Fog Lights

Yesterday was a weird day. I tried to write a post about this past weekend, where we celebrated how wonderful E is and what it’s like to watch someone change their life for the better, but it kept coming up short. I wanted to tie it into a larger piece about our pasts and maybe eventually I will, but I kept stopping and staring at the words. I felt really stifled at the thought of delving back into my past for inspiration. I started to feel really stifled at the thought of my past at all. And I started to tell myself that maybe this reality I’m living would become a similar type of past in the near future, and this giant fog fell over my whole day that I couldn’t shake for anything.

I’m really bad at being happy, it turns out. Like, resorting to self-sabotage-bad at enjoying happiness for what it is in that moment instead of freaking out that things are going too well and have to stop going that well soon. It comes in waves, this resurgence of the anxiety that’s plagued me for years, but lately it’s sticking around. It’s not like it used to be, where it was intrinsically connected to my then-self, where I couldn’t disconnect where my anxiety ended and I began. Right now it feels like a bandaid I don’t want to rip off; I know it’s not a part of me and it’s temporary, but I’d rather let it hang out to the side for now and I’ll get rid of it when I’m ready. Anxiety sticks to everything when you pay it too much attention: new job, finances, plans for the next year, and relationships. Right now I’ve managed to assuage fears about the new job, about our budget for the Norwegian adventure, about any plans that haven’t come to fruition, and so it stuck to my relationship, because I’m really, really happy, so obviously that means everything is wrong.

When you live in this mindset it’s hard to be present externally because you’re so focused on what’s happening inside your ego, your mind.  Last night A and I went out for dinner with a few friends in Queens and I think I said three sentences all night. He could tell immediately I was off, but didn’t push, he just let me sit and be, clearly inside my own head about absolutely nothing.  When he asked me later “are you okay?” I told him the truth and said “Yes,” because I am okay. I’m just off, and I don’t know why. Sometimes for people that’s a lot to handle, when someone is okay but then again they’re not, and there’s nothing to do to fix it.

Not A, though. No, he knew exactly what to do. He didn’t push me to talk when we got back to his place; he didn’t try to offer solutions to fix every problem in my life and he didn’t ignore that I was off. Instead, he put on Last Week Tonight, handed me my favorite sweatpants of his and we snacked on peanut butter pretzels. When we settled into the couch he laid behind me and held me close. He stroked my hair and kissed my cheek and said he’d missed me the previous week. And we stayed there, half asleep, even after the show was over and the television was blank, until it was time to go to bed, where we talked about Norway till we fell asleep in the middle of sentences.

I woke up this morning like a new person, like something had been switched back to “on” and I could see through the fog. I made us coffee and we watched old SNL clips for no reason until it was time to leave. It felt like the bandaid had fallen off overnight and all the delving back into my past from the weekend that opened up the old anxiety wound didn’t matter anymore. The past has happened and the future will come, but the present is really beautiful for what it is: the sliver of sunshine amid a sea of fog that comes with a little self-awareness and a whole lot of love.

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I didn’t plan to post today.

Really though. I originally had ambitions of posting something thoughtful today, and then I couldn’t pull myself together in time to write the draft (it’ll go on Monday PROMISE). I thought today would be a good day to hold on posting in favor of waiting until I had something really interesting to write about, like what I’ll hopefully be posting on Monday. And then I started reading this article while browsing the interwebz at lunch, and a line gave me so much pause that I did something unthinkable. In this article on xoJane, the writer mentions a one-sided romance she had before meeting her fiancé, and says this: “The cliff-hanger ending of that story rattled me deep.” Almost immediately after reading that, I had this ridiculous impulse to click over to Facebook, take a deep breath, and type The Child’s name into the search bar.

What was I thinking? Why am I doing this? All questions that were running through my brain as I lightly pressed the keys, finding a small bit of amusement in how I couldn’t recall exactly how to spell his last name. I wasn’t expecting or wanting to see anything. I wasn’t looking at him because I missed him or because I wanted to know about his life. I literally had no reason to be clicking on his profile and yet even in my small hesitation as I went to click through, I couldn’t stop myself. And then all of a sudden there I was, looking at the same face that broke up with me over a text message and then strung me along for a few months before he left Manhattan for good. I felt nothing as I looked at him. Pity, maybe, that he has to keep living with himself, and his self is not a good person. A flicker of nostalgia for a time where my weekends were late nights with R&H, where I had three tattoos and long hair, where I was thinking maybe this yoga thing was something to explore. But mostly? I felt nothing.

Why are we compelled to check-in with people that break our hearts? In the two years since he came crashing into my life on that cold subway platform, I’ve moved jobs, cut off all my hair, gotten three tattoos (nearly four), received my yoga teacher certification and found someone who could really be someone. Nearly everything about me has changed, save for my apartment and morning commute; and yet even with all of this, a single line in an article can bring me back to 2014 LB who was curious about a cute stranger on a train. I’ve long since stopped being angry; I haven’t cared about him in years, and I knew that looking at his face from behind a social media profile wouldn’t change any of that, and I didn’t want it to! So why the fuck did I feel the need to do it.

What is it about exes that keep such an odd hold on us? I suppose it’s not all exes: the big Ex and I have maintained a friendly relationship since we fell apart, a testament to his maturity and how much we really did love each other while we were together; when he pops up on social media I feel that little pinch in my heart that calls to the piece that will always love him. But I don’t “check in” with him ever, really, because if I really wanted to check-in with him I’d text him to make plans for coffee. Frankly, I don’t know that I’ve been compelled to “check-in” on any ex, whether we’re officially ‘exes’ or not, and yet despite having not thought about him in months, reading that one sentence today brought my thoughts immediately back to that person. Both people, I suppose: who he is and who I was when he knew me.

Is there a conclusion to this post? Not really. The whole story is no more than “I thought about a stupid fuck of an ex for the first time in months today and figured I’d see if he changed his profile picture and he didn’t.” Barely an interesting sentence, let alone a full post. Perhaps there’s something about being in a not-so new-anymore relationship, where you’re still learning about each other but you’ve settled into a comfortably boring and perfect routine, where you’re making plans for the immediate and distant future like they’re one in the same; perhaps there’s something about that which calls to mind what it took to find that person and that point of happiness. I kissed a lot of toads and one whopper of a snake before I met a prince. Maybe that’s the lesson learned in all of this: people shape our lives for specific reasons. The surest mark of growth is looking at a face that once made you swoon and sob at the same time and feel absolutely not a damn thing.

If it looks like a slut…

*Note: profanity and ‘I AM WOMAN HEAR ME ROOOAAAAAR’ ahead. 

I’m going to admit some things in this post that I haven’t said directly in the past, things I’ve hinted at but never officially ‘confirmed.’ But the things need to be admitted so that the rest of this story makes sense – and this story has been weighing on me for a little while now, so I’d rather admit things that maybe I would have wanted to keep quiet, in lieu of saying nothing at all.

Here goes: Last week I was slut-shamed by my therapist.

Quick background: I’ve been seeing this person for about three-and-a-half years, and he’s absolutely wonderful. He was the perfect person to get me through the end of one relationship into the beginning and end of another; he’s given me a new outlook on life that I never would have found on my own. I don’t see him that often anymore, save for a check-in every four-to-six months, but I usually cherish his advice and love the hour I get to chat with him about everything and nothing.

I realized just before the Savannah trip in November that I hadn’t seen him for nearly five months, and figured the end of the year would be a good chance to check-in again; my word, the last time I saw him no one was married and yoga teacher training was a distant dream. Originally, I assumed it would be a normal check-in, hi, how are you, how is your eating; but as life likes to do sometimes, there was a bit of a curveball instigated by the wedding last weekend, and it was extremely reassuring to know I’d be talking out some of my confusion with an old friend. I’m not going to go into too many details and I’m not going to give a play-by-play of the session, but here’s what happened: after discussing recent events in comparison to what’s happened to me in the past two years, my therapist turned to me and said this: “I think you’ve got the right attitude! Keep reminding yourself there is no reason to bring the past into the present. But LB, remember you shouldn’t jump into bed with guys so quickly. Make this one work for it a little bit, at least!”

On the surface, it doesn’t sound like much. Standard advice that’s beaten into all of us, right? Girls, don’t sleep with a guy right away, and don’t sleep with a lot of guys or you’ll be a slut and no one will want you. Self-respecting men don’t date sluts. Pretty simple, right?  Except it’s not simple at all. It’s actually a really fucking complicated scenario, and those scolding words are minimizing that.

I mean, let’s break it down now. I am a grown woman. I make the decisions about MY body, and it is MY choice who I do or do not sleep with, and when. It’s not anyone’s place, in particular my therapist’s place, to tell me what I choose to do and who I choose to do it with is wrong, or shameful. I’m so SICK of the notion that women need to use sex as a tool to keep men interested, like it’s currency, something we DEIGN to do, unless there’s something in it for us, like a piece of jewelry or the want of a man. Sex is a healthy and normal part of life and relationships, and I will not be told that the best way to make sure a guy stays interested is to hold out and leave us both with blue balls. Because GUESS WHAT: women enjoy having sex too. Mind-blowing. I know.

Slut-shaming runs so much deeper than merely calling someone a slut. I don’t care if someone wants to call me a slut. Don’t believe me? THEN GO FOR IT. You think your words hurt me? You think it’s anything I haven’t heard before? I’ve called myself worse things than you could ever call me. What’s weighing on me is not that my therapist actually called me a slut (because he didn’t), but the idea that he was encouraging me to use sex as a tool to get something (attention or desire), while simultaneously chastising me for having a healthy sex life as a single woman. News flash: I make no apologies for the decisions that I’ve made with regards to my body and I don’t regret a damn thing in my life, sexually or otherwise. And frankly, at the end of the day, if there is a guy that decides he’s no longer interested in me because we’ve had sex once, I don’t feel bad for me. I feel bad for him – how boring that you think sex is at its peak when you’re having it with someone new for the first time.

I’m going to step off my soapbox now and take a deep breath. I so rarely see my therapist anymore that it’s not worth it to make a huge stink with him – and honestly, I think he meant well; I know he wants the best for me, having watched me go through a lot of heartbreak in a short period of time. I know people see and hear and experience slut shaming to levels that are so far and away beyond mine. But I’m just sick of hearing these comments. I’m sick of it, especially as a 27-year-old single woman in New York City. I will not be shamed for the choices I’ve made because I stand by every single one of them. And always remember: neither should you.

Wedding Dos and Don’ts: 2015 Guest Edition

Any long-ish time readers of the blog know that the past year for me has basically centered around one thing and one thing only: other people’s weddings. For the past 12 months, and the last 5 in particular, my life has been a blur of bachelorette parties and bridal showers and rehearsal dinners, navy dresses or skirts and so much travel, all to celebrate some of the people I love the most saying I Do to the person they love most of all. It’s been a wonderful year, filled with happiness and love and wonderful memories, and it’s also been a year with a few *questionable* teaching moments for yours truly.

As someone who has been a bridesmaid, maid-of-honor, guest, and combination of all three across four weddings this fall, I feel fairly well qualified to provide a list of tips and tricks for how to have the best time. Each wedding I went to in the past five months was amazing in its own way: how do you top a freaking bagpipe-led parade down Fifth Avenue in our black-tie best? A ski lift during cocktail hour? An entire weekend with no open container laws? Or trying to out-crazy a bunch of drunk NYPD officers and rugby players? Answer: you don’t. I could never choose between four of the most fun nights of my life.

So here you go kids: My list of top wedding Dos and Don’ts:

DON’TS

  • DON’T drink too much at the rehearsal dinner. It may or may not lead to losing your phone in an Uber, losing your dignity around your friend’s extremely fancy family, losing an entire glass of red wine on your shoes or jumping so exuberantly on your sister the bride the morning of her wedding (read: still a lil drunk) when you guys wake up that she spends her big day with a massive bruise on her knee.
  • DON’T have a panic attack about your outfit. First, if R’s maid of honor still got a dress in time for the wedding after her original dress was ruined in Texas flooding like SIX WEEKS before the big day… your outfit will be fine. This also goes for guests – though I will condone impulse-buying sequin pants ONLY after your three closet dresses and two rented back-ups don’t fit.
  • DON’T freak out if you have a million weddings. Yes, they’re expensive and stressful and sometimes the food is terrible (*not the case for any of mine this year but I hear it happens), but it’s the happiest day of someone’s life. Once you see the couple looking at each other as they say “I do,” all the stress and money is worth it.
  • DON’T FORGET BOOB TAPE. I can’t stress this enough. There was not a single wedding I went to this year where that didn’t come in some form of handy.
  • DON’T take it too seriously. Some of the best parts of R and T’s weddings were in the mornings as we all got ready together. I have to say, in my head I assumed it was going to be this frenzy of activity, everyone freaking out and trying to calm down an anxious bride. Instead we were all quite calm, happily sipping on champagne and listening to music until it was about that time to get dressed. Things are going to happen on a wedding day that you can’t control, but you can control your reaction. Just let them happen, and remember to have fun.

DOS

  • DO have snacks. Snacks in the bridal suite, snacks in your hotel room, snacks in your purse before the ceremony – SNACKS. I know it’s tempting to eat nothing before the wedding to “save yourself” for the cocktail hour hors d’oeuvres or dinner, but that’s really poor planning. Bring snacks, and just assume you’re going to overeat. It’s okay. We won’t judge.
  • DO reuse accessories! I spent *probably* too much money new pair of shoes for R’s wedding but ended up wearing them to every other wedding I attended this year, and the higher quality was totally worth it. Same with earrings I bought for T’s wedding – probably spent too much and didn’t end up wearing them for her, but I’ve already worn them to two weddings and a holiday party this year. It’s worth it to plan ahead and spend a little extra on nice things if you have a lot of weddings or events.
  • DID I MENTION BRING BOOB TAPE. I’m not kidding it’s a lifesaver. Or a boob saver. Decency-saver? Well maybe not that last one if you’re like me and decide to drink whiskey. But seriously… bring boob tape.
  • DO get on the dance floor! I was SHOCKED at two of the weddings how many guests seemed embarrassed to dance once the band/DJ got going. It’s a wedding – dance like a fool, who cares! All eyes are on the happy couple anyway. And if you are the happy couple, dance like a fool – you just got married, so who cares!
  • DO take risks. The scariest thing I’ve done in a long time was attend an out-of-town wedding alone while wearing sequined pants, and it may have turned into the best decision I’ve ever made.

So there it is kids! My lessons from weddings this year. I would have done a PLD Montage but aside from the aforementioned rehearsal dinner mishaps, there weren’t really any terrible decisions on my end. I even had half a vodka shot and didn’t cry or lose anything!  It’s been such a wonderful year of love and new beginnings, and pleasant surprises. To all the new wives and husbands in my life, you’ve made this year unforgettable for me and I can’t thank you enough for planning such incredible weekends.

But also, thank you all for getting married within five months of each other. I’m for sure looking forward to a LONG break from those gold shoes.

Friendly Conversations: Cinco

AH! I haven’t posted nearly enough of these this year. To be totally honest, the past few months have hosted some of the best one-liners of my entire life… but I didn’t write them down. Between T/B and M/N’s weddings, general debauchery with college friends and holiday surprises, there were so many hilarious moments, but I didn’t write them down the way I used to. At the time, it felt rude to the other person or to that moment in general to waste time on my phone capturing a few sentences. Luckily, texts are forever, and mine with Twinster are some of the best. Though sorry, T – a few others snuck in there too.

So for the last time this year, I give you today’s: Friendly Conversations.

On Snapchat (pt. 1)
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On sibling reassurance
Twinster 2

On life after holiday parties
*Preface: I thought I lost my phone at the holiday party and threw a tantrum. Then I found it. Sooooooooo……

Text 6

On Snapchat (Pt. 2)
Twinster 3

On dating advice, from married people (pt. 1)
Twinster 5

On surviving three-party weekends
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On dating advice from married people (pt two)
Twinster 6

 

Panic Cord

There’s this thing that happens to me sometimes that I’ve long since learned I can’t control. It’s something I can ignore usually, or at least after a few years of recognizing it I’ve learned to ignore it, but when things in different areas of my life start imploding all at the same time, I find myself wrestling with this burning desire to do something destructive. The definition of “destructive” has changed over the years, but I can recognize that feeling coming from a mile away. It’s like an old addiction to self-destruction that yoga and clean eating and new attitudes and a new life can’t hide forever; the moment I can feel things start to slip, slip from my control, there’s a sort of cloud that covers my vision in this hazy need to do something impulsive, and big, and maybe a little dangerous to boot.

One of the earliest memories I have of the first time this happened is standing in the bathroom outside my bedroom at around 15 years old. I was angry with my mother yet again because she “couldn’t understand” why I so badly wanted the top of my ear pierced. We’d had the arguments many times, and she never gave me a reason more than “because I said so” as to why she wouldn’t allow me to have that put in my ear. Hormonal and filled with angst, I had this overwhelming impulse to do something, everything, anything. I went into one of the bathroom drawers and grabbed an earring, the one that had been used to pierce my ears a few years back, marked a spot on my left ear with a pen, took a deep breath and stuck it through. As I exhaled, I thought three things in quick succession: That didn’t hurt as much as I thought it might! Mama B is gonna be so fucking pissed off at me. Huh, I actually feel way better.

This draw to impulsive sorts of self-destruction has led to a lot of interesting decisions over the years, from bad third dates to at least one of my tattoos. I’ve had piercings all up and down my ears and face and abdomen, and many years ago this impulse may have led to an interesting afternoon in the office following a sangria-fueled lunch on a weekday with my lovely friend M. When things in my life start to feel like they’re slipping, not quite out of my control yet but on the way, I use that helpless feeling as an excuse to do something impulsive or crazy without thinking, as though I feel like things are already bad so let’s just keep rolling with it and see where we land. It’s not always a bad thing – following that impulse has led to some awesome nights (/mornings…) out and of course, at least one of my tattoos – but as I’ve gotten older, catering to such an impulse is starting to get exhausting.

That particular feeling started to bubble up yesterday while I sat in the office and watched the clock move slowly, knowing it was the first of yet another series of very late nights. It’s like all of the lucky, wonderful, something-big-is-happening feelings I’ve had in the past month finally came crashing back down, with so many things out of my control and so many things about to happen. And by early evening, I found myself contemplating a few things: Where else could I get a piercing at almost-27 years old that isn’t weird? Maybe I’ll go get that tiny script tattoo that popped into my head yesterday when I leave the office tomorrow. I wonder if anyone is around for a Sunday Funday this weekend?  I had to halt at that last one (Sunday Funday is dangerous and may or may not lead to lost wallets), take a step back, and figure out what was really going on, because I knew if I didn’t, one of those things would happen and really none of those things are good ideas.

I sighed deeply from the conference room where I’d camped out for the day, and calmly rationalized that I already have one facial piercing and I’m waiting till after T’s wedding for my next tattoo. And while I can’t say for sure what’s going to happen this weekend (aside: N.Posse – I would be super down for a Sunday Funday #justsaying), I decided instead to forget a budget for a minute and ordered a yoga prop I’ve been eyeing for months. Maybe saying “fuck it” to budgeting and spending money on a workout toy isn’t the craziest thing I’ve done to find a little more control in the wild things in my life these days. I’m okay with that, though. It’s worth it to have these little self-teaching moments that make it very apparent when you’ve grown up, if only a little bit.

Pause.

Fourth of July weekend. A few days off the daily grind to relax by the pool, cook everything on a grill and enjoy such classic American pastimes as drinking beer and tanning excessively. I debated heavily back and forth this weekend whether I wanted to spend the time in Connecticut with family or stick around the city to see what the Nickname Posse would get into, but by Thursday, exhausted from a long week and in desperate need of a pause button, I decided I’d sleep in on Friday morning but take the first available train back once I was functional enough to make a coffee and check the schedule. Connecticut is like that for me, a pause button on everything else in life for a crucial few moments, falling asleep and waking up to nature and devoid of real responsibilities during the day. I’m not constantly on my phone when I’m back at home, I don’t bring a computer or use the desktop there that often. Aside from a few Instagrams (because obviously), I stayed pretty off the grid most of the weekend, and it was exactly what I needed, a pause on the crazy before everything picks back up again.

Part of the weekend was a welcome throwback, a concert on the town green which featured the youth orchestra I played in for six years. Yes, I just said youth orchestra and no, I’m not embarrassed. I’m proud of the time I put into playing my instruments, especially since I’m near positive I can’t anymore, and the conductors, a married couple who also teach the band/orchestra at the middle school and have basically shaped a part of the town culture for the past forty years, finally retired; this was their last concert, potentially ever. We rounded up the old group, the only people I still keep in touch with from high school, and surprised the conductors by near-rushing the stage at the end of the performance. After gently chiding us for not grabbing our instruments and playing with them, their first question was of course “what have you all been up to in the past few years?” We looked at each other, and one friend summed up my life perfectly with her next words. Pointing in order to my sister, another friend, herself and then me, she replied “Engaged, married, engaged, yoga.” I laughed so hard at that statement tears ran down my face – what a perfect way to sum up the most important things in our lives since they last saw us all together in 2006.

Sometimes it feels like my life is a romantic comedy, except I’m the quirky best friend who provides advice and comic relief, while the lead characters grow up and move forward. I’m there for the nights out to follow through on the dare from an engaged friend to make out with a stranger, I’m the last-minute date stand-in when something comes up. I’m never left out of the plot for long, but my role isn’t crucial to the love stories taking place around me each day. Simply put, hearing that statement was certainly funny, but as the words sat with me, they were a little challenging as well, laying out pretty neatly how it feels to play second fiddle to everyone else’s lead character navigating the standard milestones of your late 20s. It was nice to be able to go back to my parent’s place after that, grab a towel and head to the front yard for a little yoga on my own, separated from the rest of the family with just my thoughts and the slow movements of a gentle vinyasa flow, a pause button on a weekend that had already paused everything. I needed the meta-pause for a few minutes to gently remind myself that I’m not being left behind, and I’m not doing something wrong. I’m just not living life on the same wavelength of some of the people I love the most, and maybe it’s a scary thing, but it certainly isn’t a bad one.

Yesterday I got home early and sighed with relief at the chance to roll out my mat and stretch in the comfort of my own living room. I worked through a lot of tension in my hips and my back, long, slow stretches that opened up everything, all the anxieties of the past weekend, all the clenched mouth responses to the “of course it’ll be your turn soon!”s that follow me like a mosquito in my ear when I’m trying to fall asleep. After things felt properly bendy, I started to play with arm balances, first a headstand, then a forearm stand, and finally I moved myself to the wall to practice handstands, surprising myself as I find it starting to become easier and easier to hold the pose without the support of the wall. At one attempt I didn’t need the wall at all, until my excited gasp of air at holding the pose brought me back down with a laugh and a rush of endorphins. It was the kind of yoga high that made me so grateful for the pause button that was my life for the two days prior, a chance to set my head on straight again; and finding balance in those two seconds of hangtime in a handstand made me so grateful towards my body and mind for learning to breathe through these challenging moments, both physically and emotionally. A pause button by way of a weekend away recharged my positive energy for the future, and pausing in an almost-handstand reminded me progress and change will come with time. Now it’s time to push play on a new week, a crazy new week, and a new summer season, where the only pause will have to come from me, taking advantage of the precious moments where I can roll out my mat and remind myself that the end goal is just progress – and that’s something I can do all on my own.

Quick Thoughts: Just Me

I saw a friend last night for the first time in probably six months, and we had so many things to catch up on – my no-longer new job, no-longer new haircut, and to his biggest surprise, my commitment at not dating in 2015. “What do you mean not dating though,” he remarked after I told him that the plan was still in effect. “Like you’ve only been on a few dates and don’t want anything serious?” Nope, I told him. I haven’t been on a date since January and it was so terrible that I just decided I’m not going to deal with them anymore, or at least not till I start contemplating getting more cats even more seriously than I already am. He sat back with a smile on his face, and stared for a moment, like he was trying to find something in me, maybe a sadness, a longing, or a trace of the “left behind” feeling so many people are convinced I’m experiencing now that everyone around me is engaged. The words he said next really stuck with me, and haven’t left my head all day:

“So this is what LB is like without a man. I gotta say lady, she was great to begin with but this is a whole new level.”

Much as I profess to being “single” for a year and a half now, he really has a good point. Last year was a flurry of dates and almost-relationships, of big promises and me wanting, trying, needing to find someone to fill this void that I thought would never go away on its own. If we’re talking single life as in no dates, no relationships, no promises, no crushes even, I’ve made it six full months and I’m on my seventh. It’s as though last year I was trying so hard to get to know other people that I forgot to take a few months to get to know myself.

So this is what LB is like without a man. I gotta say readers, I’ve been pretty okay with her for a number of years, but the past six months really are on a whole new level.

Friendly Conversations: Tres

On the future
M: I can’t even imagine where we’ll be in 5 years, let alone 10. I mean, when I was 17 there’s no WAY I thought I’d be a nanny in New York City and living with a long-term boyfriend at 27. Not in a million years! What about you?
Me: Hmm. Did I picture myself 26, single, and living alone with a cat… Yup that’s pretty much the dream.

On technicalities
Friend: So I read that blog post about change where you say you’re not dating… dare I mention the trend of you at birthday parties this year?
Me: That is TOTALLY different. I’ve sworn off actual dates, not making out with strangers in public. Totally different.

On healthy living
Aunt: So I hear you’re on some kind of special diet. What’s that about?
Me: Yeah, it’s called Whole30. I’m not trying to lose weight of course, just make myself healthier!
Aunt: OK good, you don’t need to be any skinnier!
Me: (exits the room)
Aunt (loudly, to cousin): Why is she trying to lose weight!??

On breaking news
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On high school reunions
Papa B: So that guy I introduced you to was my old football buddy from high school!
Me: Wow! Why haven’t I heard of him until now?
Papa B: Ya know, he was in jail for a while.
Me: Wait what?!
Papa B: yeah selling cocaine of something.
Me: WHAT.
Papa B: Eh it was the 80s, who didn’t.

On college reunions
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Wring it Out

The past seven days have been trying, to say the very least. Between anticipated Whole30 crankiness, a family member in the hospital, then a nursing/rehab facility, plus the general drama that comes with extended time with my family, as well as a slowly-exploding workload, I haven’t had a ton of downtime for anything. Sunday was the first day I had a few hours to myself, waking up leisurely around 7:30, and spending the morning cleaning and warming up for a yoga class at noon. I knew the instructor, and knew to prepare because his classes are a little intense, but the one on Sunday was beyond what I was expecting – and not just from an asana perspective. Like, we started out by singing a mantra while he played along on a weird instrument? I’m sure it was supposed to be moving and spiritual and all that, and don’t get me wrong, I like some hippie granola with my yoga, but this was a little out there, even for me. My thoughts were racing through the whole song: this is dumb, my arms are sore (they were lifted the whole time), why won’t the hungover Australians behind me stop talking, until we started the actual sequences for the class, and all thoughts shut down so I could focus on breathing and praying I would make it through. The class was IN-TENSE – twists on twists on lunges, balancing one two limbs, one limb, planks to handstand prep to planks to backbends. When we made it to the final rest, I could feel my whole body sigh with relief at a few moments to reflect and steady my breath. As I lay there, listening to my slowing heartbeat and counting, four beats inhale, four beats exhale, I could feel all the negativity float out of my body back into the funny limbo where that energy stays,

Something people don’t think about in yoga is that the movements go way beyond… well, the movements. The poses, sequences, flows are all wonderful for toning the body and all, but each movement also has a very specific intention that helps you physically and mentally: negative emotions are stored in the hips, twists detoxify everything, standing postures keep you balanced, i could go on. I’d been focusing on more strength postures in daily practice the past week, still tirelessly working towards a free-standing forearm stand, but in that class on Sunday, my first one since before all the Easter mayhem, the instructor had us focusing on twists: seated, standing, balanced, on our backs, on our stomachs. We twisted in Chair Pose, we twisted in Cow Face, we twisted in headstands and everyone twisted in lunges, massaging the internal organs and sweating profusely as we worked through some emotional and physical build-up in the body. “Wring it out!” the instructor kept telling us, as we went left on the inhale, right on the exhale. “Wring out the negativity and the bad thoughts. Don’t focus on when this will be over. Focus on what’s happening to you right now – the burning, the twisting, the squeezing of toxins out of your body and mind.”

Yoga has this way of getting into my head and helping me realize other moments in life where I may be holding on to needless bad energy. The past week, it’s been difficult to focus on anything with everything happening around me, and it was enough just to try and keep all the Whole30 planning, family time, and work tasks straight. Everything combined meant I was holding on to a lot of crappy emotions, and it started coming out in nasty ways: snapping at my mother after a long day in the nursing center, yelling at the cat for trying to snuggle with me by kneading her claws into my neck, and finally beating myself up over not being “far enough along” in yoga practice, as though there’s a magical endpoint where I should be right now. Much as I can take deep breaths and apologize to the people on the receiving end of my snippy remarks, yoga isn’t so forgiving. If I’m angry, or annoyed, or frustrated, and I focus on that anger and frustration instead of the positive progress I’ve made, I won’t get into things that usually come easily to me, and I won’t move forward, a lesson I’ve carried into many aspects of my life.

I’ve been beating myself up quite a lot lately that I haven’t had as much time to write as I’d like. And even now, this post has taken me four days to put together, and I’m throwing the end of this together in a rare five minutes of peace before back-to-back meetings till five. I can also go into how I’ll probably beat myself up about taking the time to write this now, instead of handling one of the many, many outstanding tasks that need to get done this week, both professionally and personally. But I’m doing my best to stay on the positive side of things for now. I’ll get back to blogging like normal; I’ll get to the level I want to be in yoga. I’ll get to a place where it doesn’t feel like I’m drowning every time I open my eyes, and hey, there’s only two more weeks till I can drink wine again. Everything will happen, and things will feel better. And until that all comes into place, I’ll be twisting left and right and sideways, staying on the right side of a positive energy and wringing out what is keeping me back.