Emily Goes Boxing

Archive for June, 2011|Monthly archive page


In Uncategorized on June 30, 2011 at 7:36 am

I don’t know. I don’t know.

I am thinking of not writing this blog anymore. The fact that some readers have told me they enjoy my blog means a lot to me. A lot. But it has never been my first and biggest motivation for writing. I write plays. They take at least two years to write. And then there is a VERY good chance no audience will see it cause not very many plays get produced. Maybe if I were commissioned to write a play I wouldn’t want to write it.

It could be that pressure (yes-of my own doing) of giving myself one hour before work, every Thursday, is taking the joy out of writing this blog. For the first few times it was a dangerous fun. A panic, a thrill. Now its just pressure.

So. Write the blog on my day off. Give myself TIME. Then just post it Thursday. Or post it whenever I want. What’s this weekly thing all about anyway?

Maybe it’s the fact that when I write fiction I feel like I am discovering the characters and their world. But writing this blog….well, I just sort of repeat what’s going on in my head. Not as interesting a process.

Process. I guess that’s what is most important to me. That’s why I am always afraid of getting bored in my chosen processes. (Play writing, boxing). I use to do stand-up. (My process of choice at the time) Just open mics in hamburger joints, but still terrifying. Comics would do the same routine for 2 years-to be sure of getting the laugh. I would try a new routine every week. And when I finally got my first real big laugh, a YEAR into it, I didn’t want to do stand up any more. “Damn. They laughed. The challenge is over.” Plus. Talk about pressure….laugh or no laugh…..

But with writing a play-it somehow still feels endless-in a good way. I SO hope it will, even if it gets produced. Even if people love it. I hope, hope, hope, hope, hope, that writing fiction will always feel endless. So far it has –for 20 years. Then again, I never had to do it under the pressure of a deadline. Oh wait. I have. Once a month, for 6 months I had to write a ten-minute play in 4 days……I’m flustered.

Maybe it’s because I write fiction without ever expecting to be published or produced, but because a blog is OUT in the world-I expect to be noticed. I don’t like that expecting stuff….

Maybe it’s because I don’t know WHY I write this blog anymore. Now that the newness of trying to write what I can in an hour has worn off, and the newness of trying to be honest and open without sounding like a journal has been tested, (Still feels too journal like for my taste…not sure that anything that I write using “I” could feel otherwise.) and the newness of boxing is not as new….maybe the fact that blogs are…..bloggy….

But. I have ALWAYS been very glad to HAVE posted this blog…..But is it a deeper glad than having vacuumed the house? I think so….And I still take notes about my thoughts and happenings-they pile up before every blog posting. So something is motivating me still….

I’m not going to decide anything this week, except to try an write this blog on my day off. See how that feels. Plus. My friend, who I saw every week for 10 years moved away.

At the gym, there was a guy in the ring with his coach. The guy was hitting the mitts as hard as he could, as fast as he could and his coach was yelling at him to say “I WANT THIS!” “I WANT THIS!” Coach said LOUDER-I can’t hear you! “I WANT THIS!” coach said really?! It doesn’t sound like you do! “I WANT THIS!” And the guy was practically fainting from exhaustion, his voice was going out…..I happen to be hitting the heavy bag at the time. Feeling miserable about my jab. And to myself, as I was hitting and hitting I was saying and saying, “My friend left. My friend left. My friend left. My friend left.”

Till next Thursday…..


In Uncategorized on June 23, 2011 at 7:41 am

Gorgeous. Okay. That’s how you spell gorgeous. T was texting, sitting on one of the benches next to the scrawny kid (10 years old?) he had just coached. Then T asked Hard Life Guy if he knew how to spell Gorgeous. He didn’t, so Hard Life Guy asked me. I can’t spell worth crap so Hard Life Guy asked some other boxer who asked some other boxer and no one knew. So I said to T “Just call her something else.” The scrawny kid thought that was funny. T said, “I can’t keep calling her the same things all the time. I don’t want to sound like a caveman.”

It is remarkable what T notices. The details in my movements and why they are happening. This week I stopped being “cat like” as he put it. “Why are you throwing your punches like a cat?” Turns out that I was so focused on speed, I was not landing the punch. All the obsessive research and reading and watching boxing YouTube instructions gets in my way. It’s information I can use but maybe not at this early stage of the game. It adds too many layers that I am not ready for. So SPEED got in my head and turned my punch into a cat swipe. But now. Geeeeeez. I had some SOLID punches.

And now when T when holds up the mitts- I think of him as a heavy bag, not a human. Otherwise my fear of missing the mitt and hitting him in his face gets in the way. He’s okay with that.

What is it that ups my comfort level around a place and with the people? Now I linger at the gym. Sit on the rickety bench that is covered in a green scratchy carpet (for some reason) and feel perfectly fine just watching and sipping water, where as before I would gather my stuff and make a bee line for the door. Also, I can say things now to T that I wouldn’t before. It’s not like he’s changed, but I’m not as timid anymore about grabbing his attention so I can get some more mitt time, or ask him to put on my other boxing glove so I don’t have to use my teeth.  And, although I was always jokey with T, now my jokes are a little bolder. Like when he gets distracted-just suddenly puts down the mitts and stares off into space and we are standing there wondering if he is done or not, I vocalize his thought bubble. “Hmmm. What should I have for dinner?” Basically telling him to hold the mitts up again. I never have used a joke to get someone to do something. Could boxing actually be making me a bolder?

People who don’t use there turning signals, or drive too close to me when I’m riding my bike don’t anger me as much. And I’m not as angry at dust and unwashed dishes….Could hitting the heavy bag till my arms feel like they are falling off be helping me? It seems so cliché-that I’m letting my anger out. I don’t feel angry or a lack of it when I’m hitting things in the gym. But maybe I am more pent up than I think I am….

What if my comfort turns into boredom? What if after a while I don’t think it’s heartwarming-the bench covered in green scratchy carpet. Or the sound of the buzzer going off every 3 minutes. What if all the sudden it’s not fun to joke with T and try and make the scrawny kid laugh. What if the routine (ritual) of setting my gym bag under the other bench (not covered in green carpet) and wrapping my hands to get ready for the boxing part of my life, feels after awhile like brushing my teeth – a boring routine……I don’t want my comfort level to turn into boredom. I will be so sad if I get bored.

Till next Thursday…..


In Uncategorized on June 16, 2011 at 7:32 am

SNAP like a firecracker. Or what ever a firecracker would say. But that’s the sound of me throwing a solid, fast punch. The sound it’s SUPPOSE to make when you hit the mitts dead center. It’s the sound of hitting a clean shot-with power coming from your whole body, not just arm. It’s the sound of me NOT thinking and not worried I’d miss and hit T’s head. It’s the sound of me. Finally! Who knows if I will be able to do again next time. Perhaps I won’t, but it’s in me now, so it will come back.

Is it the gym or is it me? But firecracker day felt right the moment I walked in. The day before the whole place felt dragged down. Firecracker day, everyone was smiling and joking. I was ready for that, the day the gym was dragging. And there was some of that, but the mood didn’t travel throughout the whole place. See. I’m getting superstitious now about how I threw such good punches. I have to just, oh man, there is no other way to say this, believe in myself. Forget I said that. Cause I don’t even know what that phrase means. It’s so unspecific.

YET. The whole believing in yourself and having confidence and not getting in your own way-that is what I was talking about with the guy who says “Not bad for an old guy”-the guy who acts too excited about stuff and I’m afraid that I act like that too-guy. Firecracker day was a day for me to blurt good stuff. Stuff that worked and made moments. So I just said to him, “So you keep calling yourself an old guy, how old are you?” He’s 60. Had a hard life. Drugs and alcohol. Boxing gives him confidence-that he can go beyond all the crap people told him his whole life.

Firecracker day was also the day I mentioned my age and it felt okay. Hard life guy was amazed that I was 45. AND the woman who reminds me of the friend who is not my friend anymore-we talked. She said-“Oh, I think she’s our age.” Turns out “our age” is 36 (cause I asked of course.) I just realized that in a couple of months I will be 46. Weird. There is something in my head now that says-bring on 50. Maybe I can stay happily in the shape I am now and be 50. That the other stuff I do to keep in shape is unhappy but necessary. But now with boxing, and me having more firecracker days-then maybe I can weed out some of the unhappy exercise stuff. So 50 seems okay.

I have been smiling at the woman who looks my friend but is no longer my friend. Trying to make up for the time that I snubbed her. She has been unreceptive. But SNAP. On firecracker day, she and another woman (who I have talked to) were hitting the mitts with T and all three just turned to me and smiled. (T’s smile was his nice giving me a hard time look.) I made sure to give an extra smile to the woman who looks like my friend but isn’t anymore. OKAY. She needs a shorter name, now that we may actually be talking. How about…..I really don’t know. I can’t seem to shake the used to be friend look alike thing yet……But she told me that I am really picking up boxing quickly. (She said that before my SNAP punches. Maybe that’s why I had SNAP?) And I told her I needed to hear that cause I feel like most of the time that I am-then I flopped my arms around like a rag doll. She says she feels that way sometimes too. Then was my turn to give her a compliment and luckily I had thought of one right after she had smiled at me. Just in case we talked. I wanted to think of an honest compliment and I knew it would take some time, cause the used to be friend look a like thing is still on my mind. So I told her, “I wouldn’t want to be in the ring with you.” Which is true. She looks like she could land a hard punch-whether it is with good form, I am not sure-but she could hit me hard. She thanked me. I still don’t have ease with her. Not like all the other people I have met-where there is a banter and bounce. But now we have a foundation.

I just decided. I am not calling Firecracker day firecracker day. Cause that puts that day on a pedestal. I want to be confident- The SNAP is in me now.

Till next Thursday……


In Uncategorized on June 9, 2011 at 7:31 am

I am back from vacation. And I knew it would happen-I would blurt out to T, in the most awkward way, that I am writing a blog. He and another guy he coaches were sitting on the bench next to where I was doing my 7-minute heavy bag round. They were chatting and then I suddenly said, “I write a blog about this. And you’re in it” (Then I turn to the guy sitting next to him who I have only seen once) “And you are in it.” (He’s not. Why did I say that?!) “You know-Everything is in it.” I think T said something like – Either you must be a really good writer or something very exciting is happening here that I don’t know about. They mumbled something about blogs while I continued to hit the heavy bag. THEN, dear me, I turned back to them and blurted out. “It’s not all about boxing. Sometimes I say things like-why is my mouth open all the time.” (WHY did I say THAT?!) And the guy who is not in my blog-but now is-said, “If I read a sentence that started with why is my mouth open all the time…Click-bye.” I knew it. I knew I would blurt it out this way but now I don’t feel like I am hiding anything.

Good blurt-First thing I said to T was that I think I fixed my jab while on vacation. Turns out it doesn’t suck anymore.

Vacation: My mom was facing the shelves of gluten free products and I was using the back of her head as a target to practice my jab. (Without hitting her.) She’d bob to get a closer look at the ingredients on the box of crackers and I was right there bobbing and jabbing. My dad said he was going to pretend he doesn’t know me, my cousin said that maybe my mom doesn’t want to be a target AND then a voice said, “All right. I’m impressed. Practicing your jab.” He was putting prices on store stuff and I blurted-yes blurted- “My jab sucks. Are you a boxer? I keep hammering down instead of out.” He said, “Hammer. Now would you do that?” Turns out that he has done, “My share of ring time.” He said to stay loose, keep your eye on the target, stay loose, stay loose and relaxed and use your core. Stay relaxed and just throw the jab out there. We were very smile-y with each other and as I left his isle we smiled once more to each other. Then my cousin and I remarked on how VERY cute he was.

Oh. Geeeeez. Why did I blurt out that I have a blog and everyone is in it? Why. Why.
Now I am totally self-conscious about saying anything about anything. Especially about T. Before BLURT I could at least be in denial that no one at the gym was reading this. But now…..Okay. Wait a minute. T or anyone else is not going to read this. And if they do, it would just be once, to try and find themselves, then Click. Bye. Right?

I’m the first driver on the road to turn on the windshield wipers. I try and wait till the windshield is covered with more raindrops but I panic a little. How does everyone else drive with raindrops all over the place? I think it’s related to how I box-I’m panicking a little. I want to learn to be tranquil and immediate at the same time.

Till next Thursday…..


In Uncategorized on June 2, 2011 at 6:41 am

It’s almost 9:00 am. I’m panicking. But wait. I am three hours ahead here. I know I say, “Postings every Thursday sometime before midnight” but I have posted every time by 7:45 am. And I didn’t want to break that. I write the blog then cause I know I will not write it after work and working out. Sometimes a gal just has to enjoy TV.

So yeah. I haven’t boxed this week and will miss a day next week. I’m at my parents. My mom asked at her gym if they have boxing. They don’t, but, and I quote, “The man who wears a rope around his neck, boxes.” My mom did not get clarification on what kind of rope and what man. But I will approach any man with any rope (in that gym) and ask him to show me how to jab correctly.

Also my parents remembered that their neighbors have in their garage, and I quote, “One of those things you hit.” So dad, mom and I leave the house to walk the dog and mom makes a beeline to the neighbor’s open garage and walks in. I stand my ground. Dad goes half way. Then my mom peers out and calls,  “Emily, you can use it!” Then a very sweaty, shirtless, very strong high school guy and his equally shirtless, sweaty, strong father peer out. (They were lifting weights.) Turns out it’s a speed bag. OH MY! SPEED BAG! That thing you hit that I LOVE. I can’t resist (the speed bag). I show them what I got-hardly anything-and the kid, in a very sweet way, does it about a million times faster. Turns out father and son are not boxers but train together for marathons and stuff. They just love the speed bag too. They were really encouraging and very kind when they showed me how to hit the speed bag, giving me tips. Said to come over any time. I know people don’t actually mean ANY time, but they might find me in their garage at 2am.

Since I have not boxed this week, I feel this is a good time to mention my mouth. I think I keep it open too much. Just in a daily way. I have mentioned before that I am trying to learn how to breath through my nose and closed teeth-for boxing-which I am getting better at-but it has just highlighted how much my mouth is open. I have studied a large section of the population where I live. Most have their mouth closed, even when riding their bike or running or using the equipment at the gym. My nose is fine. So why is my mouth open. I think it has something to do with fear of drowning. I also panic in darkens, which is related, cause drowning is dark.

My mouth is closed.

Okay. Two more things. One is sneakers. I, um, bought new ones. BUT, it’s not cause I like having a bunch of sneakers. I actually give away any previous pairs. It’s because shoes represent the essence of me. I was walking down the city streets with my friend and suddenly felt almost nauseous about my black leather adidas. I consulted with my friend who is very sensitive to the sneaker is essence thing and she said, you know what Emily, you aren’t those shoes anymore. Those shoes are not complex enough. They JUST say “badass sport.” But you, Emily, are changing. YOU are now badass (in a good way) and so you don’t need your sneakers to be. She is a very good shoe analyst. Luckily we were near one of the best sneaker places in the city. And I walked out with a pair that I would never, ever have guessed I’d buy. But I trusted my shoe analyst, and am very happy for it. They are very thin, brown leather. A remake of the 1968 official Olympic training shoe. And even though I don’t like the movie, Million Dollar Baby, she-baby-wears a high top version. I did not know that till I went home with my new sneakers and went on YouTube to see what she wore. Just had a feeling she was retro too.

I also love my big brown boots. At first glance they appear to be badass BUT they are also, as my other friend said perfectly, “The Urban Pioneer.”

Last thing, before I go to yoga with my mom……I am using the notion that T told me. He said sometimes it’s useful when you are moving fast to think slowly. (I think he said it works the other way too, but it doesn’t feel as useful.) T meant it for boxing, but he said it works everywhere. It’s true. I get very nervous when I travel and have to get around airports trying to find my way reading signs. But this time, I thought slow and felt so much more confident.

Oooh. Only 6:39 am usual time. Ahead of schedual.

Till next Thursday…..