It's not blasphemy

This is me not studying.

I had a very busy weekend. On Friday night, I had my very first belt test in Taekwondo and Hapkido. I was really nervous about it, mostly because I knew I'd have to do 10 pushups. Two weeks ago, I couldn't do one pushup, which sounds really wussy, but it's actually pretty normal. Most women struggle with doing real pushups, because we've been doing girly knee-pushups since at least junior high. I had trained myself to do chataranga, or yoga pushups, which actually led to a bit of an embarrassing problem.

From plank pose (aka pushup position), I can lower myself to the ground slowly, with control, keeping my body perfectly straight, and my elbows glued to my sides. I can hover there, 2 inches above the ground for at least a full minute, without sagging or collapsing. The trouble is, I can't get back up! In yoga, you don't need to; after you're done holding in the "hover" pose, you just drop to the ground and push through to upward-facing dog (tops of feet on the floor, hips low to the ground, arms straight, back arched, looking up at the ceiling). When I'd try to push up (a critical part of pushups, I understand), there was just nothing there. It was like I didn't even have the muscles necessary to do it; I didn't feel straining, I just didn't feel anything. I was stuck! I couldn't even tell which muscles I should be using.

Confused about how to develop strength in muscles I wasn't sure I had, I turned to that great reservoir of knowledge, the internet, for answers. I came across a great website, Stumptuous.com, where I found my solution. I did inclined pushups, with my feet on the floor and my hands on something higher - the kitchen counter, the dining room table, a chair, the piano bench - gradually working my way towards the ground. When I'm doing pushups on inclined surfaces, I make sure to go all the way down and come all the way back up. I can't go quite that far yet during regular pushups, but I can, actually, for real do what I call a big-girl pushup. In fact, I can do 10 of them, as I found out Friday night at my belt test. Moral of the story? You can do pushups, too. Real ones. Big-girl pushups. It's very empowering. You should try it!

So, after the pushups, I had to do my form (for Taekwondo), demonstrate some basic punches, kicks and breathing excercises (for Hapkido), and perform my required Hapkido techniques, plus sparring. So basically, as a white belt 1st stripe in Hapkido, I can definately get away from you if you grab me by the wrist. Not too exciting, but everyone's gotta start somewhere!

After all that - and this is pretty cool - I broke a board with my fist! It was the end of the Taekwondo test, and I did a Hammer Fist break, my first ever in life. It hurt because I did it wrong, but I did break the board on the first try, and I didn't break my hand. So now I have two broken pieces of wood on my dining room table that I'm not sure what to do with.

That was Friday night.

Saturday, I fenced epee in the first tournament I've competed in in almost 2 years. And what do ya know? I'm still a pretty decent epeeist. I put in a respectable performance, and I'd be lying if I said I wasn't pleased with myself. The tournament lasted ALL DAY (as usual), and afterwards I went to see Casino Royale with a very handsome young man. Have you seen that movie yet? Best. Bond. Ever.

Yes, better than Sean Connery.



So, Halloween was pretty cool. Unfortunately, I don't have any pictures, but I went as Little Red Riding Hood, the roommate was a pirate, and he-who-shall-not-be-named went as....himself. In his defense, he was going to go as a woodsman (to go along with the Little Red Riding Hood theme), and he even had elaborate details of the costume planned out, down to the severed wolf-head prop (which I thought was kind of a gross idea, but whatever, he's a guy.) We were having trouble finding a suitable axe, though, as most Halloween axes seem to fall into the "battle axe" or "executioner's axe" categories. We DID manage to find a plain ol' woodsman's axe, though slightly small, at a place called Spirit. However, the TERRIBLE music sapped our commercialist spirit and drove us screaming from the place before we managed to make our purchases. Really. You've heard of those "Kids sing the Top-40 from 5 years ago" compilations? It was "Kids sing party/Halloween songs". A children's choir covering KISS is pretty much the worst thing in the universe.

For the actual night, I'd planned to eat pizza, drink pumpkin beer, and watch "Mazes and Monsters", a Tom Hanks movie my sister gave me as a joke, because I'm such a D&D nerd. Instead (and, after viewing the aforementioned movie, this was probably for the best...) we went to The Flying Saucer for pizza and delicious import beer. We stayed quite a bit later than we'd wanted to, because we were informed that a costume contest would be held, and the powers that be wanted me to participate in it. (In all modesty, I looked HOT!) So anyway, we stayed, and I did in fact win $50. Victorious, we returned home and went straight to bed. I'm getting too old for this!

I was stoked at having won the $50 because that Friday, my sisters and I had planned to go out, just the three of us. I figured I'd drink my winnings, and essentially go out with my sisters for free. I was really looking forward to it, actually. However, it was not to be.

To make a very long story short, my prodigal sister got herself into lots of trouble again, and I spent all day Friday bailing her out. I was willing to do this because 1) I'm her sister, and 2) I really thought she was ready to join the rest of us over in Sanityland, where we live happy, successful lives through responsible decision-making. Sadly, I fear now that this is not this case. I was (and still am) deeply disappointed in her for getting herself in that position in the first place, but mostly for her nonchalant attitude about it. I didn't get the impression that she was remorseful or even embarrassed at her circumstances. Of course she was grateful, and promised to reform, but in that moment, all the promises sounded like a mockery. I couldn't believe her, even though I really wanted to. In a few hours during that terrible afternoon, I came to realize what I should have known all along: My actions alone cannot help her. She has to help herself, and despite my wishful thinking, she's not ready to do that yet. If I could take her place, I'd have her life cleaned up in a month. But then, it wouldn't be her life. I'd be my interpretation of a "good life" under her circumstances.

So, for a few days I've been carrying around this big bundle of horrible emotions, looking for something to do with them, some way to fix them. Now, I'm realizing that there is no resolution for my feelings of disappointment, frustration, anger, and helplessness. I have to just let them all go. I handled the situation in the only way I felt I could, and still be able to look myself in the mirror. I can now say without a doubt that I have freely and wholeheartedly given her the best chance to escape the quagmire that is her life. If she chooses not to reach escape velocity, that's on her conscience, not mine. Not that I'm giving up, far from it. I'm just acknowledging my sister's right to fail. She doesn't owe me anything, not even success.