Thursday Night: A Review

6:02pm: Check in with my boss at the end of the day and start to pack up. Stare at the large and cumbersome bag of clothes from spending the previous night in Queens and decide to leave the clothes in the office for the night, since it’s just my dress from the day before and I don’t need anything in there till the next day anyway.

6:11pm: Leave the office. Thrilled to be out on time for a night to hang out with my YTT BFF working on her first class and sipping chilled wine in the summer air.

6:24pm: Meet YTT BFF on the same corner we spent so many weeks in leggings and hug for days. God I miss that energy sometimes, a room full of yogis practicing and learning and just being together. We walk to the A train catching up about everything till we’re back in the Heights, the commute we took together the first night that led to this amazing friendship.

7:44pm: We exit the subway one stop early and walk by the George Washington Bridge as the sun is setting; it’s still humid and hot and I’m really wishing I’d changed into my spare yoga clothes because a strapless bra is awful when it isn’t sweaty and gross outside.

7:50pm: I go to change into my yoga clothes at YTT BFF’s apartment and come to the terrible realization that in leaving my bag of clothes at the office I also left my FREAKING KEYS WITH IT.

7:51pm: I have a flashback to that morning as I was getting dressed where I saw my keys and thought “I should really put those in my purse.”

7:52pm: DAMMIT 7AM LB THIS IS WHY WE DRINK COFFEE BEFORE MAKING ANY DECISIONS LIKE WHERE TO LEAVE YOUR KEYS.

7:55pm: YTT BFF and I leave to go 3 stops down on the subway to 145th, where there is a Key Me kiosk. I thank all the things that I’ve used this kiosk before.

8:01pm: New key secured. I triumphantly send a Snapchat about how awesome I am and how my night was NOT ruined.

8:35pm: Make it home. Wait outside for someone to let me in the front door so I can go pack for the weekend at Twinster’s with A.

8:41pm: Make it inside and climb my 5 flights. God I can’t wait to take this freaking bra off.

8:42pm: THE GODDAMN NEW KEY DOESN’T WORK.

8:45pm: Still sitting outside my door contemplating crying or laughing or also crying.

8:47pm: Reluctantly hop into a cab to the Upper East Side to get my spare keys from D&D. Super tired and hungry and cranky.

8:48pm: Cab driver attempts to engage in friendly conversation and I pretend not to hear him.

9:04pm: Texting C from the cab. She becomes my LORD GODDESS AND SAVIOR by informing me Uber is half price all weekend in NYC. This is my third cab of the day so the news is *slightly* welcome.

9:17pm: Arrive at D&Ds. Walk in to two pups who are beside themselves happy to see me and plop on the floor to hang out with two of my favorite people. Snuggle with the pitbull and realize maybe everything’s okay.

9:34pm: Uber home. My driver used to live literally around the corner from my apartment so we trade stories about Washington Heights. He recently moved and misses it so much. I tell him about M&N and realize this time next year it could be me too.

9:55pm: Walk the five flights of stairs and even though I know they’re going to work I am PRAYING these keys don’t let me down.

9:57pm: The keys work. THE KEYS WORK!!!

9:59pm: The Uber was less than $10. C is officially my actual savior.

10:01pm: Text A the whole story. We laugh and plan our road trip the next day. I can’t wait for a weekend with him and Twinster and maybe some bonus time with my nephews too.

10:04pm: I go to grab an apple and find beer in my fridge. Realize it’s bedtime buuuuut….

10:07pm: Take a sip of a beer that was well-deserved by doing not a damn thing and settle in a few episodes of Sunny on Netflix before bedtime beckons.

10:11pm: Realize I’m missing the most important part of my day and forcibly remove my bra. God, it’s good to be home.

Moral of the story: don’t be an idiot. Happy long weekend, everyone!!

A Series of Nows

I have so many things rolling around in my head I want to write about and talk about. The whole month of May has been so frantic that I feel as though I’m never anywhere for long, a state of constant travel and never, never spending enough time at home.

There’s the camping weekend that wasn’t from a few weekends back, where Friday the 13th ruined a planned trip with rain but rewarded us with the most perfect day drinking Saturday, where margaritas at brunch turned into rooftop beers turned into midnight pizza with friends. I remember a moment from that day, on the rooftop gossiping with a wonderful new friend like we’d known each other for years; we were all making fun of each other and laughing with each other and I felt like I had a group again. And before the end of the night, snuggled into A on a chair that turned and laughing with the friends who technically introduced us, I took a look around me and for that moment in time everything felt like home.

There’s the Boston weekend, the annual girl’s trip last week, finally joined by D, who has been part of the family for years but hasn’t made it up for the trip yet. It was easily the best year ever: laughing together as we had to pee desperately in traffic on the drive up, getting a noise complaint less than five minutes after getting into our hotel room, drinking hot toddys because we’re “sick.” D’s face when she watched the ballet described all of our faces at the B ladies, past, present and future, spending a weekend of no drama all together. Sometimes I’m sad that my Twinster lives so far away and sometimes I feel guilty that I get so much time with D and she doesn’t, but this weekend I remembered we’re family, and no matter where we are or how long it’s been, when we’re together it will always feel like home.

And then there are the tough moments. There’s realizing I haven’t had a solid yoga practice for a few months because life won’t stop moving and any free time I have is spent doing fun things like laundry and repacking the same duffel bag over and over because I haven’t had a weekend at home in longer than I care to count. There are late nights in the office where I just want to cry and sometimes I say terrible things like “what do you want from me” and “this wouldn’t have happened if I were still moving.” There are bad days where someone’s car gets towed and I know it’s not my fault but it feels like it, and there are the terrible moments where I think I’m finally going to hear those eight letters in response but instead it’s “sleep well” and I can’t sleep at all. Soemtimes all I want is some time at home to myself like the old days and I wonder if I’ll ever feel that security of home again in this new life that’s happening so quickly I can’t catch up.

But then there’s moments like last night. The first night I’d seen C since March. A night on a rooftop with wine and duck pizza and even though I completely forgot her birthday present (AGAIN), I caught up on her life and I couldn’t believe how much I’d missed her. She laughed while I fumbled with my 17 bags and a glass of wine, trying to hold popcorn and a mini champagne bottle without spilling any of them, and I laughed while we took Snapchat selfies and reclined in the cool night air, waiting for a few hours of 90s glory to entertain our Tuesdays. We caught up on people that we both know and we caught up on new people that only we know and walking back late after the movie ended I stupidly led her to a subway entrance with no card machines and we rushed through a goodbye so she could get home at a decent hour, but it was okay. It was perfect actually. A rooftop movie in midtown on a beautiful New York City evening, watching Clueless with one of my favorite people felt like home as much as everything else above did too.

Monday’s Real Life Mantra: I write my own story.

Except that story is taking me forever.

Like, literally forever.

Sorry kids! I will post new content this week, I just have real life things getting in my way, like my job and needing to write the class I’m teaching in less than 48 hours (what? I’m prepared). Now that Mercury is out of retrograde (HALLELOOO) my communications here should be improved, but allow for a little backtime for the proper energies to catch up. Till then, check back soon for a recap of why I will always support a few whiskeys ahead of a fancy ballet performance.

Retrograde

We’re goin’ hippie on the Chronicle again! Please feel free to tune out if you’re not into planetary motions and cosmic energy and come back later this week when I have another entry up (probably). I have a post I’ve been working on all week that I was hoping to have up today but just can’t seem to finish it, and then today happened and all I can think about is retrogrades and how they’re fucking with my life right now.

Even if you don’t believe in hippie mumbo-jumbo, you have to admit there’s something to be said about how the cosmos affects our tiny beings. The moon rules the tides, the ebbs and flows of the ocean, the motions of time. The planets all revolve around a single entity, held together by an energy that everyone accepts but doesn’t understand; we’re all ruled by the same cosmic matter and energy that creates the planets, a solar system, the trees in Central Park and the desk I’m writing this entry on. Is it so crazy to think that planetary movements, therefore, govern things that we can’t explain but accept as truth?

It is? Okay fine. Again, I invite you to stop reading now and come back later this week for more of my normal rambling.

Made it this far? Great. Mercury is currently in retrograde (looks like it’s moving backwards in the sky) and has been since late April. Mercury rules communication and technology, which is why when things are going haywire in our lives, people will jokingly blame Mercury retrograde. Retrogrades aren’t necessarily meant to be bad times actually – it’s just that the planet’s energies are expressed differently, more inward than outward. So yes, when technology goes haywire you can blame the retrograde, but this particularly long retrograde I’ve taken the opportunity to turn inwards on my own communication and goals to try and find growth in a period of backtracking. I’ve come to a lot of really interesting conclusions, meditating on all this, but there’s one really, really big one that I can’t run away from anymore, even though I’ve been trying to for a long time.

I really, really, really miss my best friend.

This is expressed for me in a million different ways right now for a lot of different people, but the one taking center stage is M. I miss M with my whole being. Literally every part of me aches every time I pass their old apartment or when I see that I’ve missed another text or a FaceTime from her, a product of backwards communication during this time. Everything reminds me of the past five years where she was my rock, the only one who could keep me sane, and for some reason this past week has been the hardest since she left, because we’re somehow talking more and saying less and I just want to walk the three blocks to her old apartment where she’s waiting for me with a glass of wine and an open ear.

And I miss the rest of my friends. H and I tried to plan a time where he and R and me and A could all get together and we’re not free at the same time till nearly August. C and I fortunately have a set date for a rooftop movie next week where I’ll finally be able to give her the birthday present I got for her birthday in February. S and I just laugh when we try to plan anything lately because we’re literally on opposite schedules. I’m so lucky to have A and his friends on a similar schedule, and they’re all wonderful, but except for K they’re not my people, not yet. Lately I feel like I’m floating in this weird bubble of life: this was supposed to be the countdown to my move, the countdown to a new beginning, the last weeks to see everyone; now I’m stuck and it’s hard not to feel alone.

Anyway. My whole life feels like a retrograde right now, moving backwards because none of us are where we thought we’d be at this point in our lives. This particular retrograde is ending on Sunday, and things will start to even out; things will start to move forward again. Energies will stabilize, and life will come together. I suppose that’s the best I can hope for, that things stabilize slowly in the next few days.

Either way, we’ll all adjust to the changes, the retrogrades, the new lives. We always do.

Stuck.

The scene: New York City, May 2016. In an office overlooking the High Line and the Hudson on a sunny Thursday, late morning. Surrounded by the click, click, click of keyboards, someone else coughing, the occasional ping of a new email or a new chat. I’m sitting at my desk getting through work and trying to plan the next few weeks and months of travel and classes while firing off emails to clients and team members to move everything along so we can get out of the office on time tonight and grab a drink together. A blank draft of this post has been staring at me for days and I can’t figure out how to fill the lines: another edition of Friendly Conversations after a few doozies from A and T this week? Another draft entry to thin the 30+ piling up in that folder, half-thoughts and quotes from Instagram trying to ignite inspiration? Something else where I come to the conclusion that life is beautiful and change is good? The blank pages stare at me like a toddler in a candy store for the first time and I’m only inspired to write down one word: STUCK.

If there’s a theme for my life since March, that theme is “STUCK.” Life going into the end of 2015 made a lot of sense: I was about to start yoga training, after which obviously I’d immediately become the best-ever yoga teacher and land all of the jobs for extra money to put towards the move out of NYC, where I would of course immediately find a studio job and all of the firms back home would fall all over themselves to hire me as a consultant. I had many months of solitude and “finding myself” before the move because who wants to date when you’re trying to uproot everything? I had direction and I had a plan and it was a plan I couldn’t wait to follow. And then before training even started, the plan had started to crumble. Now that I’m passed everything I “expected” to happen this year – certified yoga teacher, auntie to two perfect little babes – and adjusted to the things I didn’t expect, I’m starting to feel like the things I’d planned and prepared for are no longer. All of a sudden I’m in this spot where nearly everything around me has changed, but nearly everything feels exactly the same.

Same apartment, same job. New(ish) boyfriend, new tattoos. Same friends, new friends. The balance of same and different in my life seems to cancel itself out, and I’m just here trying to figure out where everything is going next. Will I stay working as I’m working because I have to? Can I shape my life around the plan I had when moving was on the table? In the past five weeks I’ve gotten two more tattoos and changed my hair color, all in what is probably my adult way of “rebelling” against feeling stuck; I’m inciting change because I feel like that’s what this year was going to be about, and maybe it still is, but it doesn’t feel like it. It feels the same. But it’s not the same at all.

I just feel stuck. I’m missing pieces of a previous lifetime so much lately that I wonder if I willed an email into existence; I’m overjoyed at every ping of my phone or my gchat because my new normal is better than I could have imagined. I haven’t been practicing the same way that I normally do, and really I’ve been out of my routine with yoga for most of the year; I still practice every single day for at least 10 minutes and I don’t know where I’d be without it. Everything is changing. Nothing has changed. Life is moving forward; life hasn’t moved an inch. There are changes happening every way, day, minute, moment around me, I ran into some of them and away from others.

I’m in the middle of everything that’s static and shaking and I. Feel. Stuck.

Draft Series: [untitled]

Original draft: May 1, 2016

We road trip really well together, he and I, because we both like to talk and we both like to listen. The trips have become one of my favorite parts of our relationship, trading stories about the time before we met, college and childhoods, talking about things in the future like our upcoming Scandinavian adventure. I was regaling a particularly ridiculous story on the way to CT recently, about [atlantic city story]. I sat quiet after that story ended, in that odd space of nostalgia where you can’t tell if you’re happy or sad, and A peeked over at me briefly. “So really, between everything in the last year and then M&N moving, isn’t that your whole like, ‘core’ group of friends?” I stared out the window for a minute as his words washed over me and took a deep breath. “Yeah,” I told him. “I suppose it was.”

 

Ahim-suh craving a hamburger

Last week I had my first general health physical in probably three years. I don’t have a great excuse for not going to the doctor for that long, aside from generally being healthy and disliking the facial responses to my wine and coffee consumption in a typical week. I’ve been dealing with a minor knee injury for a few months now that kicked into high gear over the previous weekend, though, so despite my dislike of doctors in general, I made the appointment to my tired body in for a check-up. I couldn’t say nicer things about the office or staff if I tried – they were all wonderful and I felt at ease in a situation I dislike – save for one moment. In the initial health assessment with my doctor, the topic of yoga came up (e.g. for the first time ever I had an answer to “Do you exercise?” that wasn’t “Do subway stairs count?”); he seemed impressed that I was a yoga instructor until we reached the next set of questions. “So what’s your typical diet? You’re vegan or vegetarian, I assume?” he asked. I laughed as I normally do to that query and told him no, I’m one of those yogis that eats meat. Rather than moving on he looked me up and down for a minute with what can be described as a smirk, turned back to his computer and said “You’re not a real yogi then, are you.”

The first of the eight limbs of yoga (because yes, it’s actually more than just cool poses) is called the yamas – basically five rules of how to treat others. One of those concepts, arguably the most well-known, is ahimsa. Ahimsa translates to non-harming, or non-violence, depending on who you talk to, and on a top surface level, it’s pretty simple: don’t harm. Many yogis choose to interpret this particular yama as “Don’t Kill,” which is why so many yogis are vegetarians or vegans. This post isn’t to bash those people at all. If you choose to follow a vegetarian or vegan diet for whatever reason, I commend you! I firmly believe that physical and mental health starts with what we put into our bodies, and if you feel best by abstaining from animal meat or other products, consider this my support and encouragement. This post is not meant to bash those lifestyle choices, just because that isn’t my own. This post isn’t even really about food choices, though on the surface that’s what triggered the conversation. This post is about respect.

So often people demand respect without knowing what they’re demanding or why. Frankly, if your methods for earning respect begin with demanding it, you’re already doing something wrong. I’m not demanding respect in writing all this down, just to clarify. Going back to the story above though, not only was the doctor judgmental to my life choices, he was disrespectful to how I choose to care for my body. I mean come on. I don’t eat dairy or grains, I eat enough vegetables to send Cookie Monster into a coma and my worst indulgences are a few pieces of dark chocolate at the office (*to be fair that is daily) and a glass or two of wine after work (*that’s not daily but let’s just say I wouldn’t be shocked if he’d told me to cut it back). I source my food responsibly and have no problem spending more money for grass-fed or local cuts of meats than cutting corners and supporting factory farms. I’m not asking him to praise my diet. I’m asking him to respect my choices for how to care for my body, and to respect that I know what’s best for my health and well-being.

Some yogis I talk to agree with my doctor. Doesn’t matter if they’re certified to teach or not, doesn’t matter if they practice daily or once every few weeks, there are some people that have felt compelled, especially on social media, to comment on my choice to keep meat and animal products in my diet.  They cite ahimsa, telling me there is “no possible way” you can understand ahimsa and follow a yogic lifestyle and think that it’s acceptable to contribute to animal “torture.” I respect that some people interpret ahimsa that way – truly, I see where they’re coming from. I just understand and live ahimsa differently. The last time I tried to go vegetarian I felt so tired and weak I could barely function. My yoga suffered, my moods suffered, anyone who had to deal with me suffered through my pinballing blood sugar and subsequent outbursts. I was doing more harm to myself by changing my diet that way. More HARM – and ahimsa is non-harming. If I can’t start with the basest level of the yama – don’t harm yourself – how am I living that value?

I’ll probably keep seeing that doctor. The office is right next to my own, their lobby has good music and cucumber water, and other than the moment that inspired this post, I really liked the doctor and his whole staff. But let it all above be a lesson in respect. Respect each other. Respect our choices. Unless you can see someone actually harming themselves or someone else, let them continue living their lives as you go about yours. I’m a yogi because I live and breathe and love yoga in everything that I do. I’m not a yogi because of the diet choices I make. Respect that I’m a yogi who eats meat, and I’ll respect your choices too.