Whatever happened to the girl who could stab people for hours?

Man, the first time I put a rapier in my hand that was it. Game over, man. I was hooked.

So what happened?

Let me backtrack a bit: I started out super gung-ho about rapier fighting and fencing. I wanted to learn All The Things, and I would get uber frustrated if I didn’t get something right. I went to every practice I could, and I joined a local fencing school to get even more practice in. I did tournaments at events (even though I’m not the greatest at it)–once with a broken foot–, and I even tried melee fighting (which I am even less the greatest at).

Lately, though, and I mean for a good few months now, I haven’t been at it as much. I’ve been withdrawing from the rapier fighting and even exercise days with my rapier friends. Why? What’s got me shying away from the one sport that ever got me excited, that ever made me feel like I could be good at a sport?

Part of it, I think, is that I got burned out after Estrella War. I practiced so much that I just got practiced out. Another part might be that, for whatever reason, my performance in tournaments has dropped significantly. Not that I was ever even close to winning–I wasn’t–but I feel like I’m just flailing around, whereas before I was more focused and driven.

Another part, and it’s not necessarily his fault mind you, but another part is my husband. Due to some … we’ll say “unsportsmanly behavior” … from some more experienced, respected rapier fighters, my husband withdrew from rapier first, before I did. He didn’t want to go to the regular practices, and more recently he stopped going to the rapier academy practices as well. It’s largely a personality clash issue. Not to say that either personality is “wrong,” just that they don’t jive together well. He doesn’t want to go back, but I do…don’t I?

We’ve also been super busy; we go to more out-of-Barony events than we did at this time last year, so Sundays we’re either exhausted from traveling or still heading back from wherever we traveled when it’s time to practice.

I’m still gung ho about trying to get a rapier practice area set up on our land. I’m still plotting that out in my head. But I don’t go and actually practice anymore.

Is it because I live further away now? Well, that would explain the SCA practices, but I’m a tad closer to the rapier academy practices now, so that’s no excuse. I still love my friends and love fighting them and learning from them, so that’s not an issue. So what is it?

Last night I went to a different Barony’s rapier practice. I got to fight a couple of people that I don’t usually fight, and that may have helped a bit to motivate me to do better. I need something more though, some extra push, to get me back in the rapier game. Maybe if I ask my White Scarf for a set day during the week to practice I will get back into things. I mean, I can’t use traveling as an excuse if it’s a work day–I’ll theoretically already be in town.

Regardless of the hows or whys, something’s gotta change. I have to get back at the stabby-stab so I can improve, learn, and excel.

I just gotta figure out tho hows of that bit.

 

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Dis-Courage

I admit it. I’m a wuss. A coward, even.

Well, maybe not a coward. It’s not that I’m “afraid” to go back to exercising with my friends…or am I?

One thing’s for sure: I’m definitely discouraged. Between the month or so we all took off to prepare for Estrella war and my work schedule, I was off the wagon for too long, causing me to regain almost all of the weight I had worked so hard to lose. Couple that with the new exercises that we’re doing that require more coordination (which I highly lack) and you have a recipe for relapse. I just can’t make myself go anymore. I think about it. I try to psych myself up for it. But in the end, most days I end up staying home and wallowing in self pity.

Am I doomed to be obese forever? I used to be skinny; as early as ten years ago I was skinny. Then the move to Arizona happened, and the stress of not knowing if I’d have a job and having to make new friends got to me, and I stress-ate like a madwoman. I moved into an extended living facility (basically a hotel that has a pseudo-studio apartment for a room) and it was a lot of frozen dinners for me. That didn’t help. Then I met my husband who feeds me quite well, and I just ballooned. It’s been an up-and-down battle for years, one that I feel like I’m losing.

The most recent weight gain is the most depressing yet. I had worked so hard to lose that 10+ pounds only to have almost all of it back within a couple of months. I almost feel like “What’s the point? I’ll just gain it back in weeks the second I stop this” and I’ll end up quitting. I guess I kind of almost have quit already. I have no more motivation, no drive. I’d rather sit at home and wallow in self pity than get out there and exercise with friends.

I guess I’d better sign off for now. The cats keep walking across the keyboard in an attempt to get their morning wet food early, and I’m tired of deleting the jibberish they type.

Sneaky little sh!t

Well that was unexpected.

There I was, filling out a form at the rheumatologist’s office, when all of a sudden it hit me: I’ve been mild to moderately depressed for a good two or three weeks and I didn’t even notice.

I should have noticed, but I guess I’ve been so busy it just snuck up on me. I haven’t been super interested in the usual stuff, and that should have been a big sign. Combine that with the fact that I ran out of my meds, and it’s hard to believe I didn’t put two and two together. (Not to worry; all the meds are in the process of being refilled.) It just wasn’t until I checked the box stating that I have been experiencing depression that I even gave it a thought.

I guess that’s kind of a good thing, if you look at it a certain way. I was doing well enough for long enough that I almost–almost–forgot I am bipolar. Almost. So much else was going on that “bipolar” and “depression” kind of simmered on the back burner while I dealt with the now.

(Hubby just asked me what I’m writing about. I told him, and he has properly scolded me for not taking my meds.)

To prevent further issues, I have had the pharmacy put my meds on auto fill. Clearly I can’t trust myself to keep track of that kind of thing right now.

One thing that hasn’t surprised me is the increase in arthritis pain and stiffness lately. I’ve gotten out of the habit of exercising a couple of times a week and it’s taking a toll. Work schedules don’t allow for much exercise though, at least with my friends’ current regimen. Their best days and times happen to occur on the longest work days of the week for me, so I don’t get the opportunity to join them often. When the opportunity does arise, I’m usually so exhausted–both physically and mentally–that I just don’t have the drive to go. My joints have noticed the lack of exercise. Oh, how they have noticed. I can’t sit in one position too long or my knees get really stiff and uncooperative. Just this afternoon, on the way to the doctor, I got out of the car at a gas station and almost couldn’t walk inside. My left knee was so stiff and painful that I had to limp most of the way into the store and a little bit inside before I regained adequate range of motion. Not quite to “handicap parking”-level loss of mobility, but definitely not my norm.

I think I have a psychiatrist appointment next week. Better brace myself for the inevitable lecture on keeping up with my drug regimen. At least I am aware of the problem before I go in. I can try to remember not to automatically tell the doctor that everything is “fine.”

You’d be surprised how easy it is to slip into that automatic response no matter how bad things actually are. It’s become customary to say that you’re “fine” when someone inquires how you are doing. We don’t want to burden friends and family with our problems, we don’t want to sound like we’re whining, or whatever the reason happens to be. I have to get over that enough to let my doctor know what he needs to know. He can’t help if I don’t let him know there’s something going on, after all.

Slow burn

It’s starting to happen…gradually, but it’s happening. I am starting to get burned out from all the SCA and crafting and writing and work and life in general. I’m hoping the few days off for Estrella War will help, but only time will tell.

I’ve kinda lost interest in a lot of activities. I have to force myself to get my sewing work done. I drag myself through the work day. I avoid exercise when I have the slightest ache or pain whereas before I’d look forward to the chance to work out those aches. I don’t want to go to SCA baronial meetings or do my officer job. I just don’t wanna.

Part of it, I think, is that things have become so stale and routine. Yeah, some of the meetings and events may change, but for the most part it’s work/SCA/sleep. Lather, rinse, repeat. Day in, day out. All. The. Time.

I’m trying to motivate myself. I’m trying to tell myself, Hey, if you get this tunic done you can knock out those pants and then it’s just some embroidery and a couple sleeves to go. I’m trying to tell myself, but I guess I’m not listening.

I hope this is just a brief funk and not a true depressive episode. I have too much on my plate to wallow in self-pity or whatever.

Speaking of that tunic, I guess I’ll get back to work.

Not so resolute

The past few years, I’ve tried different methods of planning out new year’s resolutions–I’ve made lists of several resolutions/goals, I’ve kept 3×5 index cards on the fridge, I’ve coordinated with a friend to be resolutions buddies, I’ve narrowed it down to one goal–all with varied results. Oddly enough, the years where I’ve made long lists have been about as successful as those where I just picked one thing to focus on.

What did I decide to do this year? A big, fat nothing. I haven’t so much given up on resolutions as I’ve decided that I just don’t want to be “that guy/girl” who sets lofty goals and then fails to succeed in those goals. Does that mean I have no goals for this year? No, but I’m not aiming for anything that could be quantified as a “resolution,” and I kinda started the list long before the new year rolled around. Hell, I started working towards the list before the new year rolled around.

I want my WIP to be published. I want Book 2 to be revised and polished enough for submission to the publisher. I want to learn more embroidery and sewing techniques, both modern and medieval. I want to enter something in an SCA Arts and Sciences competition. I want to advance in rapier training. I want to keep up with the exercise routine I have with my friends. I want to not break my freakin’ foot again.

All perfectly reasonable goals, right? But I’m not going to call them “resolutions.” That sounds cliche and empty. How many people who make new year’s resolutions actually keep them? I don’t have statistics on that (and really am too lazy to Google it), but I’m going to make a blind generalization that the majority of the people who make new year’s resolutions don’t follow through to the end goal. I’m basing this not on science, but on my perception as viewed through social media and friends’ and family members’ experiences. Because third-hand data, especially data that has not actually been documented and studied, is so reliable. Hey, what can I say? Being informed and accurate is not one of my goals. 😉

I’m not saying that new year’s resolutions are doomed to fail. I’ve succeeded in several over the years. I’m just saying that you shouldn’t resolve to resolve just for the sake of resolving. If you want to make it a true “resolution” to change something in your life at the start of a new year, cool beans. If you just want to set goals for yourself at your own time and pace, that’s cool too. You do what you do, I’ll do what I do, and we’ll get there eventually.

‘Tis the season

Just a few more days until Christmas! Not that I’m Christian, but I like to celebrate the spirit of gift giving this time of year. I think that giving presents to friends and family to show your appreciation of them is something I can totally get on board with, regardless of the religious reason for said gift giving.

I’m a little disappointed that I’m not going to get done sewing one present in time to mail it out, and that I wasn’t able to get to the post office to mail out another one. Then there’s the one I ordered last-minute the wasn’t on the Prime program, so it won’t arrive before Christmas. And it took me forever to figure out what I was getting my husband–so that will be late, too. Boo. None of the recipients mind that their gifts will be late, but I still feel guilty that I didn’t get everything in on time.

Despite the fact that I create an Amazon wish list every year of stuff I’d like to get, I’m not really concerned with what I end up getting. Its the spirit of the season, those friends and family that I mentioned before, that really matter. Seeing how happy they are with their gift(s) (or pretend-happy, depending on how good a job I did of selecting/making said gift) is what makes me happy, not necessarily what kind of haul I end up getting. To be honest, I don’t know if I’d even be disappointed in the slightest if I got no presents–so long as I still was able to buy/make for those I care about.

As the year draws to a close, I think back on my one “resolution”/goal for the new year: to get the first draft of my WIP in finished. I blew past that goal and even finished the first draft of the sequel, plus got a publishing deal. I’m still amazed that I accomplished that much.

This isn’t where I usually post my goals for the next year, but since I mentioned it let’s just get that post out of the way, shall we? Here goes:

  • I want to continue working out with my husband and my friends to gain strength and endurance (and hopefully lose a bit of weight)
  • don’t want to break my motherfucking foot again…or any other bones
  • I want to continue to learn and grow in my rapier practice–maybe win a small tournament? We’ll see
  • I want to get Book 2 finished enough to send it to my publisher for consideration
  • Oh yeah, I want Book 1 to be published. I want to see it in print in a bookstore. Maybe some book signings? We’ll see on that one, too. Oh, and to get at least started on Book 3 🙂
  • I want to make it through my current sewing project list and then some (that one might take up the entire year lol)
  • I want to do my hardest to push back some of this social anxiety to the point where I can enjoy SCA events more and not get overwhelmed by the number of people I don’t know that are around me
  • I want to learn a new art/craft. I’ve already started trying to embroider something, but that might be my “new” thing seeing as how I’ve only just barely started
  • I want to stand up for myself more. On those occasions where my social anxiety is not under control or for events/meetings that I don’t want to go to, I want to be able to say “Hey, honey, I don’t want to do Thing X; can I stay home/in the tent for it or maybe do Thing Y instead?”
  • I want to move into our own home and out of this freakin’ apartment

This probably isn’t a comprehensive list of goals for the coming year, but I think they’re all reasonable. Attainable.

I used to grab a 3×5 index card and jot all these goals down, sticking the card on the fridge for “motivation,” but I don’t think I’ll do that this year. I can keep a running tally in my head of things I’ve accomplished that I set out to do.

Speaking of things to do, I had better get cracking on the gift I’m currently working on. It’s taking a lot of hand sewing because I can’t figure out a good way to use the sewing machine on the weird angles without screwing it up.

Until next time!

The fabric of space

Made great progress on my Italian Renaissance dress today… Until it was pointed out to me that I need considerably more yardage to get the skirt done. Crap.

On the plus side, I had to take in the back of the top a bit because of the weight I’ve lost working out. 🙂 The three days a week of exercise have proven to be successful in shrinking me, even if I don’t see it myself.

I am ever grateful for my husband and our friends for encouraging me to exercise on a regular basis. I’ve never had the ability to stick with an exercise regime of any sort, but I’ve been working out with my friends for several months, and I have no desire to quit. It kills me and makes me ache for days on end, but I feel good knowing that I’m getting stronger and having more endurance.

I’m still going to need more fabric, though. Guess I have to hit the internet for the last of it, because the store didn’t have much left.

I take up less space, but I still need more fabric.