August 7 – GLOW

by Carol Ziel

The Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling – GLOW – showing now on NETFLIX

I want to be a Gorgeous Lady of Wrestling, to show up for work in a spangly sequined leotard, full of feathers, glitter, and bangles. I want to have a name like Spanish Red, Mathilda the Hun, Thunderbolt, Beastie, or Lightning. I want to be part of the drama between good and evil played out each night in the ring. I want to belong to a group of women who use the full strength of their bodies to enact that struggle—- to know the complete abandon of leaping and tumbling, flipping, bouncing, and to feel the trust each woman has in the other.

I grew up Catholic. Female wrestling was not an option. Getting married or becoming a nun was. I joined the convent. But what if the bishop, instead of requesting vocations had said: “Be strong, be wild and adventurous for the spirit. Test your physical and creative muscles to the limit because that is your true vocation.”

Of course, now that I’m 70, it’s a little late to change professions. I’m seriously overweight, have had 3 knee surgeries, and am getting ready to retire. I became a social worker instead of a wrestler, frequently fighting for justice and healing from a cubicle. For many years I was wired to a headset. My uniform was frequently navy blue, instead of feathers and glitter. The evil I most frequently battled was the bureaucracy that hired me, but then created obstacles to actually doing the job. Still, I think I did some good.

How I would have loved to tussle with a corporate figurehead in the ring: suit and tie against myself in that sequined, spangled unitard. I’d start with a Leg Drop, followed with a Knee Shot to the Ring Post. I’d use the Arm Wringer, Gorilla Press, and Glam Slam. Then the Keister Bounce, Spike Pile Driver, and Monkey Flip. I’d flip him from rope to rope and toss him like a pizza until he begged for mercy. But he’d get no mercy until I’d get his pledge, a pledge to give us the time, space and staff to be truly compassionate and effective. The grace to be more focused on the soul of our work, and not the financial gain, the imperative to put the client first, the clarity that corporate rules were to serve the well-being of the client, and not primarily the company.

That can only happen in my dreams, and now it’s time to retire. I am grateful for the trust that clients had in me when they revealed their pain, confusion, and loss. It was a privilege to be part of their lives, and I frequently believe that they have gifted me more than I have gifted them.

I will never know how I would have made it as a gorgeous lady of wrestling, but I do know that I had a splendid career as a social worker!

Carol has been an SCN member for six years and is grateful to be nurtured by such wonderful women writers. She is also a gardener, grandmother, social worker, Quaker and Goddess-centered woman who primarily writes poetry but is branching out into more essay types of writing. More to be revealed.

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7 responses to “August 7 – GLOW

  1. Betty McCreary

    Wow! Reading this with my coffee and feeling inspired to write and wrestle with some words. Loved the images of you in your spangly outfit wrestling with the guy in the suit. Thank you for this!
    Betty McCreary

  2. Oh! How I resonated with your piece. I also had fantasies of being a performer on Broadway, but with my Church of the Brethren upbringing that was not an option. Instead, I became a Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor/Pastoral Counselor and Chaplain and met with clients for 23 years in an mental health setting. Oh! and yes, there were issues with the hierarchy that I addressed. I now sincerely believe I did what I was destined to do this lifetime. Thanks for sharing.

  3. Love this! Who we might have been if we weren’t confined by the constraints of our time.

  4. Sara Etgen-Baker

    Thanks, Carol, for sharing your story. I’m grateful you seem to have had a fulfilling career outside of the ring so to speak. I appreciate your candor and positive attitude.

  5. Debra Dolan Dolan

    Carol, I always enjoy your play with words and story. I have yet to see this program yet you gave me some insight. More to be revealed, indeed!

  6. Carol, that was an amazing writing and I cried and laughed with you. For a moment there I wanted to join you on this glamorous wrestling escapade and solve problems with a quick and effective physical way. I understand the frustrations of having to fight an uncaring system with words (ex-teacher here). Thanks for this essay and the glimpse of what could be.

  7. Love this, Carol. You made me grin, and also grimace. Lucky clients to have worked with such a caring, and funny, social worker. Looking forward to more of your stories!

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