All posts by Julia

Font over diary text - Better Sorry Than Safe

SoML: Better Sorry Than Safe

“Better safe than sorry” – it might be good advice for packing or obeying traffic laws, but Lzzy Hale would argue it should not be applied to romantic relationships. And I agree. Safe isn’t bad. Safe is comfortable. There is nothing wrong with comfortable … unless that comfort is kept out of fear and you’re struggling to keep your own fire stoked.

There was a week in February where I didn’t sleep. I mean, obviously, I slept because I probably would have gone completely nuts if I went an entire week without sleep. But I would only get a few hours into the night at best and then I’d lay awake. Usually when I can’t sleep, I wake up feeling like I ran a marathon or my mind is going a thousand miles an hour. This time, my body wasn’t fidgety or uncomfortable and my mind wasn’t racing. I just could not sleep. I would lay in bed, tired but not drowsy, until light started to creep through the curtains.

I can’t even think of one good reason
Why I’m always thinkin’ about leavin’
It’s not like everything’s so horrible
We’ve been together for a few years now
And you know all my ins and outs
But everything is way too comfortable
From the moment I wake
I plan my escape

I had realized that I needed to break away from the “safety” of my current relationship. Things weren’t horrible but they weren’t right. I wasn’t getting what I needed and I was staying out of fear. Paying rent alone, living alone, giving up on a decent guy and ending up with no one at all. The prospect of returning to the single life was scary… until it wasn’t.

I’m not scared
‘Cause I know there’s something out there waiting for me
And I swear
That I’ll find it someday, just wait and see
I don’t care
That you call me crazy
I can’t stay ’cause I need room to breathe
There’s nothing left to say
Better sorry than safe

I struggled with when and how to tell Dave. I was worried that my exhaustion had clouded my mind. But at the end of that sleepless week, I was more certain, not less. It felt unfair to keep it from him any longer. It came tumbling out in fragments late Friday night. I did my best to be honest and kind. I didn’t bear him any ill will but I couldn’t leave any doubt. It had to be over.

There is a funny thing that comes from letting out the thing I’ve been holding back. From accepting that this change is necessary and inevitable. While I’d been upset and wracked with sadness many times that week, I was calm when I told him that I needed to end it. It happened during my divorce as well. I was upset, terrified, a complete mess when we were trying to decide what to do. When the decision was certain, a weight lifted and my emotional turmoil disappeared. I’m not saying I stopped feelings things on either occasion. But my emotions no longer had control over me. I could feel them, recognize them, and move beyond them. The fear shrank and disappeared into the background, became something I noticed in the hard moments but largely left behind.

In both cases, it was off-putting to my partner. An emotional person, someone who’s fought fiercely for the relationship in the past, now calmly and rationally going through the steps of parting ways. It probably looked as though I had flipped a switch and turned off my feelings for them.

To casual acquaintances, I might have seemed glib or a bit cold with how quickly my mood changed. To friends and family, it was mostly my relief that stood out. One of my Jiu Jitsu girlfriends, Lara, told me that I had the look of someone beginning something, not ending something. And I supposed that is true.

One of the things that became clear to me this time around was that I needed to live as a single person. Preferably alone but simply as a single person who wasn’t living with a spouse or parents. I had totaled up how long I’d lived that way as an adult – 2 weeks. Specifically, the 2 weeks before I met Dave. That’s it. 2 weeks. Such an insanely small number for a woman in her late 30s. Especially for an independent woman like me.

It’s time to take a chance and give you up
In the morning I’ll wake
And make my escape

It’s been a few months since my split. Things are not safe, but they aren’t scary either. I am discovering what life is like alone. Figuring out where I falter and where I am strong.

I am not safe, but I’m not sorry either.

The Academy Women's Team

BJJ: Embrace the Opponent (Empower Women Tournament)

At the end of January, I heard that Team Lawton was hosting the Empower Women Tournament on March 25th – women only, submission only, white and blue belts only. The format was round robin with 3 weight divisions. Each weight division would break out into separate white and blue belt brackets if entries allowed.

I should have known I was in trouble right away. Any other time people had talked about tournaments, I’d nope’d on out of the conversation immediately. No thanks, all set, hell no. This time, I found myself reading the details. Looking up the drive time to Farmingdale. Asking friends questions about how these things worked. At one point I told Rob that I felt like I was in full fight or flight mode, heart racing and hands shaking. I figured that was my body telling me to run away – he said it was my body “calling me up” (more like out). This was the next hard thing I needed to do. The next stage of Embracing the Awkward in BJJ. So that night, before I could talk myself out of it, I signed up. And I spent the next nearly two months wondering what the hell I’d gotten myself into…

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Gritty in Pink

BJJ: Gritty in Pink

We’ve all heard of the law of intended consequences. You do something to get result A, result B comes along for the ride. I spent a few weeks doing “focused freewriting” and suddenly noticed that my Sudoku skills had made a major leap forward. I might not have made the connection except that the writing guide I was using mentioned that surprising gains in other areas was a common phenomenon. Recently I’ve realized that my training in BJJ has had a rather interesting, if incongruous, unintended consequence: I’ve started to explore being girly.

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SoML: Addicted (BJJ Edition)

Recently I’ve talked to a few people at the gym and how often I train has come up. I don’t know if it’s my history of rowing crew in college (one day off a week, two days a week w/lifting in addition to practice) or just general obliviousness that it never occurred to me until now that I train A LOT.

Continue reading SoML: Addicted (BJJ Edition)

BJJ: Knuckle Punk

About a year ago, I was teaching classes for my first major software deployment and newly re-cleared to train BJJ after my hardware removal surgery. I tried to schedule the classes I taught so they didn’t interfere with Academy classes. I needed an outlet for the stress of constantly being “on” for my students.

Despite taking a broken leg and two surgeries within a year like a champ, I was still a bit of a cupcake when it came to pushing myself.

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SoML: Two Girls

A few months back I saw Paranoid Social Club live for the first time in a long time and was reminded of how much I love this song. PSC’s songs tend to be on the upbeat and playful side of my alt-spectrum. They are an ass-shaking, head-banging good time. But this one goes a little further.

What is Two Girls? It’s Ludacris’s “lady in the street but a freak in the bed” concept expanded upon in glorious and catchy detail. It lays out the dichotomy of what men desire in a woman with a sweet surprise at the end. (I also believe you could flip the gender roles and it’d still ring true.)

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Lazy Bones Paleo Beef and Broccoli

I have never been much of a cook. Neither was my mother. Neither was hers. I come by the whole “wander off and the food burns” thing pretty honestly. I don’t enjoy it and by some stroke of luck, I’ve landed with a guy who not only enjoys cooking but he’s good at it. REALLY good at it. So I find myself deferring to him on almost all things culinary.

Imagine my surprise when one night I come home after BJJ class to all the ingredients for laid out and ready for me to cook with an eager Dave waiting in the wings. Continue reading Lazy Bones Paleo Beef and Broccoli

BJJ: Grind This Way

August 31st was my two year Jitsu-versary. The picture of my feet on the mat for my first BJJ class is a Facebook memory that I will always want to “share.” It is the inspiration behind so much of my writing these days that perhaps this blog should be called ‘Grind This Way’ instead.

my feet on the mat of my BJJ school
First steps, first reps

If you had asked me two years ago what the On Ramp class would mean for me, I might have said something flip about choking dudes out. And in my head, that’s all I was doing – taking an intro class that was meant to give me some basic skills applicable to self-defense. I didn’t think of myself as someone who had started to “train Jiu Jitsu” until my first night on the big mats. Maybe not even then. I still make flippant comments about choking dudes out but BJJ is so much more than that to me.

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Le Tote #2

Le Tote Review: Meh Tote or Yeah Tote?

Years ago, I tried out Stitch Fix and experienced multiple rounds of disappointment. If you read those posts, you’d probably be surprised to hear that I tried another clothes subscription service. Then my sister, who’s transitioning from scrubs to business clothes in her career, told me about Le Tote. There were a few significant differences that drew me in: Continue reading Le Tote Review: Meh Tote or Yeah Tote?