“It’s not a matter of IF you’re going to get hurt, it’s a matter of WHEN.” –my doctor friend, on Jiu Jitsu.
I’m having a bad day.
Last week for some unknown reason my shoulder hurt. When I say hurt I mean that it felt like this:
Wait–that doesn’t look painful enough, despite the pokies in it. Let’s just say my shoulder felt like I had palladium poisoning.
My entire shoulder seized up and I had difficulty breathing because breathing moved the muscles on my chest, which were attached to my shoulder, which killed me. Dead. I sincerely could barely move. Moving was agony. I made it through one class with no rolling, but then died. Went for a massage yesterday to fix it. Was feeling great today.
Then, in class, tragedy struck (I’m on this hyperbole thing. Go with it!). I was on top, my partner had me in half-guard, and I was working my way out of it. I was leaning over him, holding him down and I had my left arm posted and all my weight on it. My partner reached out to pull my hand out and try for a sweep. He accidentally grabbed my elbow and pulled. I heard POP POP. I immediately let go of him and fell onto my back. I covered my eyes with my right hand and just lay flat.
(an aside–after class, while trying to figure out what the heck went wrong, I asked the purple belt in our class if I shouldn’t have had my arm posted out, or if I shouldn’t have had my weight on it. He said I was fine, that I was NOT wrong to have done that. It was just a weird series of unfortunate events)
I was torn between sobbing and trying to figure out if I was in enough pain to cry.
You see, sudden pain makes me cry, both when it’s to my elbow or to my face. Hearing what is possibly the most disturbing sound I’ve ever heard–my joints unnaturally popping, and feeling that sudden pain made me cry. But I didn’t want to AGAIN just weep in front of my teammates (again, wtf there were only 4 of us students + the teacher!), so I stayed on the ground trying to manage my tears.
Of course it looked like a scene from Days of our Jiu Jitsu and it looked so much more dramatic than it should have. Sigh.
I have about
90% range of motion make that closer to 40 or 50% now. I went to an acupuncturist (even if it doesn’t have medical basis, I’m hoping the placebo effect will work on me) and now I’m icing it. But it got me thinking:
The thing that kills me is that when I DO cry I chide myself for “crying like a little girl” or “acting like a girl” or for “crying like a little bitch” or for acting too much like a stereotypical female. ARGH! Why do I do that? THAT makes me angry. It makes me angry that my brain goes there! I DON’T think women are weak, so why, when I cry in front of my teammates, do I feel like I’m being a “weak woman.” Dear brain, CUT IT OUT.
My question of the week (and there are TWO):
1. How do you handle pain? When you are accidentally elbowed in the face or body slammed or sprain a wrist on the mat, what do you do? Do you shake it off and keep going like the Korean Zombie? Do you pull yourself to the side and quietly suck it up? Does it stop you like a freight train that is tear-powered? (I realize that makes no sense–if it were powered by my tears it would go CRAZY FAST, not stop, but it sounds weird to say something else. HYPERBOLE, MAN, GO WITH IT!)
2. If you’re a woman and you cry in BJJ class, do you beat yourself up for crying? Do you just accept that as a human being you cry? Or do you connect it more with your femaleness? Or…something else? I’ve simply determined I will never be an MMA fighter, nor a boxer, unless they want to call me Julia “Tearstained” Johansen, or Julia, the Cry-inator, or Julia “Crybaby” Johansen, or Julia McTears-a-lot, or Julia “Cry me a river” Johansen. Not because I’m a chica, but because sudden impact=instant tears.
BJJ is a pain in my hyperbole. Fo sho.
UPDATE: wow–my shoulder is completely better, but my elbow is causing pretty intense pain. I’m going to try to see a doctor either today or tomorrow, Monday at the latest. I THINK there’s a sports clinic near my work. I’m going to call and try to get an appointment. Will continue to update.