Monday, October 7, 2013

__it Happens: Six Inches in Front of Your Face.

I don't know what to say really.

Three minutes
to the biggest battle of our professional lives
all comes down to today.
Either we heal as a team
or we are going to crumble.
Inch by inch
play by play
till we're finished.

About two weeks ago, I punched myself in the Goddamn face.  I didn't do this intentionally, but to be perfectly honest with you, I think I deserved it.  I proverbially "wrecked myself."

It hurt like a mother, and as I stumbled back, and touched my face, which was dripping blood, I started laughing.  Who punches herself in the face?  How is that even possible?

We are in hell right now, gentlemen
believe me
and
we can stay here
and get the shit kicked out of us
or we can fight our way
back into the light.
We can climb out of hell.
One inch, at a time.

You might even ask that question: How did she freaking punch herself in the face?  I don't think I'll tell you...  Not yet.  I can tell you that when I looked in the mirror, I was shocked to see that I had split my upper lip, inside and outside, and split open my lower gums.  My nose was bleeding, and starting to swell up.  It wouldn't stop bleeding.

I looked awesome.  I sort-of looked like I had been in a real fight, for freaking once, and I tell you the other guy looked a whole lot worse...  I have been fighting something or someone for so long, and here was some bloody evidence...  That it was me.

Now I can't do it for you.
I'm too old.
I look around and I see these young faces
and I think
I mean
I made every wrong choice a middle age man could make.
I pissed away all my money, believe it or not.
I chased off anyone who has ever loved me.
And lately, I can't even stand the face I see in the mirror.

You know when you get old in life
things get taken from you.
That's, that's part of life.
But, you only learn that when you start losing stuff.
You find out that life is just a game of inches.


I grabbed an ice pack and a dish cloth and laid down.  The kids were in the living room, and this violent episode happened in the kitchen.  I told them that "mommy hurt her face" and that I was okay, and they kept playing Legos.  Sam wasn't home.  I'm glad he wasn't.  We would have laughed our asses off, if he had seen it happen, and I'm sure it would have torn open wider and been a whole lot worse.  I could already see that I would have a scar.


So is football.
Because in either game
life or football
the margin for error is so small.
I mean
one half step too late or to early
you don't quite make it.
One half second too slow or too fast
and you don't quite catch it.
The inches we need are everywhere around us.
They are in ever break of the game
every minute, every second.

I was always the fighter, in my family.  I was the fighter.  Yet, in complete paradox, my mom called me, "The broken cookie kid," because I always took the broken cookie when all the other kids wanted the whole ones.  I never made trouble.  I wanted to make everyone happy.  

Clearly, I also wanted to defend what was right and good in the world.  When I was 8 or 9, I knew my biological father was telling people in town that my mom was a drug addict.  This was not true, not at all true, at the time.  They had divorced when I was 6, she had just remarried, and he was jealous.  I was at my Nanny's house, which was not a long walk from the grocery store that the Lisai family still owns, and my little self decided to walk down there.  (Those were the days kids could walk alone in a small town, without people thinking a parent was being neglectful, or parents' freaking the fuck out). First I decided to scratch the "SH" off the "SHIT HAPPENS" bumper sticker on his van, which was in the parking lot.  

Then I marched myself into the store, to the butcher counter in the back, and Brent smiled and hugged me with his bloody apron.  He walked outside with me.  I must have looked like I meant some business for him to come outside to talk to me.  I do know he started crying.  I made a man cry.  I don't remember everything.  I remember I told him not to say lies about my mom.  I know he told me that people were saying he molested us kids.  He said, "Do you think that is true."  I remember telling him I didn't know.  I didn't really know. I know my mother never told me, or asked me, or persuaded me to do this.  I did it all on my own--All by myself.  I remember when I decided to leave, I did hug him, and I pointed to, "IT HAPPENS" on his van, and he just shook his head.


On this team, we fight for that inch
On this team, we tear ourselves, and everyone around us
to pieces for that inch.
We CLAW with our finger nails for that inch.
Cause we know
when we add up all those inches
that's going to make the fucking difference
between WINNING and LOSING
between LIVING and DYING.







I'll tell you this
in any fight
it is the guy who is willing to die
who is going to win that inch.
And I know
if I am going to have any life anymore
it is because, I am still willing to fight, and die for that inch
because that is what LIVING is.
The six inches in front of your face.

I was that kind of kid.  I was that kind of girl.  I was that kind of woman.  Lately, I realize that I stopped fighting.  I kind of gave up.  I remember feeling the fight drain out of me.  It was the day I walked out of my classroom for the last time.  I never went back.  (I didn't know that was the last time I would stand in that room, and close my desk drawer).  Giving up, that is not Joanna.  That is the opposite of Joanna!  I know, earlier in my life, fighting meant that things would turn out better, or I was protected by childhood innocence.  I stood up for boys who were bullied by my stupid friends in high school.  I was a popular girl, so people listened to me.  And I know that fighting, as an adult, is different.  It can mean turmoil, and enormous disruption, and pain.  It can mean I lose.  I have lost.  I have lost a lot in the past few years.  But, I'd rather split my lip, than huddle in the corner, scared of the bad things that might happen.  I have done that for three years...covered my head with my gloves, and taken the blows.

Now I can't make you do it.
You gotta look at the guy next to you.
Look into his eyes.
Now I think you are going to see a guy who will go that inch with you.
You are going to see a guy
who will sacrifice himself for this team
because he knows when it comes down to it,
you are gonna do the same thing for him.

And I understand that I have no one else to be my corner "man" anymore.  I wanted someone to just lift me up and save me. I wanted to feel protected by someone, and not just my own fists.  But I spent too much time looking over my shoulder for someone to tag me out, and I stopped throwing my own punches.  

So, my first new punch landed in the middle of my own face, but maybe that's appropriate.  (It is not so awesome that I did it opening a bottle of wine.  I was pulling really, freaking hard on that ridiculously huge metal corkscrew).  But I do think I was the one hammering myself into the corner.  Unfortunately, I have no idea--no idea at all--how to get myself off the ropes, and back into the center of the ring...  Or if I do know, I'm really scared to start doing it...  I guess that's what I need to figure out next...

That's a team, gentlemen
and either we heal now, as a team,
or we will die as individuals.
That's football guys.
That's all it is.
Now, whattaya gonna do?




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