Lessons of a jump-rope

jump, jump, jump.

“Hey, cancerous mongol”

jump, jump. jump


“You know, I am in need of sparring partner”

 “(…) you stupid mongol?”

jump , jump, jump, jumping away

Today I have had my first date with a jump rope in over a year. Yes, that is a Battlestar Galactica reference; it is also fact.

For a long time I have worked as a postman, walking and cycling four hours daily. Right now, my body is a weak instrument of office life. I am not fat and though I have gained ten pounds this is usual for me during the dark half of the year.  It is not the extra weight that bothers me, neither does my reflection in the bathroom mirror. What makes me edgy, is the loss of strength that I have allowed happen.

Going Soft

He’s right You are soft.
I’m not talking about the weight.
You’ve lost your edge.
Your confidence.
You lost your war, Lee.
And the truth is, you’re a soldier who needs a war.

I am not a soldier, but I have found strength and purpose in my boxing practice. When I moved, a year ago, I also quit boxing. This was also just after I had been asked to compete in a friendly boxing tournament and after I chickened out. A real fight, well a staged real fight, that did frighten me.

Yet during sparring I was never afraid. And I certainly wasn’t soft.

Back then I was the only girl in a room filled with men, rather short men mostly, but certainly stronger and more capable than me. And yet being in their presence made me feel strong and capable.

Apart from being soft, my body is now having some mechanical difficulties. My shoulder blades get stuck, something that has never occurred while I was still in training.

My date with jump rope showed me some hard truths. I have not just lost some of my fitness. I have lost rhythm and some fair amount of confidence. Confidence is not just a state of mind, confidence is always experienced bodily, in posture and stance, in actions. To stare someone down is bodily act. To part to friends heading into a fight, that is a  bodily act. We can only experience things at all because we have a body. Even out-of-body experiences are bodily experiences in a way.

I said some strong words to my ill-wisher in the sports field, my verbal request for a sparring partner was not backed-up by my body. And though I think I won the argument, I am not sure I would have won the fight.

Reclaiming Sovereignty

This is my body. My tool. My source of power. It is mine and I have let it go soft. I have nothing against soft bodies in general. I know many warm, lovely people with lovely soft bodies that have a charm of their own. But my body is mine to keep strong, and this soft body, feels like it is not mine at all. I feel as if I have given it away to office life. I feels violated, infiltrated, desecrated. So I have put myself on a spring-boot camp, a reclaiming quest.

Make no mistake, it is a war. And I love it.

When Macha was made to compete against the King of Ulster’s horses, she surrendered her body to her husband’s boasting claims (after already surrendering it to pregnancy). But it was she who won the game and the admiration of the crowd, not her husband; she reclaimed her power and revenged her honour.

My body is mine and no-one else’s. It is not just a chain that ties me to an office chair, to the profit of the company I work for. And to prove this, my body must harden.

And when I return one Tuesday (there is not post on Monday’s) with a body of steel, they will know this is not to secure the health of the work-force. I will be strong because I am free. And though I do the work I am paid for, my body is not at their disposal, I will not allow a corporate entity to determine the ceiling of my strength. I will not allow them to make me feel useful and small.

And when I walk alone in dimly lit streets, I know I have a weapon.
I know I am a weapon.
Mac Og’s Great Fury.

And when I sit at my desk, my body will show that this is not my purpose of being. I may choose to sit there, but I could do anything. This is just a job.

And I will not allow my name to be slandered.

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Disturber of …

Disturber of soil
Ploughing the virgin ground

Disturber of dreams
Unsettling peaceful sleepers

Disturber of discipline
Making workers late,
or useless

Disturber of the proper order
Inciting rebellion
Dethroning the powerful
Distracting students into shaming their teachers

Disturber of the loins

God of elopements and gap-years,
of contract breaches and abandoning ship,
being the devil’s advocate,
crashing parties,
hard physical labour,
heretics and outcasts,
ex-pats and asylum seekers.

God to those to whom things comes easily
and those who choose a brutally simple life.
sheltering the dispossessed and the homeless
fostering the orphaned.

Lord of play,
word play,
light music
fun and games,
and serious hight-bet games too,
of whistling and whistle-blowing,
The great risk-taker, he is.

Light but not soft
Hard but not rigid

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Songs for Aengus Og

1. Sweet Disposition – Temper Trap 2. Metamorphosis – Peter Glass 3. Love Theme / Arrest – David Hirschfelder 4. Birds – Emiliana Torrini 5. Prince Briotanách – Clannad 6. Fools rush in = Bow Wow Wow 7. Perth – Bon Iver 8. Gently Johnny – Paul Giovanni 9. Violence and Variations – Bear McCreary

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Letters to Poseidon

It is a rare thing to find novels which depict the gods. It is even more rare to find gods in the writing of non-Pagan non-fiction writers who are also Dutch. And this is exactly what I have found. Cees Nooteboom is a Dutch author whose travel literature I adore. His latest book is a […]

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Apples all round

Manannán is a god of orchards. Nehalennia is a goddess of apples harvested and baked into pies. Idunn’s the goddess of the apples untouched on the tree. Aengus, in my mind, is the god of cider. I need to know about apples and their gods. I cannot eat raw apples and move. It is the […]

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On heroic living

How to write about heroism without sounding like a pompous ass? I am not a hero, or a teacher of heroes or the bloody Pagan pope. For there can only be one … and it simply is not my style. My voice is not the voice of solemn authority, nor that of the satyr. But […]

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