Tag Archives: ten things

Learning How To Fight

16 Apr

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Greetings dearest readers! I feel terribly embarrassed about my long absence. I confess I’ve only really been busy with work and have no better excuses. An International Woman of Mystery really should have better time management skills! But, I digress.

In any event. I’m resolving to resume regular posting and I promise I’ve got more adventures up my sleeves. In fact, I’m in the midst of planning my next mission and I could use a little input.

See, earlier this year I began working on my list of traits that I needed to cultivate in order to truly become Jenny G.: International Woman of Mystery. One of those proposed traits was to be strong. I explored my fearless side at the shooting range, but my experience there has inspired me to explore other methods of self-defense. After watching movies like Kill Bill and Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, I find myself gravitating more towards martial arts as a potential way to get strong. It’s something I haven’t, as of yet, explored and I’m wildly curious. What’s more badass than being able to kick through boards?

I’ve rediscovered a love of fitness in the very active community that is Denver. I recently joined a gym-pass subscription service that allows me to take tons of different classes at studios around town and so far, I’ve stuck to the familiar favorites, like yoga and spin. But I can’t help scrolling a little slower every time I see a class options for Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, Muy Thai and Krav Maga. I find these offerings extremely intimidating but also extremely intriguing. What better way to hone some ass-kicking skills?

Thus far I’ve had trouble making it to a class, because I’m overwhelmed by the options. That’s where you come in. I’m giving you guys the opportunity to weigh in and/or share your experiences. Below I’ll give you a couple of options I’m considering and then I’d love to hear what you think.

Option A.) Women’s Self-Defense: Basically exactly what it sounds like. I’ll get a low-down on how to protect myself within my means and maybe bring back some tips. I also like this option, because the class is taught by actual women. Jenny G. is always on the lookout for other strong and brilliant women to be inspired by.

Option B.) Krav Maga Fundamentals: It’s Krav Maga. Enough said. If you are not familiar, Krav Maga was invented for the Israel Defence Forces. According to Wikipedia it is known for its focus on real-world situations and its extremely efficient and brutal counter attacks. And it was derived from street fighting skills. Sounds pretty IWOM to me.

Option C.) Capoeira: I’m taken with the exotic name, as it is. But additionally, capoeira is legitimately exotic. It’s an African and Brazilian martial art and combines music and dance with martial arts. Being that I’m a bit nervous about this whole endeavor, I think music and dance might make this fighting style more my speed.

Option D.) Judo: Judo is known to be a gentler (It literally means “The Gentle Way.”) martial art, which appeals to my sensibilities. That said, judo also sounds pretty intense. Further investigation informs me that most of the defense is done through throws, arm locks, chokes and pins. Am I ready for that?

There will be plenty of time to explore all of these options, in the future, I’m certain. But having lost a couple of weeks, I’m anxious to get back to business and get myself on a mission. The next time an opportunity to attend one of these classes arises, I vow to seize it.

Thoughts? Let me know in the comments.

Ciao,
Jenny G.

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Mission: Be Benevolent

18 Feb

Benevolent

Sometimes you choose the mission, but as I’m sure many an action hero can attest, sometimes the mission chooses you.

I hadn’t planned on undertaking any new endeavors this Valentine’s Day. It seemed as good a day as any to work on being incognito. And by incognito, I mean laying at home watching cheesy romantic comedies (even the International Woman of Mystery has guilty pleasures) and eating popcorn for dinner. Don’t get me wrong – I did treat myself to a nice bottle of wine and some chocolates. I’m not a complete barbarian. If anything, I’m the best date I’ve had for Valentine’s Day in quite some time.

However. As if sensing my intrinsic happiness from afar, it seems Mr. Poison was not to be outdone.

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New Construction

13 Feb

Resourcefulness

I got home from a run the other day to find six large, cardboard boxes outside my apartment door. I studied the information on them, mystified at who would possibly have sent me so much stuff.

In fact, my mom had sent me all my books from home. What a lovely surprise!

As a child and teenager, I was an avid reader (still am) and books were the only things I ever wanted for birthdays and Christmases. Accordingly, I acquired a large collection of books: first edition Harry Potters, Hemingway in hard cover, vintage children’s storybooks, French philosophy books sent from Paris, feminist fiction from Aunt Petra, classics that looked like they belonged in a dark library, and all the Shakespeare plays in leather-bound covers.

I couldn’t wait to immerse myself in their pages once again. I dragged the boxes into my apartment, and spent the better half of an afternoon joyfully opening them, rediscovering the books I hadn’t seen in such a long time.

Because many of them had been gifts, their covers were high quality, just begging for a prominent display. After studying my mostly blank walls, I decided that a full wall of books would be the most dramatic and elegant way to shelve them. Thus, I needed to build some shelves.

For a moment I considered hiring someone to install them for me, but then I realized how expensive that would be, especially after I bought all the shelving. I also considered buying bookcases, but I would have to buy too many of them to display all my books, and I just didn’t have the money for that, nor the space. I then sensed an opportunity to cross another item off my list. I would be resourceful.

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Mission: Be Stylish

4 Feb

Style

I’m sprawled out on the floor of the Mystery Abode living room, surrounded by piles of gathered intelligence. I stare at the pages scattered on my floor with a furrowed brow. I know the answer lies in here somewhere. I just have to find it.

In a small black notebook, I scribble notes for myself. Observations to take with me, into the field. A jumbled report on seasonal colors, hemline lengths and silhouettes. Accessories and fabrics. I’m on a hunt. A mission, if you will. Jenny G: International Woman of Mystery is going dress shopping.

A funny thing has happened since moving to Denver. Despite the International Woman of Mystery’s innate desire to exude personal style, it seems a bit of the opposite has happened. I’ve fallen into the attire trap that is Midwestern casual. I’ve assimilated to the ways of jeans and t-shirts and mismatched layers of warmth. It’s an easy mode to default to, by virtue of cold winter days and a local culture that accepts it as the norm. However, if I want to persist in my transformation to worldly ingénue, I’ll need to up my fashion game.

So here I am, armed with old back issues of my favorite fashion magazines and a couple of Pinterest boards. Determined that I will find some new adornment to set the tone. My means are somewhat modest. Most of my extra income these days is being socked away in the travel fund. Exotic adventures on the distant horizon, I thought I might try to find some local inspiration instead. The IWOM’s arsenal is a multifaceted one, but by my estimation, it should include one truly great dress. I’ll choose the outfit and then surely adventure will follow.

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Mission: Be Fearless

1 Feb

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Bang!

The noise shatters the air.

The sound of a gunshot is unmistakable. In real life, it’s much louder than in the movies.

I’m at a shooting range in an unfamiliar part of town. A client of my marketing firm learned I was in Denver and invited me to a “Ladies Shooting Event.” One part networking, one part gun safety and target practice.

I’d only ever been shooting once, with my father and Alek, in a secluded field. Our father showed us how to hold a rifle and shoot at old bottles and cans on a fence. It was fun, I guess, but I hadn’t held a gun since then. And I was afraid, because, well, to me, guns = death.

But. As an International Woman of Mystery, I felt hard-pressed to turn down this invitation to learn a new skill. Shouldn’t every aspiring action hero at least know their way around a weapon?

I thought this would be a great opportunity to see if I was cut out to be an Olivia Benson, G.I. Jane or Sarah Connor, chasing down serial rapists in dark alleys or nabbing the villain with a single, swift shot. Or maybe I’d be like Agent 99, toting a pistol in my stylish trench and looking fabulous in a beret. I listened to rap music. After all, who among us hasn’t ever secretly wished they could advise someone: tell it to my nine.

I thought about Constance Kopp. In Girl Waits With Gun, Constance never actually desires to fire a gun at someone. But by learning to shoot, she acquires a sense of security, which then translates into a new sort of confidence. She doesn’t have to shoot to kill, to feel powerful. She simply knows that she is. I thought maybe my shooting experience would go something like that.

And yet, I still felt afraid.

Sometimes, when something scares you, the only way through your fear is to face it. Sometimes the only way to defeat an enemy is to put yourself in their shoes and try to understand them better. For this reason, I decided I would go shooting.

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Mission: Be Zen

21 Jan

Mediation

Do you ever have days, dear reader, where city life just grinds you down? As Jenny G.: International Woman of Mystery, I pride myself on stamina, but I confess, there are days when it wears on me. Sometimes it’s the traffic. Or the parking. Or the weather. The constant noise and pace. The unyielding energy of commerce and construction can, at times, feel like it’s closing in on you.

It’s been one of those weeks. My dalliances in Vail proved somewhat of a debacle, but after a few days of contemplation, it was time to exercise some mind over matter and move on. Get back to work on my mission at large. As I looked at my recent list of traits to try to cultivate, one in particular called to me: it was time to find some Zen. And it couldn’t  have come a moment too soon.

The class takes place on a Wednesday night at the meditation center’s headquarters downtown. It’s a mere mile from my home, so I decide to walk, but quickly regret it. Being a pedestrian in this city can be a death-defying feat sometimes, in itself. Throngs of distracted drivers making their evening commutes nearly clip me in the crosswalks. Skateboarders in Civic Center Park yell random obscenities. A brisk wind blows in my face and chaps my ears. At last I stumble, numb and disgruntled, up the steps into the center.

It amazes me sometimes, what we can bring into our lives by simply putting intention out into the universe. I recently experienced such serendipity after making a list of traits I wish to cultivate in my transformation. A few days after noting my need for Zen, I was out in the neighborhood and happened upon a local meditation center. I was in a hurry that day, but I grabbed a flier and told myself it might come in handy. When I looked at the flier later, I noted a promising opportunity: a class simply called “Learn to Meditate.” I signed up immediately.

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Living On A Whim: Part One

17 Jan

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It appeared that I was in a European village. The brick streets wound through narrow passages, and wooden balconies hugged the condos above. A Swiss flag waved in the distance. Ski shops abounded, and there was a clog shop over there. White lights hung over an ice rink. It was almost international.

But I wasn’t in Europe. I was in Vail, just 100 miles from Denver. I was here on a whim, a practice in spontaneity.

You might ask why I need to practice living spontaneously. I am, after all, the girl who fled 2,000 miles in the middle of the night to a city she’d never been to.

That was the first time in my life I ever acted so boldly.

Until that night, I couldn’t make any decisions on a moment’s notice. I felt paralyzed unless I had time to ponder every decision, carefully weighing every implication of every action. I planned and planned and planned, and left nothing to chance.

In retrospect, I see how much I pondered myself out of doing anything fun, mostly because I was too afraid – too afraid to trust that things would work out. Too afraid to simply let go. There were tangible fears too, like my fear of heights, and I was too uncomfortable with that fear to ride it out.

When Mr. Poison dumped me, something snapped. Some long buried instinct rose to the surface and took over. I didn’t think of consequences. It was exhilarating. Once I felt that, I knew I wanted to feel it again, and I’ve been searching for it ever since.

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Mission: Be Elusive

9 Jan

Zorro

The black turtleneck and black leggings hang limply in the back of my closet. To a pair of common eyes, they might look like just that: old black clothes on a wire hanger.

I retrieve them gingerly and admire them with a reverence usually reserved for a superhero’s costume. I don the catsuit – my catsuit – for the first time in a couple of months. But there’s another step this time. I’m headed out on a mission and this one requires full IWOM regalia. The wig comes off the shelf.

After a series of semi-complicated maneuvers, I secure my new blonde locks on my head. Strap on my tall, black boots. Throw on additional layers of black clothing (it’s a cold day in the city). I grab my sunglasses and my trench.

My mission? To be elusive. I check before leaving my apartment and again before leaving the building. Just to ensure that the coast is clear. My neighbors mustn’t know about my secret identity. Today, I’m hitting the streets, incognito. Continue reading

Ten Things I Want to Be

5 Jan

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A few months have elapsed since I first began my transformation from everyday Jennifer into Jenny G.: International Woman of Mystery. I’ve acquired most of the items from my initial list of mystery must-haves. Experienced relative success in creating the proper aesthetic. The foundations have been laid. But this is only the beginning. There is still more work to do.

I’ve brainstormed a bit and have begun to identify the traits I most identify with The International Woman of Mystery. Phase Two entails the refinement of said traits. Starting now.

1. Fearless: A work in progress, to be sure. As previously stated, conquering fear is sort of like eating the elephant. One bite at a time. Having successfully completed my first few missions, I feel hungry for more adventure. I vow to seek out more opportunities that test my prowess and challenge my deepest fears.

2. Elusive: Any good International Woman of Mystery will be adept in the art of, well, mysteriousness. I aspire to be a master of disguise as much as a figure of intrigue. Adopting an alias has been a good start, but now I must become more advanced in my ability to roam the streets of Denver (and The World) undetected. Jenny G. will keep the people guessing.

3. Resourceful: One can never have too many skills, but as a woman of the world, this is especially important. Wherever and whenever possible, I make it my mission to always cultivate new methods for survival and new abilities to add to my repertoire.

4. Strong: Self-explanatory. The International Woman of Mystery must possess prowess on a physical level as much as a mental one. Always ready for battle. I will work on my stamina, my acuity and my overall ability to kick some ass.

5. Zen: As I’ve already discovered through my adventures (and misadventures), it can be tough out there for a woman of the world. The International Woman of Mystery must be transcendent. I will learn to find an inner calm that allows her to stay centered and focused even while kicking ass.

6. Independent: James Bond didn’t become a super agent by relying on others, and neither will Jenny G. I’ve already taken some respectable steps toward claiming my independence, but I must always be mindful not to lose ground in this arena. Gone are the days of relying on a man, my parents or my feminine wiles to save me. It’s time to stand on my own two feet. No exceptions. No excuses.

7. Benevolent: Ass-kicking and international espionage are all well and good, but it seems important not to lose heart. This International Woman of Mystery will find ways to give back and maybe even inspire others with her kindness and generosity.

8. Spontaneous: All these other skills are virtually a waste if I’m not out living the dream. Jenny G. must be ever ready for adventure. Even at a moment’s notice. I’ve never been particularly good at going with the flow. This coming year, I will embrace the impromptu. I will work on following my heart more than my day planner.

9. Stylish: I’ve done some work already toward looking the part, but I don’t just mean the superficial aspects of my new identity. In addition to assembling a classier wardrobe, Jenny G. will strive to exude sophistication on all levels.

10. Confident: There is no such thing as an ill-confident International Woman of Mystery. In this life, my self-assurance is likely to be tested. I will learn to trust in my own ability and stand up to adversity. I can do this. I will do this.

Ciao,
Jenny G.

Disguise

17 Dec

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It has been approximately 74 days since I first began my transformation to become the International Woman of Mystery. As the days go by, I find myself settling into this new skin. This new identity. My identity.

However, as a woman of the world, I do not prefer to settle into anything; it’s not my M.O. It was time to step out of the box once more and complete another assignment. Today’s mission: acquiring the perfect disguise.

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