling? Really? You want to have to sweep ice? hahaha


Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

November 20, 2018

This morning, while out walking my dog, I watched a mother put her young boy onto the school bus. "Have a good day," she said. "Listen to your teacher."

The boy, who was about five years old, replied that of course he would, although it was unclear which of his mom's wishes he was agreeing to.

Listening. So and so is a "good listener." We talk so much about it, but many of us have no idea how to actually do it., so caught up in the words inside our own head that it is almost impossible to hear anything else. Yeah I am listening to you, but not really, I am really thinking about the next thing I am going to say. I am listening to you, but not really, because even though you know an awful lot about this, deep down my egotistical brain still thinks I know better. I am listening, but not really because even though you just showed the technique in perfect detail three times, and I swore I was really paying attention, somehow when it was my turn to drill it…


For the past two days I have been feeling sick; an obvious side effect of spending so much time getting breathed on by small, germy children. This morning I was feeling much better, but not well enough for BJJ, so I decided to go to a yoga class instead. Turns out I was not quite well enough because about halfway through class my body was like, "Hey you, sick girl, you are kind of tired, this feels kind of yucky actually. How about you spend some time in child's pose instead."
As a lifelong athlete I am really, really good at getting messages from my body. I am less skilled, however, at actually following them.
This was not a difficult yoga class. But for me, today, it was impossible. My brain really did not like that. As I sat there with my eyes closed, breathing, the ever helpful voice in my head was saying things like "Everyone must think I am so weak. The teacher must think there is really something wrong with me. I should push through anyway. This is pathetic.&qu…

Roller Coaster

Its the roller coaster that gets me. The fact that you are just going along, doing your work, slowly climbing up, everything is going exactly according to plan, then Zoom!, down you go, fast, maybe not all the way to the bottom again, maybe somewhere halfway, but man you got there FAST! And now here we go again, back on the slow climb.
Some days it feels like you are doing everything right, you are busting your ass to accomplish all of your goals in every way that you know how, yet things just aren't going the way you want them to. On those days it is easy to get angry at the world. Don't you see I am doing my best here? Don't you see how hard I am working? OMG just get the f&*k out of my way! Stop asking for more of me! Can't you see I don't have any more??
But the thing is, that down part, it is on the track. It is part of the ride. it has always been a part of the ride. We knew if was coming, we could see it at the top of the long climb up. We didn't know…