Monday, May 6, 2013

The end of a relationship.

My head's been a monkey lately, quietened only by Valium. I wrote a post a few days ago, and forgot to publish it. All water under the bridge now.

Yesterday was the last day of our capoeira batizado or grading festival. I wasn't going to go, but when I woke up, it was a beautiful day, and so I did.
 Darling Harbour, where the grading was held.

The festival lasted about 3 hours. I felt like a fish out of water. 3 hours is a long time to flop around gasping. Surrounded by my happy fellow students of capoeira, excitement and expectation on their faces, freshly dyed new cords around their waists, I did my best to clap, sing and dance along, but the truth is, I felt morose, nostalgic and old. I couldn't decide if it was harder watching my friends do moves I've never been able to master, or moves I used to do easily and no longer can. It seemed like an age since I felt their bliss.

I started training capoeira almost 11 years ago. I estimate a good 3 years of that was spent recovering from injuries and surgeries. I always joke that my body hurt less when I was drinking 7 days a week, smoking a pack a day, drinking red bull on all nighters at the studio, and the only exercise I got was clubbing.

But I have zero regrets. I might have 2 bum knees now and will never trek Machu Picchu but capoeira gave me a lot more than it took. On a physical level, it improved my reflexes, coordination, spatial awareness, peripheral vision and balance which, I'll have you know, is very useful for scrubbing my toes while standing on one leg in a soapy wet bath tub. All good things for an older person, no doubt about it. 

On a mental level, it made me face some fears, and while I didn't conquer all of them, I think I made a dent. I learnt how to sing in Portuguese and in public, a very useful skill I'm sure you'll agree, and how to play 4 new musical instruments. Best of all, for the first time since I stopped working 14 years ago, I felt part of a community, met some good people, made some friends, discovered Brazilian churrasco, pão de queijo, feijoada (all food, in case you're wondering), and re-kindled a childhood love of and interest in South America.

I told Cushion before the batizado started that this would be my last one. To my surprise, for someone who laughed at and sometimes ridiculed my obsession with the game (and rightly so, in retrospect), he said he was proud that I had lasted 11 years. That made me sniffle. He didn't think I would even finish the 8 week beginner course. Considering I couldn't do 5 push ups when I started and have the attention span of a gnat, I totally understand why he would have thought that. I have to take this opportunity to thank him for his patience. While I'm at it, I suppose I should apologise to my neighbours for pounding the atabaque 
 and wailing away to the berimbau
for hours on end.

I have to say, I'm proud of myself for making it this far. I'm also disappointed that I only made it this far. 

But I know it's time to hang up my belts, or maybe bin them like my friend Chapeuzinho. I'll still be playing in the park. If I'm lucky, maybe Astro, Cleopatra, Falcao, Sorriso, Louva Deus, Rogue, De'Ouro and other friends who left before me will play with me. Or maybe I'll play by myself at the gym, why not? It's always fun to amuse the other gym members. I still hope to attend classes with my mestre when time allows. But I think I finally understand what the bum knees, hyper-extended fingers, stiff neck, torn quadriceps, sore wrist, fractured rib, fractured toe and split eye have been trying to tell me for years.

And so I thank capoeira for its last and greatest lesson. Accepting that what you want to do and what you can do aren't always the same and that's okay. 


I know most of you reading this won't have a clue what I'm rabbiting on about today but I just had to get the hum out of my head. Please feel no obligation to comment. I'm sorry I haven't been visiting. With just a week to go before we leave for New Zealand, I can't even promise to find the time to visit but I hope you're all well. I will try to do an update on the girl whose blog this is before we leave. She seems a bit stressed too, no doubt recognising the backpacks now lying in the guest room waiting to be filled. I miss our conversations, more than you can imagine. 

The Typist X

P.S. Parabéns to all my capoeira friends who got their new belts, especially Mandioca! I know you might be reading this, you're the only who does ;) Well done girl! I'm so proud of you.

"Come on, Typist! How about we move on from this nauseating display of self-pity and snuggle instead?"


Jen said...

I know about capoeria in only the most circuitous of ways, because I heard about it while playing one of those arcade fighter games and looked up some of the videos on Youtube. How very neat that you've experienced so much of it! I'm glad that you shared.

houndstooth said...

I have felt how much you loved it through your words about it over the years. I understand why it's bittersweet. I hope that you find peace with letting it go and perhaps something new to fill that spring in your soul!

Barb said...

I deinitely think you should reconsider. Why give up something that has given you so much joy? Just because we sge doesn't mean we have to take to the rocker. Go on your journey and enjoy NZ - when you come back perhaps your zeal for capoeira will await you. Hugs to you and to Georgia before she goes to doggie camp.

Anonymous said...

You made me cry at work...really hope you'll join us now and again. If I don't see you before then have an amazing time in NZ!! xxx Mandioca

Anonymous said...

It made me very sad reading your post :( what funny times. I'm aching to train and train and play in rodas but temporarily deprived of a group. Looking at the old group yesterday I had no regrets about leaving it apart from the camaraderie we all shared....such good times we had... I will never forget the first class you walked into at Balmain PCYC all those years ago. The beginning of an epic era. All the songs we learnt and sang together! And our endless games in the roda. You were the only one who shared my obsession for learning new music! xxx De'Ouro

Jean said...

I thought your lack of blogging/blog commenting was because you were away in New Zealand, and here you haven't even left yet! Well! But I enjoyed capoeria vicariously through your posts (and without my body suffering the injuries!), and though I will be sad to see you set it aside, I know you will have other adventures and passions with which to regale us.
And I know just what you mean about the pleasure of being part of a community once you stop working for pay. I can't imagine how isolated I would feel if I didn't have my various groups and activities.

Have a good trip, hugs to Georgia who I hope will enjoy Camp Will Be Great.

Greyhounds CAN Sit said...

You know what Typist? I reckon you'll move on to other things, and I don't mean crochet:) After a trip to New Zealand you might develop a healthy interest in Kapa Haka and that's something you could do in Sydney:) Have a great trip over here. I hope it's good for your soul. Hugs to GLP, don't forget to pack her pj's!

Tootsie said...

Dear Typist:

Tootsie's Mom here.

We thought you had already gone to NZ, so we'll take the opportunity to wish you a wonderful trip. I imagine Georgia is stressed, feeling so many transitions and decisions! Fur therapy is in order for so many reasons.

When I left modern dancing many years ago, I felt nothing but relief. Then when I left NYC, and really left any possibility of my dancing career behind, I was so happy. My body was a mess. Could barely walk without pain, and I rebuilt. Slowly. But I didn't realize how much I would miss the communion with others in movement. It's something I've been missing lately, intensely, no doubt because of how isolating it can be to live in another language one barely speaks much less understands. Lately, I've been missing dance -- a lot -- no doubt because of that communion of movement. And yet the idea of joining others in movement with all my aches and pains just does not feel safe.

Your post helps me to understand that my bum knee and aching back and whacked self-image is all workable. What the body wants to do -- and what I can do -- are two different things. I've been trying so much to accept. Just to accept. And I'm afraid I'm no good at it. I'm very impressed with your wisdom and your care of your body and your dedication to Capoeira.

I have to write, as someone who knows and has known intense physical challenges, I am beyond impressed with 11 years of Capoeira. Bloody hell, woman, how did you do it? Incredible. I've always been terrified of Capoeira, the swinging legs and spiraling bodies, so I admire your perseverance and the way you now let your body lead your needs.

Congratulations. And love. Beautiful post. Beautiful letting go.

Tootsie's Mom Renee

Friko said...

When one door closes another usually opens, except for the very last one.

So, chin up and courage, dear girl. There are many adventures waiting and bum knee or no bum knee, knowing you, you’ll jump right in and take them to the limit. In any case, Georgia needs her typist in one piece, not crippled for life.

Enjoy NZ and whatever pleasures there are to come in the future.

3 doxies said...

Oh my...dis is sad cuz I knows you'll miss da sense of community and furiendships but at da same time your body does needs to heal. Now if I can just talk some sense into my mum bouts da weightliftin'. Her is a lost cause though. I am just glad dat you has come to da realization befores your body has irreperable damage.
I am glad my mum read Renee's comment...very powerful thoughts and things mum has thought many times. Her wants to do things but her body just won't allow it anymore.

I hope you has a wonderful vacation and I can't wait furs you to get back.


GizmoGeodog said...

Great to hear from you...First, let me send a big hug to Georgia...Now about your post...You're right, I had no idea what Capoeira is but I have google so I do now... I relate to what you're saying about listening to your body...I'm going kicking and screaming into my next "age" and am learning to accept some limitations...I hate it but it's a fact of life that there's things I just can't do anymore with these tired old knees...But it sounds like there's ways you can still be involved and you should be...Play your music, keep up your connections and allow yourself the pleasure of staying a part of the community you obviously love

Anonymous said...

Ah, yes, I recognise that sentiment so much, so much. For someone with the attention span of a gnat I think the dedication you have shown through so many injuries is remarkable and admirable. Loved singing and playing in the roda with you. Valeu! Chappers. Xxx

Anonymous said...

What a beautiful and poignant post. It's funny, but the lesson I got from your dedication and commitment to capoeria is this - never be afraid to try something challenging and new and exciting - even when you might feel silly or stupid or people might laugh at you, pursue it anyway. I admire you for pursuing something that sparked something within you. 11 years is a long time. Most professional football, basketball and baseball players in the U.S. don't get that many years.

As for the loss and sadness. I understand. I gave up a passion of mine two years ago. It took me forever to say goodbye and even when I held on tight I knew it was time to let go.

May your trip to NZ be a fresh start. A cleansing of the mind, spirit and body. Wishing you a wonderful trip.

georgia little pea said...

THANK YOU EVERYONE for taking the time to share your thoughts on this tardy blog! Yes, I am still here so what was my excuse? Ahem.

BARB, of course you would say that. Anyone who tapes a broken toe to ski has my respect ;)

SUE, kapa haka? I'm intrigued. I don't follow football but I always watch the haka! Love it!

RENEE, you have a knack for making me bawl. If I have trouble breathing tonight, it'll be your fault. I'm no good at accepting and letting go at all, but there comes a point when ALL of us will just have to suck it up and do it. Yes? :)

MEL, thank you for giving me that perspective which I hadn't really thought of, being a glass half empty type of person!

Anonymous said...

Have a great time in NZ, I have always wanted to go there. I hope you feel better, sometimes our minds just take over and we have to go along for the ride.

Anonymous said...

11 yrs to commit to something is pretty long. I could last only 3 yrs with Capoeira. Don't think the relationship has ended - you'll always have that. It's just you are moving into better things :). Letting go is hard (Even sometimes I find difficult to practice what I preach). Take care. Try to catch up before you go to NZ. Prab

Sherri said...

I thought you were already in NZ, so thanks for the chance to saw "Have a great trip!".

Transitions are hard for dogs and people, and so is moving on when a time for something we've loved is past. Just remember, to all things there is a season. Hugs to all.

On a less serious note, I can't commit to an exercise or activity for more than a few months at a time. 11 years is very impressive (and so is that list of injuries!).

Peggy Frezon said...

11 years is a long time. I expect Georgia will guide you on to new and exciting opportunities. I always learn a little something, or feel a little more connected, by reading your thoughts. I hope you have a great trip to NZ.

altadenahiker said...

"Accepting that what you want to do and what you can do aren't always the same thing, and that's ok."

That pretty much sums up life at any age. Well typed.

Anonymous said...

Have a good time in NZ.

Yes, it's always sad to give up something that has been so important through the years. I'm not convinced though that this is your last hurrah. Ageing shouldn't mean stopping, just slowing down a little.

Ruby said...

Well, again, Ma is TOTALLY CLUELESS!!! BOL Butts, that is not going to stop her from tellin' you that if you can stick with anything for 11 years, you had to have loved it. And, if it comes with accessories (belts), then YEA!! Ma always loves a good accessory!! hehehehe Okays, I know they must be very important, and Ma shouldn't makes funs, butts she's a doodoo head, so there's that.
I hopes you continue to do whats makes you happy. At the end of the day, that really is all we have.
Ma, she has MOI! I keep tellin' her 'I' make her happy, even when I'm tearin' the crap out of stuffs.
(I thinks she's comin' around...)
I hope you have a FABulous time in NZ!! Ma is all kinds of jealous!

sagechronicles said...

It's hard to turn loose something you've grown to love, but it's also good that you know when the time is right to do it. I've always believed that when one thing ends, something else equally as good turns up.

Have fun on your NZ trip! I hope it's productive.

Rose ~ from Oz said...

Oh gosh 'T', Jean and Friko have swiped most of my thoughts!
You need to feel a little or a big bit sad for a little while - capoeira has given you so much. I felt similar when I left the Army and all my friends, the sense of belonging and community, new skills and challenges of which you thought you'd never grasp or master. I digress, your post - by the time I got to the para......And so I thank Capoeira for its last and greatest lesson" I was for sure a bit choked up for that lesson is so true, and accepting it, infuses one with a "calm".
My beloved and I went to NZ three times we loved it over there so much. A lifetime ago and well before he died, we even talked of moving there - around Lake Wanaka, in a rustic cabin. Visit Lake Wanaka for me :) You will adore NZ.

Hugs for you 'T'
Pats and, hugs for Ms Pea.

georgia little pea said...

THANK YOU EVERYONE! It's a bright new morning here and I feel a lot lighter (though unfortunately, not on the scales).

PRABBIE, coming from a devout Buddhist, that worries me. If you can't do it, do I have a hope? ;)

True MS HIKER, and equally difficult at any age.

Dear ROSE, you mustn't let people swipe your thoughts like that. Perhaps you should wear an al foil hat? BWAH haha! I didn't know you were in the army. This would explain the ruthless precision with which you've been clearing your yard and marching on with your new life. We love South Island which we visited, must be 15 years ago. This time, only North Island. It's warmer, so we've been told. What a pity you never moved to your rustic cabin at Wanaka. It can still be done.

Pamela said...

What a poignant and bittersweet post.

I had a similar feeling when I moved away from my "distressed" Philadelphia neighborhood. Yes, it wasn't easy playing opera music to keep drug dealers off my steps, finding crack addicts in my house every week, and being sued by my favorite slumlord.

But the neighbors who were working so hard to save our block were my community. And the pain and frustration was only one piece of an experience that created my identity.

You're not really leaving capoeria because you've integrated it into your life. It helped make you the funny, fearless, and fabulous woman you are.

But you're moving it far enough aside to make room for other things. And I can't wait to see what they are.

Hope you have a wonderful trip. Can't wait to hear all about it.

What Remains Now said...

What a tender and bittersweet post. I go there on certain days too. This week had two lovely examples of my advancing age...
There is a new show here in the States called "The Americans" about Communist spies in America during the 1980s. I was talking to one of the young tech guys at work about it and he was listening to my Army recollections of being in West Germany (I was surprised he even knew there used to be an East Germany and a West Germany) like I was a piece of living history. Then, on Sunday, I was going to give a tour at the Center for History and the two people I was taking on the tour weren't where they were supposed to be, so I asked the young man at the counter what they looked like so I could try to find them. He said they were an older couple but he couldn't remember what they looked like. Come to find out, they were 8 years younger than me...HA! These things really make me laugh though. It's those odd moments when I hear a song, or see a cast of light or the temperature in the air is just right, that I get a little melancholy. Nothing to do but get through it and forge ahead. Age does have a wonderful freedom and anonymity about it that I love. Currently, we're in a bit of turmoil. My husband's position was eliminated, so both of us are job hunting. A little scary, but I'm kind of excited too. I just hope we don't get in a situation where the pups have to be left alone for too long during the day. Have a wonderful time in New Zealand. I'll bet that helps you feel better. Travel always makes me feel good.

H and Flo said...

Whaaaaat? I know I took the mickey about how it's hard to injure yourself when all you do is lie on the couch, but I'm really sad you're giving up capawhatnot. Bear with me, I'm going to put something up on my site for you... :)

H and Flo xxx

Karen said...

Ah, the mind is willing, but the flesh is weak. Letting go of something old means that something *new* will come.

Have fun in NZ and pet Miss GLP for me.

georgia little pea said...

Dear PAMELA, crack addicts in your house every week? That's more exciting than being kicked in the head methinks.

LORI, I'm so sorry to hear about your hubby. I wish you both the best of luck finding jobs that won't take you away from your pups all day. But you know what? Like us humans, they will adapt. You're so right about the anonymity of age. I love that part of it and being free to do/say what's on my mind and not worry that it will affect my future prospects. Hah! What future prospects? Is this what they mean by cranky old crone? ;)

Mmm...A Mystery, H. Can't wait.

2 Punk Dogs said...

Beautiful post, I understand how you feel. I used to ride horses and still have the bad knees and back that made me sell my last horse over 15 years ago. It was the hardest thing to realize that it was better for the horse to go to someone who could ride and train her on a regular basis. Once we found her a great home I finally had the time to heal and do other things. (You might be interested in Power Yoga! It's nice to not be in pain everyday.:)
Hope you have an awesome NZ trip, give Georgia and Cushion and especially yourself a big hug from all of us!
Maggie & Duke's Lady

chandra said...

A beautiful send off Typist. The timing seems right for you and that's so important. Now Bon Voyage. And I do expect a full report upon return ... NZ is definitely on my travel list!

Happy Camping GLP!
-c at ddy.

sonia a. mascaro said...

What a beautiful and moving post, my dear friend! As a Brazilian I know how difficult capoeira can do and I did not know that you started training capoeira almost 11 years ago. Wow! Just great! You are a winner for sure! Congratulations!

Love the words that Karin wrote. So true and so encouraging too.

I hope you have a very good trip to NZ. All the best to you and to Cushion too.
Sending big kisses to dear Georgia.
Muitos abraços e beijos para você minha querida amiga!

Kirsten (peacefuldog) said...

That is really something, being able to stick with a thing so long despite challenges. Especially capoeira, which terrifies me. You should be very proud of yourself! Enjoy New Zealand! I will miss you, as I know Georgia will, but we'll all be happy to hear of your adventures when you return.