Linda Stamper Boyne: Kicking the January blues in Vail Valley
Vail, CO, Colorado
January is a very unforgiving month. It can be pretty tough, harsh even. The sun doesn’t shine much, the thrill of the new year has worn off, everybody’s freaking out about the economy. We’re all at risk of falling prey to the winter blahs.
You just need to find something to get you out of the doldrums, something to motivate you, to give you new energy, to help you find your strength.
Last week, I was so deep in a funk I couldn’t even write. My deadline came and went and I had only a half-finished, crappy piece of work. Through the kindness of my editor, I got a bye for the week, but he told me to come back with something this week that was, and I quote, “kick ass”. So it amused me when I realized the topic that crystallized into a column really did, uh, do as he asked.
Sometimes circumstances are such that just you just stop and notice things. Feeling as if I needed something to push me out of my funk, and remembering a sticker I’d seen that read, “A fit woman is a powerful woman,” I headed last Tuesday to my favorite workout, kickboxing at Inyodo Tae Kwon Do studio.
This isn’t just a bouncy, aerobics class with simulated air punching and mock sparring. This is the real thing. Boxing gloves, heavy bags, Thai pads, shin guards, the works. Just a mouth guard and helmet shy of full combat.
Occasionally a man or two ventures in, but on this particular day, the class was made up entirely of women, save for our fearless leader, Jason.
These are not the women you probably pictured when you read “kickboxing.” Not a single Russian weightlifter in the group. Outside the gym, they are the women cutting your hair, running the office, picking the kids up after school, many of them more quiet and unassuming than others, all of them with any inner strength that reveals itself in this class. And none of them punch like girls.
As we ran laps during warm-up, the combination of blaring hip-hop music, chatter and laugher made it sounded more like girls night out than girls work out. But as the class continued, the intensity and concentration deepened and the conversations came to an end.
At one point, I watched this line of eight strong, determined women work their way down the mat doing a series of lunges moving right into front kicks and I could feel the energy in the room.
It was exactly what I need; my funk was officially over. I felt like I could finally move through my day and handle anything that came my way.
By the time Jay-Z was singing, “Show me what you got, pretty lady,” we had moved onto sparring, throwing punches and kicks as our partners yelled out what to do and caught our gloves and shins with their pads. I really don’t think that’s exactly what Jay-Z had envisioned when he wrote those lyrics, but it worked for us.
Jason instructed and kept us focused, we screamed words of encouragement to each other over the thumping bass, and we worked out the January blues.
I sometimes wonder what the random observer thinks upon discovering a roomful of women all gloved and padded, beating the crap out of things. A UPS guy came in once and got the strangest look on his face, equal parts terror, shock and confusion.
And as much as Jason is a man’s man, I think he secretly loves our class. I think he likes knowing he’s empowering women to be strong, to feel confident that they can take care of themselves if the need should arise. And I think we provide a little entertainment factor because we just approach the whole thing differently than men.
So, while my thing is to literally beat the January blues, it may not be yours. Whether your thing is skiing or yoga or getting together with friends or even reading a good book while sitting by a roaring fire, make sure you do something to help you through this month. The days are getting longer. It’s almost over.
Linda Stamper Boyne of Edwards writes weekly for the Vail Daily. She can be contacted through email@example.com