Quick Thoughts: August

Alternative title: this is my white flag, part two.

I need a break from the blog for the next few weeks. Between work and the final preparations for T’s bridal shower slash bachelorette weekend extraordinaire next weekend, I barely have time to eat and breathe, let alone write. I have so many unfinished drafts from weekends past that I can’t figure out if they make sense to post or not anymore. Writing grounds me, and it makes me happier, gives me a new perspective when I desperately need one; but it’s also, admittedly, very time consuming and it requires my full attention, which I can’t give to anyone or anything right now, except for work and the wedding weekend extraordinaire.

T’s weekend is the one that starts everything: weddings every month for the rest of the year, my impending birthday, 10/27 and all the fun things in between. I know I can find a balance in life with all important things, including this blog, but for the next two weeks, I need a break to get everything else in order.

So if you want to keep up with me, follow me on Twitter (@LBthe20whatev) and Instagram (@lbdoesyoga), where I’ll still be posting silly things. And I’ll be working on lots of fun content for August, which will include finishing all the draft posts I’ve started in the last month.

Sending love and light, and good vibes for less hectic times ahead,

LB

This is my white flag.

Everyone has bad days, personally, professionally, because of strangers, or lovers, or partners, or friends. We all have our ebbs and flows, we have the days where you’re flying and the days where you’re drowning, and that’s not what I’m here to talk about. This isn’t another post about the bad days, and how I know things are going to get better, because if this was a post about the bad days I would already know that. This is a post that simply has one message: I surrender.

The chaotic monotony of life has been building me up and breaking me down lately, and walking out of the office 2 hours after I’d first packed up to leave last night was the icing on a really fucked cake. I’m exhausted. Stressful weeks mean I’m abusing the chocolate drawer, and all that sugar in my system has aggravated the anxiety that hasn’t flared up since before I did the Whole30 in April. All I wanted was to get to a yoga class, and once again that was taken from me; all I wanted was to get to my mat at home but I couldn’t even have that to look forward to, because I had to stop at my lovely friend M’s to pick up my dress for R’s wedding, and then I had to feed myself, and I needed to clean, and shower, somewhere in there I suppose I’ll have to sleep before going back into work forever; and everywhere in there I’m still covered in poison ivy, which has a real way of making you feel life a fucking rockstar. When my head hit the pillow last night, I let the tears frame the sides of my face as they streamed down, down, and found a new mantra to guide me to a restless sleep: deep inhale, deep exhale: I surrender.

I surrender. I’ve been so fortunate for the past few weeks that things have been fantastically wonderful in my life, with positive thinking and attitudes, but something snapped in me this week and I don’t have it in me to fight anymore. Last night when I got to M and N’s place, I started talking about my day, as they are the most amazing listeners and let me complain whenever I need to, and about two minutes into my frustrated lamentations, M walked over to me from where she was sitting on the couch and without missing a beat pulled me into a hug. The second my head hit her shoulder in a grateful release from the tense nature of feeling overwhelmed at life, I started to cry, the first time that night that I felt like I couldn’t push through. It was just a few minutes where she let me cry on her shoulder, shoulders shaking with the tiny sobs of someone who doesn’t have it in her to fight any longer, and the rest of the night before my head hit the pillow, I was trying to figure out where my fight went, and why I surrender felt so good to repeat over and over, before falling into a dreamless sleep.

I’m a fighter by nature. I fight back bad moods, I fight back at stress, I push through the bad days and I don’t let people walk over me; it took me years to find my voice and I will be damned if anyone tries to mute it again. I make mistakes because I’m human, but I fight to grow from those mistakes instead of letting them define me. But I’m waving the white flag on this week. I can’t fight anymore. Last night I felt defeated, like I’d run a race as the leader until the last three steps, where I fell and watched everyone else sprint past. I was supposed to have a Summer Friday today but I’ll likely be here late, pushing to get things done on time, even though it won’t matter, and next week everything will still be crazy. Monotony, circles, running around like my job matters in the largest grand scheme of things, like the world might stop turning unless I get that email out in the next five minutes.

This morning I woke up early and sighed, deeply, the kind of sigh that speaks to a long week and the optimism that ran out by Wednesday. I stared at my yoga mat and heard the little voice in the back of my head saying that it would be okay to surrender back to sleep and stretch tomorrow. But I didn’t. Instead I worked through a really easy, basic flow, whatever came to mind, while keeping I surrender top-of-mind. And it started to take a new meaning. I surrender to the bad days and the bad moods. I surrender to being crazy at work. I surrender to the limitations of being human – maybe I’m cranky and upset today, but by the time tomorrow comes around, it’s a new day, with new challenges, and eventually it’s going to be okay. So this is my white flag to this week, where I’m going to let everything just happen now, and I’m going to try my best to trust that things will work out the way they need to. I surrender to the weekend and to what I hope will be a learning experience, and I’m keeping my fingers crossed that the fighter comes back next week.

Someday.

I slowly climbed out of my tip-tall nude heels I’d never worn before, toes aching from being cramped in a stiletto for eighteen hours, and sat on the couch with my nose buried into the cat’s fur. She squirmed out of my arms, stared at me for a minute, and then snuggled into the crook of my neck, barely moving as my tears from exhaustion, frustration, and aforementioned toe pain landed on her tiny forehead, drip, drip, drip. The clock said 1 a.m., but it felt more 4, like the weekends after a full night at the bar, where you’re so tired that the only thing left to do is hang out on the fire escape and watch the sun come up, cigarette smoke streaming like a wisp of a memory and a song. With a sigh that spoke of late nights since February and the general frustration of being an adult, I mustered just enough energy to pick myself up off the couch, brush my teeth, and leave a trail of clothes towards my bedroom, one shoe, dress, jacket, before climbing into bed and staring at the ceiling, waiting for sleep that would be rudely interrupted in less than five hours.

Someday. Someday is a word I tell myself a lot lately. “Someday, work won’t be this busy” and “Someday, I’ll be able to hold that yoga pose,” “Someday I’ll get back on a regular blogging schedule” and “Maybe I’ll find someone who can handle my crazy, someday.” Someday is one of those words that implicitly comes with hope and a promise; it’s like the big unknowable, be-all and end-all date where all the little frustrations resolve themselves, and everything finally feels like it fits. Someday can be every day and it can be a day that doesn’t exist at all, or it can be a series of maybe-days that come to fruition when you least expect. I try not to think in maybes, preferring instead the cool promise of a deadline I can see, but when deadlines are pushed, or they’re ignored, I’m just back to playing Russian Roulette with my sanity; one word and a follow-up email and the loaded chamber of stress and anxiety explodes. Someday is a promise that I’ve been making to myself for the past year or so, and yet Someday keeps running away from me, further, further, taunting me that I’ll get to it, some day.

This week I’ve been feeling like there’s something missing, or something that I miss, but I can’t put my finger on what it is. I’ll feel a sharp pang of nostalgia right across my stomach but it’s not directed at anything, as though I’m longing to find a time where things were different, but then again, I don’t know what in my life now I’d want to change. Maybe I miss the mornings where my body would sleep in an extra 20 minutes, but I love to start my day with a few stretches on the mat, breathing deeply and finding clarity in a few moments of uninterrupted peace. Maybe I miss the job where I was out by 6 every night, but I’ll take a few late nights in the office in exchange for like-minded people and projects I actually enjoy. Maybe I miss the days where I didn’t worry all the time about everything, did I pay that bill? how am I supposed to afford a flight this summer when I can barely afford my rent? will I even have time to plan T’s shower if I keep working like this? But then I look at my beautiful little apartment and this life I’ve built for myself in the city, and I know for a fact I wouldn’t change a damn thing. So maybe it’s not nostalgia that’s keeping me in the realm of the Someday, but if that’s not it, then there’s still something gnawing at me like a rabid animal, tearing into my subconscious with a sing-song promise that there are better days ahead, Someday.

Sometimes I think my life has figured itself out, a solved 1000-piece frame I can hang on the wall of Adulthood with pride, but sometimes it feels as kinked as my curls, falling in waves over my shoulders, down my back. I can fix a running toilet or a clogged sink, kill a bug with only minimal screeching and cook healthy food like a boss, but I can’t bring myself to tackle the pile of clothes that’s rapidly growing in the corner of my living room, just sheltered enough from view that I can pretend it doesn’t exist. I can lead a call with a client, and hold down the fort while my bosses are in meetings with important people, but I still can’t figure out how to eat lunch at my desk without spilling food all over myself. This weird period in my life, the past three months really, have been a series of these moments, where I’m a grown-up one minute and I need an adult the next. I don’t really know how to end this post; I haven’t learned any lessons and frankly I’m sure you’re all as sick of reading my “woe is me and my life” stories as I am of writing them. So maybe the only way to end is with a promise: things are going to get better, and everything will fall into place. I can’t tell you when, of course, but I promise it’ll happen Someday.

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.

Whereabouts

To say my work life is a lil’ crazy this week is like saying Putin has maybe overstepped his boundaries in the Ukraine in recent days. I have a few posts scheduled in the coming weeks, but in the chance things are silent here for a little while, never fear – the amount of wine I’m going to need to survive until Friday practically guarantees I’ll have some great stories for the next PLD Montage.

In the meantime, here are a few GIFs to accurately sum up how I’m feeling about my professional life choices these days:

By 11 a.m. today

By 11 a.m. today

To anyone else who thinks I'm complaining.

To anyone who thinks I’m just complaining.

How I'm planning to survive.

How I’m planning to survive.