Tag Archives: falling on my ass

The day the dropkick died

If you could be any character from any film for one day, who would you choose?

For me, the answer is obvious.

Selene, the ass-kicking, werewolf-killing vampire from Underworld is my celluloid hero. In many ways I would make a crap vampire: I can’t even give blood without having a minor panic attack; I don’t like guns; and last week I got really freaked out because I accidentally squashed a beetle, so ruthless killing is probably out of the question.

But.

Selene knows how to kick ass. And she can do that triple spinny thing in the air before throwing a roundhouse to a guy’s head whilst simultaneously drop kicking yet another person’s bottom.

That used to be me. Well, sort of.

Six years ago my mum and I decided to accompany my sister to her first kick boxing class just to give her initial ‘moral support’. We got hooked. Soon we were kicking and punching our way through three hour-long classes a week.

My mum: Don't be fooled by the friendly smile. This woman could probably take you in a fight.

For the first time in my 23 years, I felt like a total badass. Embarrassingly, I still didn’t look quite as hardcore as my mum, who kicked my ass in every class. (Only because I let her, of course. I’m just, umm, really nice like that.)

My love affair with kicking lasted three wonderful years. And then disaster struck in the form of a twisted ankle, and it was all over.

Rather embarrassingly, whenever my friends ask what ended such a promising career of crime fighting, I can’t tell them that I got injured during a kickboxing competition, or because I tripped after dropkicking a mugger on the crime swamped streets of London. I have developed a nasty habit of telling the truth. Which is, unfortunately, this:

“I fell off my shoes”

Sympathetic friend: “Wow. You must have been really drunk! Or scaling an impossibly high wall in impossibly high heels. Or defending a helpless elderly lady whilst scaling an impossibly high wall in impossibly high heels… drunk.”

“No.”

Awkward Silence.

“I was sober.

At 7am.

At a networking event.

In the House of Parliament.”

In fact, I had just successfully networked with another person at the event. And I know this because we both felt comfortable enough to admit that we really needed a pee and so set off to find the loo together. And that’s what all the pro networkers usually do to seal the professional bond at networking events in parliament, right? So off we walked. And as we walked across the grand hall in our high heels, with no intervention from anyone or anything else, I somehow managed to fall off my own shoes.

So that’s it. In Underworld, it usually ends for a badass vampire because she is ripped apart whilst triple dropkicking through the air to avenge both a 400 year-old feud and the annihilation of her entire family.

For me it just ended because I needed the loo.

Doesn’t quite have the same ring to it.


Subway rodeo

The tube. A place of squash, sweat, and occasional eye contact. All in all this leads to enemy number 1, boredom. I have to spend 2 of my good hours on the thing 5 days a week and I’ve been looking in vain for a way to liven up the Bakerloo.

…and then I found this.

I still have my old kickboxing gear, which I think will make a good substitute for football kit. Now all I need is a willing opponent. Lucky you, Bakerloo…


The Tuscan pizza of degradation

How not to attract a man, part 2

The sun was gently setting over the Tuscan vineyards as thirty hungry people sat down for dinner. A few friends and I were spending one scorching summer week working on a family-run vineyard in Italy. We had spent the day vigorously pruning and were ready to consume obscene amounts of food.

Every night Catty, the eldest daughter of the family, kindly prepared dinner for the workers. We would sit along a stretch of tables set up on the porch, eating by candlelight as the sun disappeared behind the mountains.

Tonight was pizza night. Ruth and I had volunteered to help out, although it wasn’t exactly an act of self-sacrifice – Catty had essentially given us a free Italian cooking lesson, and I can’t say that the presence of Catty’s hot brother, who was watching TV in the corner of the kitchen, was entirely unwelcome.

As Catty and Ruth cut up the steaming pizza and carefully placed the slices on wide platters, my job was to carry the food out through the beaded door curtains to my waiting friends.

Due to the presence of Catty’s brother, I was of course trying to execute this in as elegant a fashion as possible for me (i.e. – not falling on my ass).

My hungry friends were applying subtle pressure to hurry up and get the food on the table. In haste I dashed to the kitchen to grab the last platter and rushed back through the curtains. Somehow as I flew through the beads they managed to tangle themselves around my torso, jarring me backwards. The platter jolted, catapulting the pizza off the plate and onto the tiled floor in synchronised splendour. To add to this spectacle, several of the beaded tails tugged free from the ceiling and clattered down around me.

I looked up to notice HotItalianBrother gaping at me in bewildered confusion, as if to say “Who is this weirdo, and why on earth has she decided to destroy my house?”

The pizza lay in splattered ruin on the floor. Unfortunately I was unable to a) redeem myself by clearing it up, or b) run for dear life (the preferred option), as I was still entangled in the damn door.

HotItalianBrother continued to stare at me, baffled. Guessing he was probably not entirely won over by my slapstick charm, I decided that a quick exit would be wise. Then I remembered that I couldn’t actually move.

At least I made an impression.


Every stain tells a story

Last Summer I did something that really scared me.  I packed a bag and headed off to hang out in a monastery.  No internet.  No mobile phone.  No TV.  Three days of walking, thinking, and reading.  Aside from God, I didn’t converse much with anyone apart from one chat with Father Vincent, a chilled out monk who gave me a few tips on how to be… silent.

I’ve never been great with silence.  The very thought of being still terrified me for years.  I was the girl who watched TV whilst checking twitter whilst downloading the latest Radiohead album.  Distraction was my addiction.

However, my time in stillness had quite an odd effect.  After three days of being cut off from the outside world several things became apparent.  One of the most notable was that I no longer felt the need to wear make up.  In fact, I couldn’t remember the last time I’d felt happier with my appearance.

I believe there were probably several factors that contributed to this, although I can’t deny that the absence of a constant stream of multi media must have been instrumental to this change.

As a woman, I’m constantly bombarded with the pressure to be ‘perfect’.  Anything less is just not good enough.  Adverts, touched-up magazine covers and glamorised TV dramas all play their part. The average person living in the Western world is exposed to hundreds, and according to some reports – thousands, of commercial messages every day. They say ‘Hey there! You’re inadequate as you are, but if you buy this mascara you’ll be acceptable again.’  Lucky you.  Consumerism steals our dignity and then sells it back to us[1].

Apparently we all need whitened teeth, abnormally long eyelashes, hardcore abs and minimal body hair.  And by the way, we need to spend our hard earned cash on perfect lives too – the car, the holiday, the latest brand of toothpaste.  Last year’s model is no longer powerful enough to banish the unwanted disease of imperfection.

However, I’m not sure that perfection is necessarily where beauty lives.  This doesn’t just apply to physical appearance, but all aspects of life.  Sometimes it is within the broken, messed up things in this world that we find that which is most captivating.  We just need to learn how to see without the constraints of a restrictive culture.

So here’s my confession.  I am not perfect.  I don’t think I’ve ever painted my nails without smudging the edges.  I fall on my ass roughly twice a month.  It’s not elegant.  I have noticeable stains on my front teeth and my elbows bend in the wrong direction (no kidding).  After some consideration, I’ve decided to hang on to these special features.

Perfection is… well, it’s rather boring really, isn’t it?  Should we all just conform to an acceptable ‘type’?  I’m not sure I want to be like everybody else.  The stains are staying put.


[1] I wish to God that I came up with this line myself, but I stole it from a dude with ginger dreadlocks.