Toy-like people make me boy-like!
When I started martial arts a few years ago, I wasn't in bad shape. I was nearing thirty, had had a kid, never really paid much attention to my diet; but I've always been stronger than average and "bouncy"; I burn a lot of calories just twitching and running around generally. So compared to many (especially many Midwestern American) women, I was pretty lean, with slightly-better-than-average strength and muscle-tone.
Fast forward through a whole bunch of taiji, a serious dose of shorin ryu and a good sprinkling of kungfu, plus some basic mandatory pushups-and-situps stuff. Now I'm even slightly more lean, quite a bit stronger (especially in the core-muscle area), and if I really work at it, I can show you actual muscles, like, with lines and stuff.
Naturally this situation has been a tinderbox all along. Wanting to be stronger can only be a distant glow for so long; eventually the fuse catches and before you know it you're shopping for weights and getting angry that you don't have room for a squat-cage. Oh yes! The geek-fire hath spread again. ;)
I'm up to almost 50 pushups and 130 crunches (still doing the 100 pushups / 200 situps challenge from before; it works! –Or it's working so far, anyway!); and yeah that's nice, but come on, it's beginner stuff. Time to get some barbells and really have fun!
Only…getting them is not fun. Getting them, so far, has meant being asked to "talk to my husband about it" twice, and directed to the Pink Hand-Weights section whenever I'm stupid enough to look in a store. And did you know that weightlifting equipment — even professional Olympic-grade stuff — has a crippled female version? Seriously, the bars are 2" shorter and often lighter. WHY?? I bet they don't suggest the "women's bar" for short men, either, because it's pretty obviously not about size — I have yet to see a single "for people under 5'5"" or something on any of it–not that that would make much sense either, since, you know, it's a BAR and you can just slide the weights in farther if it's really an issue — no, it's divided by GENDER, and to the point where women competing professionally in weightlifting are forced to use the crippled equipment, while men never are. So a six-foot woman should be using wussier equipment than a five-foot guy. BECAUSE OF THE WHY? Do we have to go in the back door and use a separate drinking-fountain too?! (Oh wait..sometimes, yes we do).
So anyway — not fun, that and the general amount of static even the subject of pursuing strength as a goal generates in the population at large…apparently everyone and their mother (as well as my mother) feels they have not just the right, but the obligation, to inform me that I'd better be careful or I'll be ugly (because strong men are attractive and strong women are icky) / have no breasts (as opposed to what? Have you looked at mine, lol) / scare people (is bad why? Scary men are envied, and they arguably can't even make as good a use of it as a woman can, defense being a particular issue of ours) / go blind or piss off Jesus or whatever.
Oh, also, once I get some (more? visibler?) muscles I am apparently going to bleach my hair and prance around in bikinis all the time and suddenly become incapable of marital fidelity. Geez, who knew that being strong also turned one into a "stupid slut"! (Or a lesbian, which in popular parlance seems to be a frigid subspecies thereof.)
I can't imagine how that narrative got started. ::facepalm::
For various reasons, this is looking like a Lost Year for me, coming up; a year of biding and slowly plodding towards goals I had hoped to reach this summer, but which "the triumph of inferior influences", as the I Ching puts it, has stalled for a while. Which doesn't make it seem like a bad year to focus on self-improvement, specifically strength of various sorts, which will hopefully make me readier for the challenges when they do hit, after sitting around building up energy for a year.
Oh, and I seem to have found an awesome full-contact Wing Chun school right by my house. Think I'll go ahead and put the cream on that there cookie, and learn to brawl too, if I can eek out the time!
So that's my "new and exciting", or a chunk of it anyway. Feel free to share yours! Just don't tell me how I'm going to lose some measure of my "femininity" or something by working out, or I will come over there and put this Olympic Men's Size barbell right up your…ego. ;)