How I Wrestled My Sports Bra and Won

Life is hard and sometimes it’s not the big events that make it so.  Like a badly-played Jenga game, sometimes a week is mired in little frustrations stacked clumsily one upon another until all your intent to be mature and calm and put together comes crashing down around your ears. My intent this week was to be organized, efficient and productive. There’s a lot going on in our household, from remodeling to having company here to preparing for the start of the school year to senior care taking.

Frankly, life is feeling like a lot of straws on this camel’s back. Last weekend, I was stung by a yellow jacket wasp twice in our basement  (a sure sign that we’ll be running a vacuum all fall trying to suck up the queens before they take permanent residence) and I got some sort of middle-aged sleep injury that feels like a torn muscle in my shoulder. My knee crumpled beneath me while doing a hip toss self defense move in taekwondo. It made a distinctly crunchy sound (ice, ice baby).

Yesterday the battery died in the car remote key, I stepped in cat barf after putting on clean socks, the Kikkoman soy sauce got knocked over in the fridge spilling on everything inside and out onto the floor and then I had to make a trip into downtown (hate driving there!) to pick up a sick husband. I try to give myself the “this is life, there are much worse things that can happen and isn’t it nice to be middle class with all these petty, minor complaints?” speech so I can “woman up” and move on with things.

The sports bra was really the last straw. For a mixed gender audience, let me just say that a sports bra, of the ilk that you can run and do fast round kicks in without knocking yourself out, is generally very snug and this particular kind is pulled over the head. This should not be attempted when half awake, slightly damp from a shower or in any attempt to look appealing to your significant other. They’re wonderful when on. It’s the getting there that really bites. After wrestling with what looked a tangled bungee cord around my armpits and neck, I finally gave in and had a good, blubbery cry. Now I can get on with things.

My company arrived last night. She is an old Army friend and has a son with a high degree of autism who is the same age as my daughter. He’s an escape artist – hence the quick remodel for a secure guest room. My friend was widowed when her son was a toddler. She’s struggled to take care of herself and her child over the years and despite whatever sense of failings she has about her parenting, he is a happy and safe child. She struggles with the need for constant flexibility – cancelled vacations, absent sitters, a child on the loose and her own personal grief about expectations gone awry. But the things that turn her day are just as small as things that turn mine – an evening of reading sabotaged by a rampant child, car troubles, a terrible recipe outcome, a backed up sink.

It’s good to have perspective and to even to develop a book series telling people not to sweat the little things, but it’s also okay to acknowledge that sometimes a stack of small things makes for a triple decker crappy day. I think it’s the denial, the peppy positive tag lines that make it so much worse. When I acknowledge that a sports bra can knock me down, that it’s just the kind of day I’m having, I’m already preparing to get back up. I’m rewriting the narrative for humorous retelling down the road. Perspective is good, but making someone else laugh with you about the silly, frustrating things that happen in daily life is magic.

24 Comments on “How I Wrestled My Sports Bra and Won

  1. Everything you say in there is so true!
    And Yes, it is ok to have a little bit of a meltdown over something trivial every once in a while.
    My last one was over accidentally buying the wrong flavour of jam. Somehow, unpacking the shopping and realising that I had bought raspberry instead of strawberry seemed too much (I had had a looong day), and I teared up. 10 min later I was fine. And I actually do like raspberry jam…

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    • Sometimes I feel a little silly after a meltdown but maybe that’s what helps change perspective enough to shake it off and move on.

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  2. Sometimes we just have to give in and have a good cry. It’s therapeutic. I’ve had days where every little thing seemed to conspire against me, too. Fortunately, they don’t happen very often! My partner doesn’t get why I suddenly dissolve into tears – but then he’s a man. And no matter how I try to explain, he still doesn’t get it; he thinks it was something he did or didn’t do and will try to ‘fix it’!

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    • Ah, yes, the “fix it”, mentality. It’s a great way to turn a comforting cry into an argument. I just want to be left alone and he wants to poke the bear!

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  3. Magic indeed. Don’t try the Ta Ta Tamer (yes, it’s a real sports bra). It can trap even the most nimble woman in a full Nelson. It’s happened to me…more than once. Thanks for the laugh. 🙂

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  4. It’s like we marshal our forces to deal with the big things, but the little ones sneak under your radar and accumulate until, all of a sudden, the balance tips, and there you are wondering what hit you.

    Divorce, yeah, super sucks, but got through it; beloved dog dying, rough, really rough, but it’s huge so you manage. Spending 15 minutes trying to open a package of cold cuts that apparently Does Not Want To Be Eaten; devastating, swear words, strong desire to throw things and never eat again.

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    • You’re right about that. Plus, when big things are happening, you have a clear justification for spinning off the rails. Sorry about the divorce and the dog. When my dog died, well, I’ve never gotten over that, but I didn’t feel silly for having a good cry. It’s hard to explain to someone why you’re having an adult-sized hissy fit over spilling something or not being able to get a knot out of your shoelaces!

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      • Dogs really get inside you. It was at least a year before thinking about her didn’t tear me up good. It’s been eight years, and I still really miss her.

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  5. There was a Fresh Press about crying around August 22; well worth a read, especially for men who don’t understand women’s tears. A middle age sleep injury? Good God, thanks, you just saved me going to the doctor. I hope I can sleep it back to normalcy. And I’ll weigh in on the dog; ten years passed before I could think of mine without crying, and it took the grief of another loss completely unassociated with any living being to move it aside. I’m not sure if that’s a tribute to the dog, or a big red flag about how neurotic I am.

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    • There’s a comedian, Jake Johanssen who jokes about the sleep injuries, hoping his dream performance that caused the injury at least got the gold.
      Dogs impact us in ways that few other creatures do.

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      • They sure do! No other creature is so interactive and domestic with humans. The way I like to think of it is that long ago they came into the light of our campfires and made a deal with us. Protection and love (and in many cases, assistance) for food and shelter and a place to belong.

        That deal has worked out well for both sides!

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  6. You are a very brave woman! I’ve never had the courage to even LOOK at a sports bra, much less try to put one on. Your story just reaffirms my wisdom in staying away from them. i leak enough without adding that to the mix. (I really enjoy your writing!)

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    • Thank you! I’ve really tried to make a change to a more compatible bra, but these monstrosities really work once you’ve beat them into submission.

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  7. Meltdowns are absolutely necessary! Once that energy has moved, you’ve got a better, more clear perspective. I heard someone say, melt-up. I like it!

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    • I try to keep the meltdowns (or ups) to a minimum, since usually somebody besides me is around to experience the fallout. I agree that it does serve to “unblock” the flow of clearer thinking and allows a person to move forward. I forgot I wrote a post about my sports bra. I can be silly sometimes! Thanks for the reminder and for commenting!

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