by Wednesday at 1:30 pm•
The first time I walked through the gym door, I was a 44-year-old disaster.
My 17-year marriage was at a breaking point, thanks to a shared mid-life crisis and our penchant for searching for comfort in all the wrong places. As an advertising agency copy editor, I was expected to accommodate the all-nighters and endless creative noodling from superiors for low pay and no hope of promotion. I’d worked there for eight years, and it literally made me sick; the long hours waiting for work to come in, not knowing when I could go home, not being able to plan dinner and after-work errands. Then there’s my family: two teenage boys—one autistic, the other precocious—and my mostly devoted, but on-and-off-the-wagon partner. I tried hard to keep all the balls in the air, to maintain some semblance of domesticity. But by November 2014, after my husband confessed to some rather bad behavior over the past couple of years, I could no longer see the point in juggling.
In the middle of all this, a co-worker mentioned she was looking for a boxing gym—which got me thinking. I’d been an athlete most of my life, but distance running (as a form of stress management) had led to rheumatoid arthritis and then adrenal depletion. So I started practicing yoga and doing lots of walking. This got me healthier, but it couldn’t counteract the long hours of sitting at a monitor, and wasn’t engaging enough for my rabid-squirrel brain.
My husband had boxed for years, but I wanted to do something that was completely my own, which got me thinking about martial arts. One of my best girlfriends had gotten into Brazilian jiu-jitsu... but I didn’t want anyone’s nuts in my face. That being said, I’d witnessed the transformation jiu-jitsu had on both her psyche and physique and wanted something like that—so for some reason I googled Thai boxing. That is where the magic internet gods intervened and said, “Here ya go, lady. Have a hit of THIS.” I had no idea what muay Thai meant, but the idea of kicking the shit out of shit carried a strong appeal.Read article »