Favorite Weightlifter

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I’ve seen Noobs raise their hand like this when they win their first white belt bjj match. Ummmm, no.

This past January, I had the awesome opportunity to spend the weekend at a Catalyst Athletics weightlifting seminar. It was amazing. Tell ya what, I never knew that pvc and an empty bar could wreak such havoc on the abs until the middle of the night in between days when I woke up to TT and basically had to just roll out of bed. Yowzer. (Yes, we put weight on the bar. Duh.) Holding positions for moments that turned into hours was intense.

And incredibly helpful. My lifts are still improving and after this throwing thing, I’ll be right back at it. Yeah lifting.

During lunch one of the days, a few other attendees and I were talking about various social media weightlifting scams and other such fun when the topic of our favorite weightlifter came up. Folks went around the circle and stated mostly the latest and greatest crossfit turned weigtlifter athlete but when they got to me, I looked them square in the eye (tough to do in a circle;) and simply said, “Me.”

Greg Everett laughed out loud. A couple of the ladies threw me some crusty looks and rolled their eyes and a Minnesota guy said, “Right on.” (Dude, you’re from Minnesota. No one from Minnesota says ‘right on’ but that’s not the point.) I went on to say, I’m my favorite athlete. I invest more in myself whether it be hard work or time  or money or diet or sleep or whatever is needed to succeed. While I can and do appreciate the talents of far higher athletes, I’m my favorite. If I wasn’t, what am I doing here?

Well, the girls calmed down a bit and one woman from Washington came over later and shared that she’s never looked at herself like that but will from now on.

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Photo by the amazing Douglas Sisk. Also, #mrscrowleyisactuallymyfavorite.

Ya know who doesn’t apologize for doing what is necessary to succeed? Successful people. I know far too many adults who won’t take that last cookie even if they want it. Me? Fuck that. (I wouldn’t eat the cookie though. If it were the last glass of wine I’d cut a bitch and drink happily.) I know far too many adults who were always taught that their needs and even wants were far less important than the stranger’s in front of them. Including me. That whole sharing myth bullshit thing.

And no, I’m not talking about the Mother Teresa’s of the world. Obviously. But there is a not so fine line between being present for others and throwing your own needs away while allowing people to suck the life out of you.

Why in the world would I apologize for working hard? For doing what is necessary to (most importantly) feel strong and healthy and work to succeed in various ventures in life. WTF do I care about Tatiana Kashirina? Zero. I care zero. Am I amazed by her accomplishments and feats of strength? Totes. Supes impressed. (That’s how the kids talk.) But my investment in her is zero. My investment in myself is 100%. My hope for those I love is that their investment in themselves is 100%. Thrive. Even in tough times. ThriveAnd that still leaves plenty of time to not be an asshole. Really. It amazes me that so many people have an ‘all or nothing’ view on putting themselves first. There are 24 hours in each day. 9 is meant for bed if you’re lucky. That leaves 15. We’ll spend, what, 2 hours eating or preparing to eat or traveling to eat? 13. We have an hour of “personal time” (#brownchickenbrowncow!!) with your spouses/partners/tinder hook-ups. 12. Eight hours working. Four. We now have four hours (probably more cuz few people don’t actually sleep 9 hours a night, including me.) Four hours to power clean the house; talk; read; watch America Ninja Warrior; snuggle your dogs; reach out to others; push the prowler; grocery shop (I HATE when people with money bitch about grocery shopping. Dude, you live in fucking America where you get to just walk into a store and buy food and beer. WTF is your problem that you’re bitching about that?)

Where was I? Oh ya, hours in the day not to be a self absorbed asshole while still investing in yourself. In fact, I would contend that the more you are used to investing in yourself, the better you feel (physically and emotionally) and are able to reach out to others. Share a little love. Pay it forward. Whatever the meme of the day says about such things. Investing in yourself is not the same as being self absorbed. It just means you’re spending the time necessary to be better. Stop apologizing for wanting to be better. Sure, many people will be threatened by it. Especially those who want you to be stuck (with them.) Get above that shit. You’ve always been too good for it. And don’t even apologize for climbing. I abhor people who do well or accomplish something and when praised, say something like, ‘Oh well, it was luck. I’m really not that good.’ Jeezus. STFU Donny! Here, let me shovel empowering shit into your face until you can’t breath and choke from your low self esteem.

Anyways.

Also, and this is more observation vs. science, when investing and believing in yourself is your normal you are far more able to detect when unhealthy people are trying to leech onto you. Because they want that. But they don’t want to work for it. They will align themselves to you and talk mad shit about you at the same time. I assume I’m not the only one who’s had difficulty with this, even as an adult. Sometimes I’m successful at heading that shit off at the pass; other times I’ve been a miserable failure and then get very down on myself for allowing that to happen. Damn me for not being perfectly brilliant.

Me. I’m my favorite athlete. If I wasn’t, what am I doing this all for?

Sorrynotsorry.

I told that kraut a fucking thousand times I don’t roll on Shabbos!

Walter Sobchak

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Victor Victoria

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Back in the day, I used to go to the Movies. Ya know, when movies were good. The Bigg hubs and I spent a few minutes the other day on the Google and looked at movies nominated for Best Picture since 1962. Example, the nominations for Best Picture in 1972 were The French Connection; Clockwork Orange; Fiddler on the Roof; The Last Picture Show, and Nicholas and Alexandria. I mean, COME ON! Any one of those films could have been Best Picture. What’d we have this year? (No really, what’d we have. I didn’t see any of them. Nor do I watch the Oscar’s anymore. I remember hearing Meryl Streep had some ridiculous speech on supporting Hollywood which is so lulz I can’t even be offended. Hey Meryl? When’s the last time you you made two successful movies in a row? Fok off.)

But back in the day I went to the movies. One of my fav’s from the early 80’s was Victor Victoria! Julie Andrews playing a woman pretending to be a man pretending to be a woman. Robert Preston, Leslee Ann Warren, James Garner and big mean Alex Karras! This, my friends, is a movie cast. Sweet fun. Sweet musical scenes and Robert Preston (I wanted to be related to Robert Preston when I was growing up. I dunno, he just seemed so cool and always ready to give you a hug even while he’s giving it to you straight on how to fix your life. I always like him, or who I perceived him to be.)

I hadn’t thought about this movie in a long time. But then April happened and a man won the Women’s 35-39, 90+ division at the Masters World Games in New Zealand.

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Now, I will be the first to admit that parts of this is murky. Some say that Gavin Hubbard (who now goes by Laurel, at least where Weightlifting is concerned) has had reassignment surgery and some reports are that he hasn’t. Dunno, but let’s talk about Gavin for just a moment.

But first, this is not a post about the general transgender population. This is a post about a biological man (or men/boys around the world) competing with women/girls when they are clearly not women/girls. Feelings don’t dictate biology, biology does.

Anyways.

Gavin was an okay weightlifter who finally realized that he was not going to make it on the world stage as a man. So he changed his name to Laurel, and with some family money tried to take over New Zealand weightlifting. At some point, his weightlifting administration job was dissolved so he headed up his own weightlifting center and here we are.

The IOC, much like most local High School athletic associations, don’t want anything to do with this so they’ve changed the former rule of a transgender woman needing two years of hormone treatment POST surgical re-assignment to the now, nahhhhhh-go ahead and compete. We’ll test you a bit with your testosterone but as long as it’s at the lowest point of the range for males-you good. You go girl!

It’s horseshit. Absolute and complete horseshit.

It takes women in sports to Pre-Title IX conditions. Now, on that note, here’s the problem with not looking back. We don’t realize where we came from. Title IX was passed in 1972 and I’m guessing there are women, who played sports, who are in their 20’s who have no idea it exists. They just think that there’s always been a Men’s and a Women’s soccer team on campus. I mean, like-duhhhhh, why wouldn’t their be? That’d be so, like, unfairrrrrr.

But back to Laurel/Gavin. See, the main problem I see with these situations is that the organizers are treating these athletes as two separate people. Gavin no longer exists. Suddenly, only Laurel exists. And we’ll just pretend it’s been Laurel who has been weightlifting for the last 20 or more years. So her bone structure and strength is the same as a female. Her muscle mass will be the same as the average 30-something weightlifter. Her frame, ligaments, grip strength-EVERYTHING THAT GOES INTO PLAY IN BEING AN EXCEPTIONAL WEIGHTLIFTER/ATHLETE is now that of a woman. We’ll just disregard everything BUILT for those 30-plus years as a man and say it’s now an even playing field.

JHMFC! That’s not how this works. That’s not how any of this works!

The good news? Well, at least for weightlifting, it’s the least of their worries. They’re doing their own self-destruction dance with a large percentage of their top athletes receiving bans for doping and the IOC has about had enough of their shenanigans. They’ve already lost at least two male weight categories for the next Olympics and I’ll have my popcorn ready to watch the show when more and more men decide to “identify” as females and head over to those classes. Think it won’t happen? Then you’re a silly person who doesn’t understand that giving in to a four year old won’t make them demand for more.

Also, and I do understand that this get’s touchy, (especially to the “coexist” crowd) it’s okay to stand up and declare BULLSHIT. Whether at the youth sports/high school/elite level competition stage. I’ve heard of fellow competitors who say, “No way, I am not competing against that biological male. I am a biological female and this is not right” where they received hate male for their intolerance. This is the fucked up America we’ve let ourselves walk into.

It is not intolerance. It is right v. wrong. It used to be valued to stand up for right v. wrong. Used to be. My problem is that I was raised in that environment. I’ve seen it’s hypocrisy. I don’t like it. I don’t need people standing on top of the mountain screaming, but I do expect people to stand up. Especially when they’ve been helped by other’s standing up for them.

If you don’t, you really are a piece of shit. Harsh mommy? Maybe. But I miss the days where standing up was the norm. Now, we bury our heads in the sand and hope that unpleasantness will just disappear altogether and we never have to look at it again.

Intolerant? Hokay. I’m intolerant. I’m not competing against a biological male or a transgendered female who had 30 plus years as a male in competition. Fuck that. I don’t expect other women or girls to compete against biological males at any age or those who have built their entire structure as a male but a year later says they want to tackle the female divisions. Fuck that.

Fuck that.

Fairness is what justice really is.

Potter Stewart

 

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Convoluted

distraction4

My name is Juli and I am the mother of four children. No bid deal, right? There are plenty of mother’s of four out there who don’t take the time to right it down. But I’m a special snowflake today so I get to write a blog on how I’m the mother of four.

Why? Because for over 33 years, I’ve been conditioned to not talk about my oldest daughter. See, I was a…wait for it…a teenage mom (long before it was a cool TV show on MTv.) The worst of the worst. There’s like, me and then murderers. At least that was the perception in Pastor John’s house. It didn’t matter that my brother was a child molester, other people can’t see that and as long as we just put a big smile on our faces and pretend everything is fine, we be good. But I was a teenage mom and that was bad. Bad enough that my dad felt he had to tender his resignation and then tell me repeatedly that my parents were so very thankful to the good people of Church of the Master for forgiving me for being so bad and allowing my dad to keep his job. Thanks so much Christians for forgiving me. Hopefully you’d forgive my brother for being a child molestor too…had you known.

It seemed like a big load for a 15 year old but hey, I can take it. I stopped being a kid long ago and I stepped up to the responsibility of carrying a little one. But in reality, I was in over my head. Treading water. Barely making it along with whatever glib meme type saying we can add to the mix to explain that I was in deep shit.

My ‘Abortion Clinic Protesting’ parents quickly said I would get an abortion. Ummm, no. That’s off the table. (And I was the Pro-choice one of the family.) I choose. My choice. I think my mother’s direct words were, “Why do you have to make everything so hard?” Those words stayed with me for a long, long time. Honestly? I don’t know. I don’t know why I make things so hard. I don’t mean to. I don’t mean to be me and not tow the line. I used to wish I knew how. But I don’t. So I’m me and said I’ll have the baby and place ‘it’ for adoption.

But I couldn’t do that at home so I was whisked away to a home for other offenders like me and, after the baby was born and adopted away, I magically reappeared into my daily life as if I’d never been away. OH! Also, I was not allowed to tell anyone or talk about it. To be safe ya know. Imagine my surprise; however; when I brought my baby girl home for a weekend visit before the adoption went through and there were a string of visitors to meet her. Because we weren’t allowed to talk about it. Which, I later learned, meant me but no one else. So I had to share precious moments with others. Others got to hold my baby girl as I was ticking off the seconds where I would never hold her again.

Those were dark days. The darkest actually. And lonely. So very lonely. I ache for 16 year old me. Who had to go through so much so alone. I want to give her a hug and tell her that had I the ability, I would have had her back. But I don’t. So I can’t.

After the adoption was final and I said my final goodbye, I was plopped back into High School life and was told to move on. Don’t talk about it. Just move on. Jesus, we could have our own Lifetime Movie Network movie on how fucked up and dysfunctional our home was. But actually, no thanks. Living through it once has been quite enough thank you very much. About a month afterwards, my mom and I were at Denny’s or somewhere gross like that when she told me that as much as she could appreciate that I was hurting, she was hurting too and resented the fact that I was only thinking about my pain. I didn’t know where to go with that. Still don’t actually. That level of crazy is out of my wheelhouse. Thank goodness.

So I grew up, continued to make life hard on myself (I guess, that’s what my parents would say.) While I didn’t run a fortune 500 company or anything like that, I have had some very nice stints at success in various levels of professional gigs that I’m quite proud of. I went on to have three more beautiful children that I’m so incredibly proud of and a very clean divorce that, believe it or not, am honestly proud of how we handled that one too. My ex and I have co-parented better than anyone I know and I am very happy for him as he has found love again to a wonderful, kick ass lady.

I have two very fluffy dogs that allow me to vacuum each day that surround me in safety and muddy floors and holes in the backyard worthy of childhood attempts to dig to China. And, of course, I have my husband. He is the absolute best. It is a shame my family doesn’t know him and know how wonderful he is. Quite honestly, it’s a shame HIS family doesn’t know how wonderful he is but that topic would be a whole ‘nother blog post of people who don’t appreciate how awesome my husband is and then I would get very elevated and cuss even more than I already do.

Basically, in other words, life’s good. Very good. I stopped looking for fulfillment from the Peterson’s long ago and have learned some tough lessons that even though I do share DNA with others, we do not share ideals on how to go about life and my distance from them is necessary to continue enjoying the life I lead. Sorry not sorry. If you love drama and inserting yourself into other people’s shit, I will ensure you have nothing to do with me.

**SIDEBAR: In 2002 I was reunited with most of my birth family. It was highly emotional and absolutely exhausting. It probably took me over a year to recover from two years worth of reunions and I swore that if I were going through something like that again, I’d do it differently. More balanced. More “one day at a time”, less “emotional roller coaster.” Slow and steady wins this race and I wanted future reunions to be more lasting. I believed setting the tone from the get go would be helpful. In theory. Who knew if we would ever find our older sister and while a day didn’t go by where I didn’t think of my fourth child (first actually, heh) and was always open to a reunion, my hope was that she lived a happy and fulfilled life and thought of me with kindness.**

Then April happened.

I received a text one Sunday afternoon that said, “Hi Juli, this is Becky. Your sister.” Uhhhhhh, what? Our long lost sister? That Becky? Yup! I called right back and instantly was given peace knowing she was okay. And she is. She’s strong, so much stronger than she thinks she is. And one of the sweetest people I’ve ever met. She has an amazing family and I am so thankful that it worked out for me to run down to East Texas and get to know her face to face even a little bit before a busy summer travel schedule.

It seems my birth brother, whom I haven’t talked to in over 10 years (truth be told, I just don’t like him. He likes drama and jacking people up and I just don’t need any more of that in my life) did a DNA search through Ancestry.com and found Becky. Now, they had been talking for a couple of weeks already and she had even made contact with my adopted brother and his wife. It seems they had even made plans to get together for Christmas next year. All before I even knew she was found.

Okay. Weird. But whatev. Jerry’s wife, Kathy, is notorious for inserting herself in other’s business so I wasn’t surprised she’d already been talking to my sister before I even knew she was there. Standard operating procedure ’round these parts.

On Tuesday of that same week, my brother Jerry called me. Now, he doesn’t call often which is fine. Whenever I’m in the cities, I’ll holla if I have time for a meet up and we’ll share a meal if we can. Just last summer we all had breakfast after a Games and it was enjoyable. It’s all very comfortable and while I don’t feel obligated to talk to him often, it’s always comfortable when I do. Also, he and my birth brother (Jim) have struck up a close relationship and get together fishing each year down in Texas. I always thought that was kind of cool. And proof to my saying that we all have the ability to have different relationships with the same people. Some connections come where others don’t. No biggie. Part of life.

Anyways.

Jerry called and I assumed it was because of my reunion with Becky. But it wasn’t. After about 30 minutes of small talk, he finally told me that my brother Jim had made contact with my daughter Kristina and was forming a relationship with her. Uhhhhhhh, what?

Yes. And though Jerry had known for a few weeks now that Jim had found her and sought her out, Jerry was finally uncomfortable enough with the fact that this was all happening without me even knowing she had been found to get around to telling me about it.

So a brother that I have no connection to other than shared DNA; have not had a conversation with in over 10 years and really knows nothing about me, is now forming a relationship with my daughter.

What the everlasting fuck?!

The last month has been filled with ups and downs. My FOURTH child is strong and beautiful. She has a wonderful husband and a lovely daughter and I’m incredibly proud of all of them. I am equally as proud of Zac, Zandra, and Oscar for taking her in as one of their own and opening themselves up to her. But it’s been tough.

For one, it has brought back to the surface a lot of pain. Dark days revisited. Standing up for what I believed in. Standing alone. Saying goodbye. Dark days. I’ve been conditioned for over 30 years to not talk about this. Keep it closed. But then I remember I’m 50 and fuck that, I’ll talk all I want about it (which actually I don’t very much. It’s a lot to take and I don’t always form my words well which makes me feel bad and goddamn if I am just tired of feeling bad about shit.)

For another, I am doing my best to be conscientious of everyone else’s feelings and how they’re doing with all of this. It’s exhausting. It’s fucking exhausting. I know I am not being everything everyone needs me to be and it hurts. And then there are the distractions. Other people who want to be a part of this reunion who have nothing to do with my life or the lives of my children. Stupid people with stupid distractions who have their own agenda and barrel through while trampling all over any pain or time we need to just simply get to know each other.

Selfish people. I call them pieces of shit but I can be harsh, so I’ll just say selfish people. Those who post all over the Facebook how excited they are that Kristina is found but don’t reach out to me or my other children. Those who invite Kristina to family parties knowing that the rest of us are not invited. (That started over 10 years ago. I would get an e-mail saying Oscar is invited to a family function but no one else from the house can come. Uhhhhh, no bitch, that’s not how this works.)

I have asked repeatedly for space and time. Let us get to know each other. Form relationships. Heal hurts. But that doesn’t fit their agenda so they keep pushing and while I am trying to be respectful of my daughter’s newly formed relationships with them, it fucking infuriates me.

Absolutely infuriates me. It’s a distraction we don’t need. This all takes time. Let things settle and allow us to just breath and get to know each other. Balance. This may not happen in their time, but I don’t care. It needs to happen in ours. Good lord, let us be.

I am a mother of four children. I get to say that now. My oldest daughter is Kristina and she is just as brilliant and beautiful as her siblings. Pain is there, my hope is that it can be lessened in years to come as we get to know each other. But I know this, as long as others want to cause drama and prevent us from getting to deal with each other fairly and reasonably, shit gets muddy. Convoluted.

Time will tell how well we do. I hope for our sake that we are successful. We’ve taken a hit the last 24 hours due to others’ interference. And I can’t stab the stupid people because I don’t have time to go to jail. Fok!

You are either on my side, by my side or in my fucking way.

Choose wisely.

afrobrutality 

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50! Stay above 50!

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Keanu was kind of a hottie in this pic. 

One of my favorite Saturday morning movies is Speed. It’s Sandra Bullock’s debut film and it’s a doozie. I mean, Dennis Hopper, COME ON! So these guys are all on a bus that has to stay above 50 mph or else they get blown up. Klaboowie. Game over.

Kinda like me now. 50. Stay above 50. Cuz, see…

…when I was 17, a major life event occurred. It was two weeks before my senior year in high school and my mom took off in the morning to exercise my brother’s English Sheep Dog, Vickie (Victoria.) She would do this by jumping on the bike and letting Vickie pull her on a long leash across the street in a huge parking lot of a Catholic church. I thought it was stupid, like, it’s Jerry’s dog shouldn’t he be doing this but they (moms and pop) thought this was a good idea. Whatevs.

However; on this particular day; Vickie decided to jump in front of the bike and Mom went flying. Fucking dog. Luckily, she was just across the street and Dad noticed right away that Mom was on the ground and the stupid dog was just standing there. He ran over and there ya go, Mom broke her leg. Off to another trip to North Memorial and the break was bad enough that surgery was scheduled; pins and screws inserted, and hopefully Mom home shortly. Then she got Staph infection, and in many ways, in was game over. By the way, to this day, when someone mentions staph, I take that shit seriously.

Mom’s overnight stay was extended to a couple of weeks. She missed the first day of school. It was bad. See, the first day of school was special to my mom. First off, we always had breakfast for school but the first of day school included regular breakfast plus Dunkin Donuts. (Just the donuts, they didn’t have shitty coffee yet back then.) So she had my Auntie Karen bring over donuts but she called from the hospital crying telling us to have a good day. Yowzer. Not fun.

Something happened to my mom then. Something not entirely awesome. She got a lot of attention for being broken. Broke leg. Broke infection. Sickly. People started to feed a need in her that she only got when she was broken. And for much of the last 30+ years, she’s stayed broken. There have been at least 20 surgeries; many cancer scares, and many illnesses that although I would say much of this has not been her fault: it’s also not been avoided through healthy diet and exercise. By the way, she turns 80 next Monday so good on her for surviving for this long.

But I watched. And I knew. I didn’t want to survive past 47. I wanted to fucking thrive. No sickness. No weakness. No getting attention for anything other than being strong and tenacious. While I am so sorry for her that she has endured so much; I will walk every day trying to avoid her fate. Sorry not sorry. I will not be fed, emotionally or physically, through weakness or illness. I will be fed internally through strength. It’s all I have. It’s what drives me.

However; today I realized something very awesome. That while I am driven to avoid behavior I saw; I also strive for lives I see. Look, I am in constant companionship with amazing women far into their 50’s and beyond. This is the gift I receive not only at every competition but just here on social media. Women who have chosen not to stand back and let aging just happen to them but to redefine what again means and usually, it just means a different kind of PR. PR’ing your lifts at 80 is the shit. Hitting a new WOB PR at 60 is beyond the shit. YOU! You girls? You da man.

Sue Hallen; Ruth Welding; Dawn Higgins; Karyn Dallimore; Terri James; Denise Houseman; Vivian Dawson; Jodi Stumbo; Jane Black (I adore her); Michaela Pennekamp; Teresa Nystrom: these are the women I strive to be. Those who have said goodbye to their 30’s and 40’s and said, “Fuck that, I’ve got more in the tank!” I guess I realized today that THOSE are the women that are driving me.

And I’m so thankful. So very thankful. So thankful to have all of these women to look up to. To admire. To want to beat. Heh. But I know I have to work harder. Longer. More efficiently to do so and that’s what they do for me. They make me better.

So here’s to the 50’s and beyond. May I be blessed with a touch of the talent and longevity that so many have. But when my ride ends I can look fate in the eye and say, “Fuckin’eh, we’ve sure had a blast!”

I’m very sane about how crazy I am.

Carrie Fisher

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