Thursday, May 10, 2012

So I finally got to go a little sword to sword with our dear teacher QC this past weekend.

We had good fun, his great fantastic spirit against my kittenish attempts.

At one point, teaching a bloody counter, he said "oh you like that one?" and I was practically growling with combative ecstasy, oh yes, lots! and I think we began to understand one another.

I'm a lucky budo bunny. 

Blessed by the masters

The gift we Gaijin have, is the gift of shortness of time.

We shake unto our bones, walking up to our teachers, asking for training.
For my own self, I have had to be tremendously unconventional.

I have had to walk through changes of life,
changes of state and continent.
I have stuck to it through and through,
I have never wavered, though
I have bitched and wailed
when we leave dear ones behind.
I could beat my head on the dojo floor daily
for everyone I wished I could still train with.
Every one of you,
every name, every day.
I think of you.

But I am here, by myself, just me
my experiences
and what I have learned from you
from me, and my environment.
Every one of you, are here with me.
When I was so, so hungry, none of us could afford it.. but I listened all the time..

I am now far more stable.
I stand still in my loss
I am the center of the tsunami,
it all sucks in to me
and I give it all back.

The things we have, could have fed us all, but we kept them instead.
This is the lesson I bring out of the maelstrom.

Monday, April 30, 2012

I can't stress it enough, the things I went through as a female budoka have nothing to do with the injuries, the injustices (changing in the broom closet because the men freaked out about my longline sport bra and bike shorts, which I politely wore under my clothes so I could change without disturbing anyone) the weirdness and stupid jokes, which, frankly, I was born and raised to turn back on anyone..
What I went through was that constant vulnerability to manipulation by instructors unaware of, or perhaps too aware of, their personal power through some variation of the instructional or therapeutic relationship.

Relationships are what kill budo careers.
Nothing else.

Get better at those, get better at budo.
Full stop.

Isn't it about improving your way of life, anyway?

Point of the exercise and all that.. 
It's like no one read the signs, I left behind.

I'm wearing warm clothes, to keep a cold spring night at bay.
We have had the heat on, the last week, and even had a fire last week, to stay warm.
Sure, it's a little hard for the garden plants, but I have a cheap little patio greenhouse, and they are all doing OK so far.

People like me, who leave so much behind, live in a different world.

I go back, and I see all I could have.
Family and friends at the forefront, time with my dear brother and all my others.

At the same time, where I am, I live in a constant place of newness and discovery.

My first relationship with a man, was combative. It was also nurturing.
Thus, I find a particular home, in budo.

I need that particular sharpening relationship, where I also get to learn something, I get to advance. It was never my own father's conscious goal, but it was mine, for sure.

In the budo world, this type of approach has led, for me, to some of the most wonderful relationships with other human beings, of any gender, I have ever experienced. Gender irregardless, the greatest, and the bravest, show up around martial arts practice.

Many of the relationships I have had in my life, which have showed me the most, have been within my budo family.

Strange things happen, life goes on, and we are still devoted to budo. And, if we are not, we aid and abet those who are.

Some of my most dear relationships, are with those still doing a budo I no longer do. It is also the most difficult intellectual interaction. It continues only, because the interactions of the heart are still there, that our love of one another does not fail.

No one read the signs, from day 1.
I am not a bad girl, I am not a mean girl.
I am just not the girl who will put up with your shit.
This is not my fault.
This is your fault, based on your expectations.

Meanwhile, I can back up my rejection to your erroneous expectations from a simple ignoring, to some things you really don't want to think about, that are very painful, embarrassing, and possibly dismembering.

Your decision.
My opportunity for target practice.
Which I would rather not take, or even think about.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

I began, in the second largest state of the union. 
Try not to feel alone, especially if you are too eccentric to fit into its most eccentric city, Austin, Texas. 

Living on the outside of the outside, it was a relief to be in an actual foreign country. 

Bavaria, Germany.  In my actual experience, not so different from Texas, if you swap hot for cold. Which this this perpetually overheated Texas gal was only too happy to do. I traded shorts for sweaters, clogs for kickers. 

In a foreign country, everyone expects you to be different, and you expect that. It's a welcome change from being in the home country, where everyone expects you to be the same, and you aren't. 

Those of us who end up ex-pats, and I do intend to be one again, and permanently, are usually people who hated high school, never fit in, and chafed at idiotic, anti-intellectual, emotionally retarded American social memes. 

If it was true that the strongest, physically, should rule society, then let's just get a lot of orang-utans to run for office. It would make as much sense as the jocks running high schools or public office. As a martial artist, I find that kind of "mirror muscle" an exercise in narcissism and stupidity. 
On the other hand, it's kind of fun to take advantage of, given the chance. 

I'm in much the same situation, professionally. 

I started out in Munich, I took a chance and fell in love. It's really a love affair I have with this work, nothing else would explain the stupidity of sticking with it. I should just go back to Germany, or Canada, and become a manual osteopath. No more political shit, just do the work. 

That said, I have to look at the situation here, again. 

Like the salmon swimming upstream, all I can say is, conflict turns me on. 
I like giving that lopsided grin, being smarter than the dumbass confronting me, and knocking them off their pins. 
I like fucking with the system. 
It's a stupid, terrible, broken system. Pay tens of thousands for a carpal tunnel surgery, or just a grand for me. One might work, my work WILL help, and there are no risks with me. 

This is the problem, we are too cheap. We are undervalued. It's a freaky market. If you can help a person avoid a 50K surgery, what are you worth? Plus recovery time and rehab? what is this worth?

I have lived on less than $400 per month, in the late 80s, in Austin, Texas. I have lived out of bulk bins and on family. I don't need money to be happy. But I wonder about value, and what value people place on service, and the differences across the continents, and particularly in the USA. 

The other problem is, we are too divided. The idea of competition is overrated and poorly managed, and applied in the wrong directions. 

For instance, the perceived schism, by a vanishing minority (of perhaps 1 very reactive, close-minded individual who is nonetheless vocal) of the European Rolfing education, if you want to say, "Versus" the US Rolfing education. It makes no sense, the paradigms are too different. 

I have participated in both, and I consider myself a good and conscientious student. Never having had the chance to complete a college degree, I take every scrap of education coming my way in, and never let it go. I am an autodidact. I taught myself German, I learned my way around in a foreign land. I even found myself welcome, once I made it known that I was curious and adaptable. 

Walking into the classes, I quickly learned that I was among professionals. Chiropractors, health practicioners, physiotherapists, I had to keep up and step up my game. I found myself so inspired, it never even felt like effort. I gladly bought the (Swiss Heidiger, in German & English) anatomy books and got to work. 

I didn't worry about what was superior. I just got to work. I don't tend towards a lot of comparison thinking, I am not a hierarchichal person. 
What am I going to do, go back to the White/Nigga thinking of my East Texas roots? No. I have seen the results of this divisive mentality. I saw my mother and my father fight it. And fight it they did. My own father wasn't even sure he was white, until he was in double digits.  He was raised by the help, and he never forgot it.  My mother is a Spanish major, a professional translator who helps Spanish speakers pass the GED in Texas. 

I have put my fingers in the 50-cal holes in the homes of our friends in Frankfurt, left there so that no one will ever forget. I have had my fingers in the blood of history, in several wars from 1 to Gulf to Afghanistan, working with active, retired, civilian and others involved with DOD activities. People have walked in my doors, I have never seen again. 
One of the greatest echoing pains in my life was attending the memorial for Chief Warrant Mxxxx. 
He showed up on my table regularly, a student of social anthropology, delivering lectures as I worked and asked questions. 
He was Army Aviation: Helicopters. 
He was a pilot who had fallen out more airships than I can possibly imagine. One of his legs was a mass of bone & scar tissue, repeatedly broken in falls. From things many hundreds of feet in the the air.
He sent all of the men in his team- Marines, Aviation, Army- one Christmas.  I spent extra time with all of them, one helicopter pilot and his glamourous wife became regular clients. 
CW M lost his life on a slippery Bavarian road, on his motorcycle. We all made the joke that he thought he was in a helo.. it's no joke when you lose a man like that to something small and stupid. 
They called his name, Roll Call. Again and again, no answer. 

There was a sphere of silence, to give space for our hearts to break. 

Another man showed up at my door, head to toe in bandages, on a crutch, telling me that his wife had been really stressed out since he got back from Afghanistan. He was one of the first to come back from that place, and I gave him my card, told him to have his wife call me if she needed anything, and fell apart for a couple of days. 
I had the gift of walking in the Valley of the shadow of Death.. it gave me even more value in Life. 

So, in the face of this tremendous historic symphony, now I am looking at my own choices, and my own future. 

Sure, call me an elitist. I have never earned enough to get a real tax break. 

I am following in the footsteps of a woman who got her PhD in the same year the rest of her gender got the right to vote. 

I don't intend to behave, I won't respect expectations, and if you are too stupid to pay attention, don't expect me to have time for you. 

If you can deal with that, then we can talk. 
If not, get out of the way, or be target practice. 
Now, let's go have some fun!!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

I am living in a generation of shame.

Ashamed of our basic rites of human life.

In order to make more of our selves, we must surrender to our selves.
The most basic urge is to "re-create".

The difference of modern human life, is the ability to regulate the consequence, which lies largely on the female of the human species, who must bear the burden of gestation.
9 months is most of the year for most humans, and does not count the vital time of parturition and bonding. If the bonding phase is not fully acccomplished, the likeliehood of an "unattached" infant can lead to a lifetime of lack of empathy and therefore, criminal behavior.

Who teaches children how to interact with others? for the most part, the mother.
If the mother does not have the support of the family, of society, then the child bears the burden of the lack of full attention of its mother. This leads to the individuals who cut in line, talk on the cell phone in traffic despite laws to the contrary, and text while driving-- all reaching for the approval of the parental figure, despite obvious and apparent objective evidence pointing to the lethality of these behaviors.

They simply cannot let go of the mother's teat of the electronic device.
They have not been weaned, in an emotional sense.

So, you might let go of your mother's breast, for the safety of the people around you, and perhaps not kill all of them and make it your fault.

Grow up, eat solid food, and get off the fucking phone.
Any questions?

Friday, March 16, 2012

"I want to say a few words about this matter. I am a woman's rights. I have as much muscle as any man, and can do as much work as any man. I have plowed and reaped and husked and chopped and mowed, and can any man do more than that? I have heard much about the sexes being equal. I can carry as much as any man, and can eat as much too, if I can get it. I am as strong as any man that is now. As for intellect, all I can say is, if a woman have a pint, and a man a quart – why can't she have her little pint full? "

I am going to follow Sojourner on her way, as I have in my simple, idiotic pursuit of the things which have made my life so good, the things leading me to adventure and a rich, complex and creative life, with all of the challenges and blessings thereof. 

My father didn't have any experience of girls, he didn't know what to do with them, but he doted on me, and took me everywhere, and when I proved not just willing but also strong, competent and able, he involuntarily rocked his own worldview.  He bought me Easter hats, and taught me to ride, shoot straight and tell the truth. The poor man raised me to be an antidote to his own world's view of women, and then ran straight into that wall again and again, as the Amazon he was raising, took to every skill he showed, hunting, shooting, riding, cars and car repair, slashing bamboo, archery, and combat with him. 

That said, my brother and I are devoted to our Dad, we know he cared, and did everything he knew how, for us. 
My love for my father, and the way he showed his, through roughhousing and tossing me around in the swimming pool, probably led to my seeking of and enjoyment of martial arts. He made me fearless, by most common standards. 

So here I am, I am fearless, I am armed and dangerous. 
And, ain't I a woman?

What is it about femininity, which requires being fearful?
If I am dressed in white lace, I will still be fearless, armed and dangerous. 
If I am dressed in full bogu (Japanese platemail) I will still be fearless, armed and dangerous. 
You just don't expect it, if I wear the right outfit. 
Advantage, mine. 
Do me a favor, and don't tell on that one. 

The advantage is mine. 
Does it define a woman, to be at disadvantage?
It is, if you choose to define it that way. 
And, ain't I a woman?

Women have, through our evolution as a species, found ways to control our destiny. 
One of the greatest, is through controlling our own bodily function of reproduction. 
This has not been so important to the male, as their involvement is not so great, nor their risk. 
We should never, ever let males forget, that they continue only on our indulgence, and only so far as we put up with them, and they make themselves useful. Everything else is some kind of accident, which females, who bear the brunt of it, should have the major choice in. 
And, ain't I a woman?

When men can, and will, have babies, they can make decisions about birth control. No sooner. 
I know men who would gladly have babies. I wonder if they would make the leap, and I have faith that if they did, they would do at least as well as their sisters.. 
And, ain't I a woman?

I also know that women have a beneficial effect on corporate structures. Fewer risks taken, and more ethical behavior. This results in more profitable companies. 
We couldn't do it, without birth control. In addition, our businesses need to support reproduction, for both men and women, because it results in better adjusted, higher educated offspring, to feed the next industrial cycle. 
Not that I'm in favor of this, just that I'm in favor of more advantages for all, and this is the biggest selling point. 
If I am trained in use of information, influence, fashion and culture, I can change your mind. 

And, ain't I a woman?

If I have three feet of steel in my hand, or four feet of oak, I can kill you. 
If I have been trained in the use of firearms, and their appropriate use, I can kill you, if you are so stupid as to try to cross my boundaries. 
Is this my fault? no, it is yours, for making me have to go there, learn that, and be ready for your stupidity. 
And, ain't I a woman?

Who is it, who has the power?
It is in our hands to decide. Write. Vote. Push. Convince. 
There are many applications of power and influence. 
We don't have to take it. 
My 68-year old mother is apoplectically furious. 
She, and her generation, have fought this battle before. 
They thought we wouldn't have to fight it again. 
We tried, and we thought we had won. 

Our victory was only temporary. 
We were asleep at the wheel, we thought our victories were airtight, we napped as the lunatics mounted their attacks. 

We must go back to war, we Valkyries, we mothers of daughters, we women wanting a free society. 

The words of Sojourner Truth ring in me, they will not leave me alone. 

"ain't I a woman?"

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Recently I had an online conversation with a friend who hinted that he wanted me to move back to Texas.

That's probably the thorniest question anyone could ever ask me. Everything else, I have something smart and nasty for.

I don't really have any conscious agendas, back home.
My immune system, on the other hand, has other ideas.

The slightest hint of juniper incapacitates me.
Not just something answerable by even injections of prednisone, I am headed straight for bronchitis and pneumonia.

From Christmas through St Paddy's, my favorite Texas holiday, I simply cannot be there, if I want to breathe.

Friday, January 20, 2012

the theme of my life, should be the gossamer threads of the garden.
I should only be so lucky, to follow just these and the life of the forests around me, each and every day.

Just give me.. 10 minutes of mercy. 10 seconds would be fine. 
The truck misses my dad. 
He has a story to tell, and he tells us. 
It would just take 10 minutes, or seconds,  of mercy. 

We did not get them. He did not get any mercy, none whatsoever, this gentle man. 
Only what I had the staff show him, in pain relief.  Our ministrations, my brother and I, just broke his heart. The hours I spent with my own body holding him down, in sad and gentle combat, as he tried to break his broken body free, and I told him there was no way out but up.. 

We had four days of some kind of mix of mercy and torment. 

I would have given all that
for 10 minutes of mercy. 10 minutes of conversation. 

At the same time, we got to let him go ourselves. 

If you have to go, and we all do, let the ones you love hold you. 
let them play you music and love you. 

there isn't a good way. 
But there also isn't a better way. 

If it's time to go. 

I cannot change time. 
I cannot change fate. 

I can step into the shoes that fit me, and keep walking.

I may quake, I may shiver, I may be terrified and my heart may be broken beyond repair. 

I will come back from it, I will persevere through the tears.
Dad won't tolerate our deep depths of depression, he'll play a joke or sport a license plate. 
Literally, he has made fun beyond the grave for us. 
who else would cause "smelly" to be on a Volkswagen in front of us, telling fart jokes in our uncle's Suburban in traffic.  Who else would cause the random to play "rock steady" A Real Love Survives as I am crashing into tears. 

And then play Driven to Tears. 

Which my random player just did. 

Sometimes you have to listen to fate, and its messages.