Every day I wake up and start my weekday routine. I sleepily turn off my alarm at 7 a.m., lay there for another 15 minutes checking my email and then peel myself out of the toasty Hot Pocket of cozy sheets and blankets. I walk to my bathroom, take off my clothes and then check out my semi-nude bod in the full-length mirror hanging on my door. Nope. Once again, I didn't magically sprout glistening, rock-hard abs overnight. Ah well. Time to shower.
I don't have as many issues with my body as, say, my mom, who has that uncanny knack for telling me how chubby I'm getting and that I should consider laxative teas while also serving me second helpings of enchiladas. I was her "change of life" baby that wrecked her petite figure and she still holds a grudge.
I've written about my experiences with body shame in the past. Long ago, I made the decision to honor my body and take care of it without forcing it to fit into a mold; to not worry about the numbers on a scale (I haven't owned a scale in 13 years) and avoid any diet that requires me to count success in points or numbers. My worth shouldn't be measured with a number. If my happiness or success has to be calculated that way, I'd rather that shit show in my bank account. Professional ladies, can I get a "yas, kween"?
Even so, I understand the importance of being healthy and keeping fit. I want to take care of my body so I can one day be an old woman trading war stories with a 300year-old Keith Richards. It can be tough to stick to my workout guns when my 55-plus-hour work week and attempt at a social life get too crazy, however. And if I'm being real, the only reason I tolerate the gym is because there's usually a mini flatscreen on the elliptical machines where I can watch Real Housewives reruns. Other than that, no thanks. I already get my fill of penises flopping around in gym shorts by YouTubing videos of hot soccer players running.
In my continued pursuit of better health, I search for new ways to stay fit that I can enjoy. That's why I channeled the fiery passion of the infamous Star Wars kid and met up with the San Diego Lightsaber Team. I've seen LARPers (that's Live Action Role Players for the uninitiated) in the park waving foam swords at each other, but this is different.
The Lightsaber Team's tagline is "Nerds getting fit together." As their website points out, the nerd life can be pretty sedentary. While I don't consider myself a true Star Wars fan (I've only seen A New Hope and The Phantom Menace ; please don't inundate my inbox with nerd rage), I spend plenty of time on my ass geeking out to my preferred pop-culture phenomenon, then going online to read everything I can find about it.
I met up with the Lightsaber Team behind the Hall of Champions in Balboa Park. It's not hard to spot the group. They have all the markings of hardcore Star Wars nerds: transitions lenses, an excited, breathless manner of speaking and, oh yeah, they were holding makeshift lightsabers.
The metal lightsabers they were working with were actually practice lightsabers, though one attendee did bring his own light-up one that made that special wooshing sound every time he waved it. "That is so badass!" marveled a purple-haired woman named Belle when he turned it on. Later she would ask me what the difference is between an onion and Anakin Skywalker. The answer: "Onions make me cry." Eat shit, future Darth Vader.
We all gathered in a circle and stretched our muscles. Gotta be limber if you're going to fight the Dark Side. After several rounds of arm circles, we began our training. Roger, a middle-aged gentleman who has the voice and demeanor of a cool professor, took those of us who wanted to work on our form with a single saber while others broke off to work on their dual-saber battle skills.
Roger explained that we would work on the fives, sixes, eights and, maybe, if we played our cards right, the sexy nines. Ooh la la! What makes them so sexy? As Roger informed me, "you just look really cool doing them." These forms are the basic choreographed steps for Jedi battle moves. They get their name from the shape a Jedi makes with each move, i.e. you make a figure six with your steps and lightsaber as you're performing the sixes. The sexy nines are super sexy because there's a lot more upward lightsaber swooping and a final full-body twist at the end. When Roger showed us, I had to admit it did look pretty awesome. I'll just leave my lunch money for you here.
The team paid special attention to form. We moved at tai chi speed to ensure each step, each swoop of the lightsaber, each motion toward our imaginary enemy Sith was precise and authentic. My fellow Jedis debated if a certain move would actually really impale a Tauntaun. The general consensus: Ha! Not likely!
I held my practice lightsaber almost like a ballroom dancer, arms raised before me with a curve, and my legs in a slight squat position. Then I went into the sixes: right foot forward at an angle, hit my invisible enemy across the neck, then spin the lightsaber so it switches positions and step forward again with my—wait, no that's not right. Hold on. Step forward, spin the lightsaber—OK, this is legit hard to remember. Memorizing choreography has never been my strong suit. Even so, Roger said I had pretty good form. No big deal. :Hair flip: