Sunday, January 13, 2008

...and my having had PMS at the time doesn't mean I was wrong

Feeling better now after some rest and relaxation. This weekend was the first time in months that I felt like doing anything "extra", including a cursory arm and leg massage, a bit of strength training in front of the telly, a 30-minute run... I've also done some Real Work and voluntarily organised some crafts stuff for the kids to do. Which means that I'm returning to my normal self, slowly but surely.

Another thing that's changed is that I'm beginning to miss swords class again, even though I'm determined to stay away for the whole year. Well, actually, I'm determined to stay away until class time stops being detrimental to family life and starts being beneficial (again), which I estimate will take about a year for reasons unrelated to my relationship with my B.S.S. (Big Shiny Sword).

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

The gate is now open

I'm laying down my swords for a year or so of rest. At the end of that time, I'll pick them up again... or not. If not, then the sword is not where the future lies. If I do, well, I promise to whine less and train a lot more.

I started to write a long entry detailing the whys and the wherefores, but the tone became unduly elevated and before long vaguely resembled the famous "Choose life!" monologue from Trainspotting. So here is the long and short of it:

  • I need and want to have more time with my family. They (the children, at least) need and want more time with me.
  • I need time off every now and then. Swordschool is school time for me, not free time.
  • I can't do either family or swordsmanship (or indeed anything else) by halves: I have to either do it, or not. I've felt equally guilty every evening whether I stay home or go to class.

The Guy and I had a long talk at the salle on Monday night where I explained my reasons and asked for the benefit of his perspective, not to mention seeking reassurance that when/if I came back, I'd still be welcome... We were both left feeling that my decision was right, I think. Guy did predict that I would be back (probably due to my ranting about my rapier being too light and to the way the feel of my longsword in my hand made me groan with delight), but I'm not so sure at all. Well, this wouldn't be a year of liberty if I didn't feel free to change my life, now, would it?

Returning to regular training in a year's time would mean that I would have to make any and all changes necessary to allow me to train a little every single weekday, and a little more than that on two of them. Guy heartily recommended that in that case, I should come back through the beginners' course; this sabbatical will reset my skill level (goodbye, freescholar-hood! Goodbye, class leader status!) anyway, and the beginners' course would provide a good overview of the current level of the system.

If I don't come back, what then? Am I a loser? The middle-aged lady who had to quit and now knits macrame sheath covers? Guess what: I don't care. Without swords, without SESH, there's room for so much other cool stuff, like writing fact or fiction (I used to be getting quite good at it, in the professional sense), or t'ai chi, or healing, or horseback riding, or a "real" job/career. I could get myself spectacles again and stop squinting. I could do charity work for Half the Sky.

Admittedly, with swords and SESH, there's room for, well... (squirms) swords. Which are cool.

(Apart from the squee brought on by excessive sword fantasies caused by the above paragraph) I feel half lost, half liberated. I also feel about ten centimetres taller, oddly enough, and balanced. I feel proud and peaceful. I feel withdrawal symptoms.

I hope this sabbatical will help me shed the needs, expectations and fake regalia that have accumulated around me and my sword, and that at the end of it I'll be able to look at what the future might hold for us as a couple. Because at heart, that's what this swordschool thing has always been about for me: that just using my sword is the thing that makes me happy.

(P.S. This blog will probably still be updated every now and then even during 2008. One reason is Lady at the Gate II: The Daughter of the Poso; Guy has agreed to start teaching his goddaughter, my firstborn Venla.)