Thursday, February 21, 2008

Living in a Body

It’s no way to live, but I just now had the ideation that I don’t really like people, and don’t want to be around them. We must suppose that by people I mean strangers and the like. Even so, there’s something wrong.

I’ve started working out again. My old strength workout. Stopped it three years ago when I took up BJJ. I’ve had my little joke in these pages about my masculine beauty. The reality is that I do indeed present a pretty impressive picture, a lean and reasonably muscled guy who looks generally younger than his years. What’s disturbing to me is that I’m not as strong as I look, or at least as strong as I thought I was. A few years ago I could dip twice my body weight ten times. 360. Now I strap 35 pounds around my waist and think that’s really hard. I could squat three times my body weight ten times. Now I can manage twice my weight, 5 times. I was six pounds away from a one-armed chin-up. Now it’s 24 pounds.

But I’m feeling vigorous. And I find I have that essential mental focus needed for the sorts of gains that I do know how to make. So I’m working out again. I just have to find the time. Last year around April I was all revved up about competing in the World Championships, the Mundials, and I was going to gain some weight and some strength and all that, but I got that strange shoulder and arm injury.

Now in five weeks it’s the PanAms again, which I won. I’m thinking about competing again. I’m thinking about fighting in a younger age division. I’m pushing 50, y’know. I’m thinking Masters, which is 30 to 35. Spot them 15 years. My height is usually an advantage, but I’m slow nowadays, and not all that talented, and not very aggressive. I do like to win. I’ve never lost a gi fight. But these young blue belts will be much tougher than what I’m used to. Don’t get to train with people my size all that often.

I never had a midlife crisis. It was more of a catastrophe, and I didn’t have it, it had me. My family was destroyed by hostile outside forces. A few other things. You know -- carnage. But partly I never had a midlife crisis because I never had a place in the world to begin with, outside of family. A career just to make money -- I was a dedicated teacher, loyal to a corrupt system, but I was always an outsider. My marriage failed long before midlife, and I was never motivated to trick some other female into thinking she loved me.

So, what? I train BJJ, I read, I do what I do. I write this silly blog. My son is out of state, still, on some business. I miss him. I avoid meaningful contact with people. I listen to ambient noise -- heaters and clocks and heartbeats. I avoid sources of anxiety. I notice that almost all of my sentences begin with “I”, but suppose that anything else is just subterfuge.

Every once in a great while I’ll get a comment here, about how twisted I am. They’re just talking about some detail of my prose. Am I really twisted? I suppose so. On the continuum of human twistedness, I’d say I skew about 15 degrees south of normal. Why would that be? I expect it’s because I’ve always been aware of how alone we are. It’s my first memory. It’s why my sentences begin with I.

I don’t tell the details of my story because I haven’t given up hope. If you knew the details, I’d be lost. Extremes of the continuum -- lost at one end, hope at the other. And slightly off-center, tilting toward the darkness, is always being alone.



brent said...

The details matter little for they can't tell the story. You are the story.

Will C. said...

Jack, you are not twisted. If we all (excuse my southernness) exposed a fraction of our inner thoughts and feelings we would appear...well you know.
Whereas you expose a great deal to us and seem only very...human

Jack H said...