The Screaming Seams

The title of this post sounds like a band name.

I wish it was. I wish it was and not the new name I gave to my gi.

It seriously felt like the seams of my gi were holding on for dear life after my Thanksgiving stuff-myself-until-I-hate-myself. I can’t put all the blame on Thanksgiving. We went on a little weekend getaway with some friends. So Thursday was followed up by a Friday eat-like-all-the-food-in-the-world-is-going-to-disappear. Then came a Saturday let’s-see-how-many-meals-I-can-fit-in-one-day. I finished it all with a Sunday I-wonder-if-I-can-make-my-pants-bust-at-the-seams.


Four days in a whirlwind of turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, pecan pie, pumpkin pie, pumpkin cheesecake, biscuits and gravy, BBQ chicken pizza, tacos, quite possibly the best cheese pizza I’ve ever had in my life, beer, macaroons, margaritas, double cheeseburgers, bacon cheese fries, Cheddar’s…



I mean delicious AF, but gross. And, I’m a little ashamed at the sheer volume of food I put down in a four day period.

Like I said, gross.

The first classes back, both kickboxing and BJJ, after my food massacre were brutal. It also teetered along the edge of comical. I couldn’t help but to giggle a little at my lack of mobility and energy while totally singing this in my head…


I felt like a stuffed turkey in my gi. My kimono couldn’t quite close all the way. I noticed a much shorter length of belt to tie with. My pants were snug enough that they kept sliding off against the slickness of my compression shorts I wear underneath. Like a sausage casing that couldn’t hold it all in.


My savior in the embarrassment factor was that I had to get back to work so I couldn’t stay too long. Fingers crossed that with the hard work I’ve been putting in so far this week, everything will fit a little better by Thursday’s classes.


As you get older you are so much more aware of how your body works and the ways in which it will revolt against you if you don’t treat it right. It’s amazing, and also not amazing, how food affects your body. I say both because sometimes it surprises me how much more in tune with my body I am than I was in my youth. I mean it’s common sense that if you are going to fuel your body for peak performance or to lose weight you can’t eat junk.


I notice such a big difference in cardio, movement, and energy when I eat the healthy foods and when I eat the shit foods. In my youth I never cared about health and eating well and I guess due to that youthful, endless energy and sports I just didn’t notice how foods could affect my body. Today, I notice a drastic difference when I fuel my body with what it needs.

It’s the difference of “I feel amazing and I want to do all the things,” when I eat healthy and “I feel like shit. I’m going to lay on the couch and watch Netflix,” when I eat crap.

I was already completely disgusted with myself anyway, but last night filled me with even more determination to make sure the screaming seams never make another appearance.


Keep Trying.

The sign of a great BJJ class all lies in those first few steps in the morning after. Sometimes it’s so bad great it results in me sitting on the edge of the bed, hunched over questioning my sanity while also pondering how the hell I’m going to actually make my body move.


One of my favorite BJJ memes. It captures the morning after quite accurately.

Those first few steps ain’t pretty.

I’m half tempted to purchase a walker to have beside the bed to assist me in those early morning hours where my body is revolting against me. Don’t even get me started on going up or down stairs.


Maybe I need to invest in one of these.

I kid. I’m being super dramatic. The pain and soreness is a great reminder that I am so very lucky to be healthy and able to push my body to those limits. Many others don’t have that luxury.

My definition of a “great class” was me getting destroyed. I admit it didn’t feel great at the time and it definitely, at one point, made me question why I am doing this.


There are some days that the thought of me being successful in BJJ still feels impossible. Last night it was the result of getting absolutely and embarrassingly destroyed by a fellow white belt. I was hoping at 9 months in that I could at least survive rolling with a white belt. This guy made me feel like it was my first day. Granted he’s a young, freak of nature, machine, but I’m stubborn and often times forget that I have many shortcomings that make it hard for me to currently compete with that.


I still sometimes struggle with not comparing my journey in this wild BJJ ride with those around me. I need to remember that my experience is going to be unique to me. I’m definitely going to progress slower than most of my BJJ peers and that is kind of a tough pill to swallow.

Said in my whiniest, brattiest voice, “But I don’t wanna be the suckiest white belt of them all!” as I stomp the ground in a toddler-esque tantrum.

Did I mention I might be a little stubborn?


A peek five years into my future?

But, with all that said, I’m kind of excited to see how my game develops and how it will be different. My hope is that my shortcomings are going to make me very technical. I’m a perfectionist so the thought of being technique driven makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside. I need to look at it as I’m on a really, really, reeeaaaallllllly long road to becoming a technical badass.

I know that the most important thing for me right now is to keep moving forward. Keep showing up. Keep trying. Keep a positive attitude.

If anything, last night, after an initial disappointment in myself, I was extremely motivated. Anytime someone just straight-up destroys me in rolling I mentally put them on my Allison-is-one-day-going-to-get-her-turn list. Just like Arya Stark and her list, I will one day get my turn.


I will check them off one by one. Hopefully with a little less of the bloody, Game of Thrones style of revenge, and instead more of the friendly ass-kicking BJJ style.

I will keep moving forward, be patient, and focus on getting my day.

I can do this.

Back in Action

Last night was my first kickboxing class in months. I was quite surprised to find out just how much I had missed punching and kicking things. There was a part of me that was so nervous to go back to it. I think I was afraid that I was going to have forgotten all that I had learned and that my cardio was going to be shit. Neither of those worries came true and instead I was reminded of just how much I love that class.


All this time that I’ve been depressed, I’m pretty sure that had I got in there and done the kickboxing class, I might have climbed out that funk a little sooner. I’m convinced that there is no better therapy than taking your anger and frustration and beating the shit out of heavy bags to let it go.


Is she bowling?

Plus, it reminds me of the kind of person I want to be and let me tell you, that kind of person isn’t mopey, sad, weak, or lazy. For the sake of my sanity, kickboxing is definitely going to have to be a part of my regular life again.

I had really only stopped going to kickboxing so I could do the BJJ fundamentals class to help me prep for competition. Somewhere in there I fell in love with the fundamentals class and after the comp was over I kept going. It’s so hard to choose between the two, kickboxing and fundamentals, because I think both are vital to my survival in both life and BJJ. Kickboxing is my therapy and fundamentals is my lifeline in BJJ. I noticed my progress in BJJ really jumped forward when I started fundamentals and I don’t want that to stop. I’m just going to have to find a way to do both.

As for the regular BJJ class last night, I might have struggled a little.

Maybe more than a little.

Okay. A lot.

First, I was exhausted from kickboxing. I’m definitely going to need to refuel in between the two classes because I was done. Done-zo. Finito.


Video of me and my partner drilling last night.

Second, I struggled a lot with the technique we worked on. Partly because it was new to me. Partly because of the whole I’m a stupid white belt thing. Partly because I have gained weight due to my troubling “food is comfort” therapy. It’s crazy how just a little bit of weight difference can make a huge difference in how you move. I felt slower and less flexible and my gi didn’t fit like I’m used to it fitting. I just felt incredibly uncomfortable in my own skin.


Who’s the real winner here? I mean, let’s look at the positive, people.

Mixed all of those circumstances with a partner that was getting super annoyed with me and I was ready to bolt out of there. This whole getting back at it is probably going to be a slower process than I thought. There are definitely some parts of me that are a little fragile still. Feeling like a incompetent fat ass isn’t doing a lot to help that fragility.

It’s just going to take some time. And, hey, I’ve got some time.

I’ve also got the determination and motivation to move forward, not give up, keep going, get that confidence back up, and lose the weight I have gained. I know that as long as I keep going to class I will get better each time I step on that mat.


A Different Kind of F;ght.

It’s been awhile.

I wish I had some grand reason for my absence. Like I’ve had a loaded social calendar or I’ve been extremely busy traveling the globe.

Yeah, no.

Instead I’ve been traveling the depths of hell. Otherwise known as depression.

For a solid month I’ve felt horrible. The worst I’ve ever felt depression-wise. I’ve tried my best to hide it as much as I can. Fake smiles and lots of “I’m doing good!” and trying to stay active. I tried to write. I really did. But, when you are so sick of your own self and your own thoughts, I just couldn’t imagine anyone else taking pleasure in hearing it too. Who wants to come here and read a bunch of negative shit? I wouldn’t. Negative thoughts are so draining and I don’t want to be responsible for putting that kind of attitude out there in the world. So, I just didn’t write.


So, why write about it now? Because I feel like I’m finally on the other side of it. I am finding my normal again. If I can ever be considered normal, anyway. We can call it Allison-normal.

I wouldn’t wish depression on anyone. It’s ugly and hard and exhausting and if you’ve never experienced it, you have no idea how awful it can be. On top of the actual depressing nature of it, it is also such an alone and isolated place to be. And, it’s a weird alone. You are surrounded by people and it’s like you are drowning and no one can see it or screaming and no one can hear it.

I decided to write about it today because I want to share my experience. To show others that you aren’t alone. Too many people are too quiet about depression and feel like they have to hide it out of shame or embarrassment. I think when we feel like we have to hide a part of ourselves we end up putting way too much pressure on ourselves and eventually it catches up with us. Depression isn’t wrong, it doesn’t make you a bad person, and we shouldn’t feel ashamed that sometimes we fight wars against our own selves.

I don’t know what happened. What triggered this round of depression. Maybe nothing happened. Sometimes that’s the way it works for me. I can be strolling along and then one day I am overwhelmed with feelings that I can’t explain. There is probably some underlying, significant psychological trigger that comes into play. I probably have several of those and I will probably always struggle with this because of circumstances that I’m not going to share here. At least not today.

Sorry to be vague.

I do my best to work hard at becoming the person I want to be, that I choose to be, and not letting certain circumstances shape me. I wish it was easier, but sometimes there are things from my past that bubble back up to the surface and remind me that life can often times be a giant asshole and the people we have crossed paths with can be cruel and selfish.


For the last month I have switched from living my life to simply trying to survive my life. I get that to some that might sound a little extreme, but it’s true. Some days survival meant smiling as I sent my kids off to school each morning and then hiding under the covers and staying in my bed all day while they were gone. Other days it meant blaring music trying to drown out my own thoughts. On the really bad days it felt like I was struggling to breathe and I had to try to not literally beat myself up.

Have you ever been bored and scribbled recklessly on piece of paper? I remember doing that as a kid. Taking a pen and scribbling over and over until the ink was so thick it created grooves in the paper. Eventually you end up with this big blob of busy scribbles that made no sense.

That, at times, is what my brain felt like.

Like a big blob of busy scribbles that I couldn’t make any sense of and the only way to get the pen to stop was to distract myself. I remember sitting there one Sunday night watching The Walking Dead and the relief I would get when the show was on was bliss. The commercials returned me to my own personal hell where the scribbles took over and I felt like I was going to lose it.

As all of this goes on I’m trying to hide it from the people around me because I don’t want it to affect them too. I start adding more scribbles by creating pressure on myself. I would tell myself that I’m a horrible mother and that surely my kids are going to hate me and I’m going to somehow completely fuck them up. I tell myself that I’m a horrible wife because my husband is stuck with a woman that is so emotional screwed up that she’s got to be miserable to be married to. I tell myself that I will never have friends because who would want to be around me and deal with this shit. I tell myself that I will never be pretty and that I will always be fat, have an ugly, crooked smile, and always hate seeing my reflection in the mirror.


Basically I become my own personal Negan, swinging Lucille around and bashing myself to death with insults. Beating myself from the inside out. A Negan death might actually be a more humane way to go than what I was doing to myself.

The only good in my days came at night, right before I went to bed. It was the only time that I had hope. Every night I would have hope that the next day I could beat this, that the next day would be better, that surely it couldn’t get worse.

It did.

I stopped doing BJJ. This wasn’t an easy choice to make. I love it. I really do. As I sunk further into my depression, the mental toughness that is required for me just wasn’t there anymore. It’s not easy to take defeat over and over and over again. I’ve been able to handle it for eight months, but then this round of depression hit and it fucking broke me.

There were a few times that I would leave class feeling great and thinking that I was on my way to recovery and that BJJ was going to save me from the hell I was in. Then when I hit my lowest depression point I would leave class feeling like a complete failure. That I was the worst person ever at BJJ and that I would never get better. I was so focused on how bad I sucked. I would question why I was there when after five rounds of rolling with different people I was getting my ass kicked each time. Normal me can totally handle it, but depressed me felt worthless and like giving up. As much as I hate to admit it, BJJ was giving me more reasons to hate myself and to beat myself up.

So, I basically stopped doing everything. For two weeks I just let myself be. I avoided things that would give me opportunities to put myself down. I quit pressuring myself to do everything and be everything to everyone and I just let myself fucking rest from it all. I took the tools I’ve learned through therapy and mixed with a little bit of natural “medicine” I started to feel better, little by little, each day.

Today I feel like I am back to Allison-normal. All day yesterday I kept saying, I can’t believe how much better I feel. I’m looking forward to getting back to BJJ and just life in general.

You know, there are some positives to depression. Well, I guess technically it’s not the depression experience that is positive, obviously. It’s the overcoming, the surviving, the winning the war with yourself that is beneficial.

When you fall apart, when you crack and break and turn into a pile of pieces you don’t put yourself back together in the same way again. You don’t walk out of that war with yourself as the same person. You are better. You are stronger because you have been to hell and back. You have survived the days you thought you couldn’t.


You are kinder to those around you because you know that most likely we are all fighting battles that no one knows about. Most importantly, you are kinder to yourself because you have been reminded of how important it is to take care of yourself and your mental well-being.

To those that are still stuck in the muck of depression, you are not alone. F;ght on.