Skip to main content

Tough and Sensitive


"I can get punched, kicked, elbowed in the head, face, legs, encounter fractures in my arms. Have my ears burning with inflammation, jaw dislocated, and keep fighting. I can have surgery with no anesthetics. But I care about others and my environment too much. So much, it's painful." I said to a friend. 

Years ago, I'd heard one of the guys in the fight gym say, "She's tougher than a two-dollar steak". It was after him witnessing my trainer gain angles over and over again on me, to kick and punch my legs, my body, my arms and my head, as I attempted a takedown. Whenever I got the takedown, I'd end up in his guard. Then he would begin his heel kicking to my legs and butt. I would fight till he'd say, "Now what do you see?" He’d wait, as I could barely move from the twenty-five minutes to sometimes nearly an hour of that type of sparring with no bell rung at set rounds.  Yet I’d find a choke hold, he'd opened up on himself for me to accomplish. To finish him. He then would say, "Good. Okay, let's do some padwork."

I continued explaining to a friend today, "And all I can say is when someone else is suffering it rips up my insides.  So, I'm tough, yeah. Maybe. But I'm sensitive to other's suffering.  Animals, plants, and people. I know sounds silly. But that is more painful for me than all those sparring sessions and physical damage I've encountered."

I wondered why. I used to say to this one fight coach, "God made me good." After my first sparring session with this new coach on a Memorial Day weekend 2014.  He couldn't believe my drive. I'd eat his punches and keep moving forward. I'm mentally trained like that.  It's my gears. Yet, when it comes to other people's plights, I'm overly compassionate.  And to a ridiculous degree. I had an UltraRunning coach who knew this about me. After he'd make me run after him for fifty miles, twenty-five through sand. I said to him after one of the runs. "You know what I hate about myself?" He looked. I continued, "I'm too compassionate."  His response the second time I said this was, "That's actually a great quality. That just might be one of the best qualities you have. " I replied, "Okay. But it’s painful."

 Many, Many years ago, I had this… I’ll call him the Voodoo Man. He was one of a kind. I was introduced to the Voodoo Man by Marathoner and long-distance coach, Tom Fleming. I had an injury, a gnarly hamstring issue that came out of nowhere and wouldn’t let go. It was over thirty years ago now as I look back. So, I called the Voodoo Man and set up the appointment to have the gnarly taken out of my left hamstring.

A hippy-like mellow voice answered, “Yeah. Sure.” A mere delay of the grooviest type in his vocal affect. So much so, you’d not ever think he was born and raised in New Jersey. He was like, ‘far out man’. As the hippiest people would say. Or some of us kids in the 1960’s would pick up on the latest, coolest hip sayings. Like ‘Wow man.’

The day came and I entered Marcus’ humble abode, a place he rented. Marcus, the Voodoo Man, was a true nomad. It was not so easy to keep track of the guy. However, I developed a good rapport with Marcus. In that, he would tell me what he was up to. Why he wouldn’t be available at certain dates and such. Meanwhile, I’d hear guys on our running team wonder where Marcus was. I’d reply, “Tibet. He should be back soon.” Yes, the looks I’d get. I was the Rainman. As my stage name goes. Actually, long before I had a stage name, as Tom Fleming began giving me the name. It was after Tom had seen the movie, ‘Rainman’, he then would identify with that name.

After about four years of getting to know Marcus in a few sessions per year or more. As well, as after tragedy struck me, hard within the first year after I’d met Marcus. Well, I discovered he could read my mind-body. Like every thought. I know goofy. Right? But really. And who to believe me, but Tom Fleming knew Marcus had this ability. Tom also knew I was tough. He’d witness me running catheterized, filled with infection, he’d shake his head. I’d be whimpering, in pain from the catheter and the infection for two weeks, to start anyway.  But I knew, not to let it take away from my training, work or practically anything.

And so, it arrived. Four years after getting to know me, Marcus came out with this. “You can be tough. But, that’s not where its at. You get me?” I nodded. He continued, “You can be tough, but you must be soft inside to survive.” I never forgot that. Those words roll with me every day. Like Wow man, every hour of every day, too.

As I changed athletic careers upon my husband’s insistence, flashforward nearly twenty years after I’d met Marcus. I ran a little less per week to become a fighter. As well, it was quite late in life, as far as athletics. And especially fighting is concerned.  However, I forged ahead. It was a mere thought when I was a little girl. Or as my husband had said in the past, “You were never a little girl. You were always forty-one.” I resemble that remark.

So here now, as our daughters have recently steered clear of competitive running and fighting, for the most part. Both are tough. One, is just like me in that sensitive arena. The other appears not to be. However, I have a feeling that she portrays the lack of sensitivity on the outside as protection.---Jody-Lynn Reicher


Popular posts from this blog

Completion of Humanness

Completion of Humanness As we arrive to the completion of the first year without Norman, I had decided long before he'd passed that I would continue to do things certain things he liked yet could no longer do. I decided I would not take a day off of fitness.  I would run at least for 500 days in a row. I began that in early 2020.  I'd not be concerned with the distance I'd run. It was the very thing I convinced Norman and the thing that mattered to him, from the very first discussion we had August 11th, 1981, was fitness. I loved that he was a College Boy. He loved that I was a Marine. We tickled each other's soul with such admirations. Later fitness continued as an old discussion from 1994 ...getting outside and to run no matter what. I would say to him, "Run 200 meters, then 400 meters. If it doesn't feel good, stop. Turn around and walk back home and know you did your best. That is all you can ask of yourself." I said this,  knowing he would get dow

In My World

As I finish putting away the week's groceries, I contemplate other's lives. Aside from my two daughters,  I consider what may be other's lives.  How they have conducted their lives over the past two years.  This is a thought not unusual for me to have. Yet, it occurs more often than not. Especially  now, as the population is probably feeling ever more irked. Regarding perhaps. their illusion of any lack of their freedom. But isn't that what life is about? The illusion of who we are. What we are about. Where we stand on the planet. Who we love. And who loves us. Our significance. Couldn't we imagine if this were all just an illusion? Sounds like a "Twighlight Zone" episode, perhaps. My aim here, are the thoughts of reckoning. I'll explain why I'm claiming such a thing. For about twenty-eight years of a career in dealing with injured athletes,  pain patients, chronically ill and the terminally ill. I found that there were many people who lied to

It Follows Me...

One may wonder what would inspire someone to work hard labor voluntarily. For me it’s the love of many things. It’s the passion that won’t be broken. Because there are so many aspects to such service for me, that it may seem beyond comprehension. I’d compare it to my youthful desire to enter the military as a young child. Then for a multitude of reasons only to follow through thirteen years later at age eighteen entering the Marines. There were things that followed me throughout my life. Sometimes they were questions of how I ever gave up my over decade’s life dream to become a New Jersey State Trooper. My childhood desire to never wed—to never have any serious relationships with another human being. I desired only service in military and law enforcement nearly my whole childhood. Too the extent that even one of my Marine Corps superiors expressed to me last July, “I never thought you’d ever get married. It just wasn’t who you were. You were always a loner.” I replied, “Yeah. I know.