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Showing posts from April, 2014

Why I Choked

I have been meaning to write this post for over two weeks now.  It would have been better if I had been able to write it back on the day, but of course if I had been able to think clearly then, by definition I wouldn't have choked, so there you go.  Has it been long enough now for me to think rather than simply be overwhelmed by my emotions?  I can still see my opponent's face so clearly when we took off our masks and were signing the bout sheet after she had won.  She knew what she had done to me, and I knew what she knew she had done.  I still don't know how I am going to live that feeling down.

So let's start by making a list.  Why?!!! Why, why, why, why, why???--when I knew what kind of fencer she was, when I had in fact warmed up with her on that very day and so had some more recent information about how she was fencing, when I had just seen her beat someone whom I knew to be a stronger fencer than she (or, at least, than she had been until that day).  Well, there…

1 Corinthians 15:55

Where there's life, there's hope.  But is there hope in death?

A friend and colleague of mine died this past week of a cancer that was diagnosed less than six months ago, just after Thanksgiving.  Last autumn, she and a colleague took a group of students on a pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela in Spain.  This spring, she is dead, leaving behind her father, her brother, her husband, and their two sons.  She was 53.

There is no logic in her death.  She was, in so many ways, the best of us, the most generous, the most giving, the most supportive, the calmest, always ready with a thoughtful word.  Thinking of her, what I remember best is her warmth, the gentleness of her voice, and her smile.  Although I saw her only infrequently after graduate school, she always gave the impression of having been thinking about me.     She had an almost magical ability to make one feel loved and respected and treasured.

And now she is dead.  I can only imagine what her family must be feeling if …

Achilles' Heel

Which is the true measure of my strength: that I cry when I choke (and did I choke on Sunday!), or that I get back on the strip even after humiliating myself in front of all of my friends and try again?

Growing up, it was regularly borne upon me that crying was the worst of failings, the greatest of sins, the true marker of my character.  "Why do you get so upset?  It's only [fill in the blank]."  "Don't upset Rachel, she can't take it." My siblings knew that I could always be counted upon to burst into tears of rage and frustration if they pushed me hard enough, at which the adults would sit round shaking their heads and saying, "Why can't she learn to control her temper?" and trying desperately to distance themselves from the storm.

It was humiliating.  Every time it happened, after the storm passed, I simply wanted to die, run away, get as far away from the things that had made me so panicky.  In my humiliation, all I could see was fail…

On Quitting

Right, so, that was painful.  And, yes, it still hurts, although it seems to be passing. But am I actually going to quit?

Yes and no. Yes, I need to quit, but, no, I probably won't. I'm not sure that this is entirely a good thing.

Where am I going with this thought?

I am still very, very tired from this past weekend.  I feel like a storm has blown through and there are still branches down in the street.  I am happy to have had the desire to blog again, at least briefly.  Will that last?  I don't know, but I realize that I actually hope so.

I don't like quitting.  And yet, it is an odd form of weakness not to be able to quit doing something that hurts so very much.  Why don't I just run away?

I meant this post to be a little more philosophical, not just ramblings, but not having blogged in so long, maybe this is what I need to do.  Just sit down at the page and....  And what?

What is the difference between quitting and failure?  When I say I don't like quittin…

So Long, and Thanks for All the Bouts

Something died in me this weekend.  It was the spring Veterans' NAC.  All the usual suspects, plus a few new faces.  I fenced brilliantly in both my pools: 4-1 on Friday in Veteran Women 40-49 foil, 5-1 yesterday in Veteran Women Combined foil.  On Friday I placed 4th out of the pools overall; on Sunday I tied for 6th.  And then I blew it.  TWICE.  I lost my first DE on Friday 8-10, thus losing my place in the medal round (top 8).  And I lost my second DE yesterday, again 8-10, again losing my place in the medal round--the first time ever in Vet Combined that I even had a place to lose after the pools.  And that basically broke my heart.

One of my friends was watching the Veteran Women Foil Team finals with me on Saturday, and he said something about fencing being a fickle sport.  Fickle is exactly the word--and its god is Loki.  No matter what kind of offerings you bring to the god, he will cheat and trick and lie to you.  Nothing that you do can appease him if he is in the mood …