- Why are you so cute?
- Those dimples. Don’t smile at me because I’ll blush.
- I forgot to wear mascara today.
- It doesn’t really matter that I forgot because I have on my glasses. You can’t see my eyes. Would it be very obvious if I were to take off the glasses and bat my eyelashes at you? They’re pretty long even without mascara. My eyes are among my better features. Yes. I’ll take the glasses off.
- Great, now you think I have something in my eyes. Yes, I do. My eyes are clouded by visions of that smile.
- Note to self: suck in your gut.
- Are you flirting with me? I can’t tell.
- Am I flirting with you? I don’t think so. I’m just talking to you. Because, you know, I don’t date men like you. I just think you’re so. freaking. cute.
- You just sold me two boxes of your daughter’s Girl Scout cookies. You are NOT flirting with me. You just want my money.
- But then I complained that I didn’t need two boxes, what I need is to go to the gym and you looked directly at my hips and said, “I don’t see what for.” That’s kinda flirty, right?
- I think I forgot how to flirt. This is a sad state of affairs. I once went to a flirting workshop with Johara and I already knew every tip that came out of the speaker’s mouth. What happened?
- Okay, let me think. I’ll mirror you. You smile and show your dimples, I’ll smile and show my…dimple.
- How did I end up with only one dimple? It’s so weird. I’m so asymmetrical. This is why I’m not exactly pretty. Attractive, yes, but pretty, no. Don’t look at my left cheek, there’s nothing there but acne scars.
- That reminds me. I need a peel. Must call dermatologist ASAP.
- You play with your pen, then turn to face me. Your belly button is pointed directly toward mine.
- That’s a good sign. That’s a good sign!
- I love the way that sweater drapes over your biceps. You’ve lost some weight and you look amazing.
- I also love that you always joke about how smart I am. It makes it seem like you are somehow in awe of me.
- I really want to touch you right now. Your hand is so close to me. I could laugh, hard, and my hand could land on yours, lightly. But that would be too much, I think.
- An interruption. We’ll continue this another day. Yes. Smile at me again. Thank you.
“I knew I was in trouble when I began dreaming of roses.
I’d see myself walking down Merrick Boulevard, past the Korean beauty supply, and the ninety-nine cent store, the used bookstore, and the Chinese takeout joint, my arms full of sunset-colored roses. I smiled as people stared at the mound of vivid flowers I carried. A little boy with curly burnished brown hair scampered to me and threw his chubby arms around my knees. I leaned over to kiss his forehead, and the pile of roses tumbled from my arms. I saw all the roses fall, one by one, in a cascade of peach and pink and sweet yellow. The boy helped me gather them again, and as he handed me the last one, I would awake, troubled and restless and unable to go back to sleep.”
Every once in a while, I find bits and scraps of old stories in my notebooks and journals, stashed away carelessly. I wrote the excerpt above on February 26, 2004 for my undergraduate creative writing workshop. It was part of an assignment to write a story that began with the prompt: “I knew I was in trouble when….”
I wrote a dozen pages about this girl, Grace, who has just graduated from college, and realizes that her high school boyfriend, with whom she had a powerful connection, is still in love with her. Before she sees him for the first time, she gets all these signs from the Universe that she tries to dismiss– beginning with her dreams of roses. There’s some eye-twitching, his look-alike appears at her job, then his father calls to ask if she’s heard from him, when she hasn’t spoken to his parents or him in years. It’s cute and silly and sad and I had a lot of fun writing it. Writing used to be what I did when I just wanted to have some fun.
For a while, writing became labor for me. Getting just two pages was like carrying a 20-lb bag of charcoal two miles in dense July humidity. (I have actually done this, and I thought I was going to die. Or at least, I felt like my arms would be useless for a few weeks.) I deleted more drafts and crumpled up more awkward paragraphs than I care to admit.
The words have been coming a bit more easily lately. I am not sure why this is, but I am grateful. I started another section of the book I’ve been working on for years. I like it. It’s different from what I’d written before, probably because I am different. I have more faith in myself as a writer. Because of this, writing is starting to become fun again!
I wish I had the vast blocks of free time that I had in college, when I could sit uninterrupted for twelve hours and do nothing at all except write. I would churn out a short story every week. Now I’m happy if I can write three pages during my lunch break at work. These pages are small victories.
This book will be written through small victories. Word by word.
Almost two years ago, I traveled to Italy with my college buddy, Michelle. We had an amazing time and promised to do it again.
Part of the reason why I’m so ready to complete my yoga teacher training is that, just a few days after my practicum, we’ll be heading to Spain, with two nights in Portugal!
To keep things simple, we decided to stick with a tour. We start out in Madrid, then travel to Coimbra, Portugal. We stop at Fatima– where the Virgin Mary appeared to three shepherd children in 1917. My super-Catholic mother is really excited about that part. From Fatima, we move on to Lisbon, then on to Seville, and we end up back in Madrid for the last two nights of the tour. I was disappointed that we wouldn’t get to see Barcelona, but that just means I have an excuse to go back to Spain.
This trip has been in the works for several months, so it’s no surprise that I am truly looking forward to it. While I get busy studying for my final and the practicum, I’ll be dreaming of strolling along the Plaza de Espana in Seville (pictured above), ir a tapear en Madrid, and eating buttered cod in Lisboa.
I need to start brushing up on my Spanish.
Note: this is pretty long and includes a rant. My apologies. It’s close to the end of my training and I’m getting slightly anxious. Feel free to skim!
- Since my last similarly-titled post, I have finished all 20 classes with Laurie. I’ve also completed 13 observations, so I only have two left. And I’ve taken two classes with Jennie, so I have 6 classes left to take with her or other Prana Shakti Flow teachers. I’ve finished all but two short essays for the homework. Our last practice teaching session was a smashing success. I definitely know the cues for Surya A and B by heart. Laurie said I commanded the room. It was awesome. So I’m getting closer to fulfilling all of the requirements. We can get an extension after the practicum on March 17th, but I don’t want one. I want to be done with everything by then so all I have to do is wait for my registration from the Yoga Alliance to come in the mail.
- On Sunday we had the Advanced Asana Lab. It was hard. Fun, but hard. I did Eka Pada Koundinyasana II for the first time. I also did forearm stand for the first time, though it was only at the wall. I managed to lift myself off the ground in Bhujapidasana, but I couldn’t quite get my ankles crossed. Arm balances and inversions teach me a lot about myself: I’m an undercover perfectionist, and I’m easily frustrated when things don’t work out the way I want them to, even on my first try. I have to wonder though…would these “flight” poses be easier if I weren’t quite so heavy? Literally and figuratively. Literally, because I weighed myself last week and discovered that I am back up to 144 lbs. And figuratively, because I haven’t been to therapy since August. I’m trying to find a new therapist and I haven’t had much success. I feel like this could be another post, so I’ll stop here.
- I need your opinion. In case you haven’t noticed, I am very serious about completing all of my requirements by the end of the program. A large part of my focus comes from the fact that I just like to do well in school, so I am treating yoga teacher training as if I am back in school. Some of my fellow trainees have not been as diligent as I have. I am not bragging; this is just the truth. So, two weeks ago, one woman said that she was going to both observe and take Laurie’s Saturday class. Another trainee overheard her and told her that wouldn’t work; she explained that you have to fill out a form for the observation and it’s impossible to do so while simultaneously practicing. The woman shows up this past weekend saying that she meant to come early to take Jennie’s class so she could observe Laurie’s class (which is what I had done). She sees me sitting there with my notes and asks if I’m going to observe the class. I tell her yes. She says, “Oh okay, good.” Then after class, she asks me if she can see my notes. I again tell her yes, mostly because I am irritated and, although I’m 30, I have not yet learned how to mask my irritation. I have no poker face and I cannot be tactful when I’m angry. If I’d said no and explained exactly WHY I was saying no, I would not have said it very nicely. Or at least, maybe the words coming out of my mouth would have looked nice on paper, but my tone would have said very clearly, “NAWL! DO YOUR OWN WORK!” The whole scenario really just annoyed the living daylights out of me. For the last month, I’ve been at Bonda Yoga no less than four times a week– I observe class on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays. On Saturdays I practice first, then observe, then sit through 7+ hours of lectures/asana labs. I’m doing what the hell I’m supposed to do. So why can’t you??? Her excuse is that she has to work. Guess what! We all have full-time jobs. I go straight to Bonda from work. I sit in the studio, still wearing my work clothes, and take notes on those classes. Then I come home and type them up. It’s really not that difficult; inconvenient, maybe, but difficult? No. She complained that she always wants to take the class she’s observing. Well, guess what! SO DO I! It hasn’t been easy to sit there and just watch when Laurie’s teaching side crane and handstand and eka pada galavasana and a bunch of other cool poses. If I had it my way, I would’ve taken every single class that I observed. But we are required to do the observations, so I’ve done them. I don’t like the idea that this woman is basically mooching off of me, pretending that she’s observed the class when she really hasn’t. So the next time she asks for my notes, I’m going to tell her no. But how do I explain? Because I know myself and I know that whatever comes out of my mouth will probably be along the lines of, “NO, YOU CAN’T HAVE MY NOTES! IF YOU WANT NOTES FOR AN OBSERVATION, SIT YOUR ASS DOWN AND OBSERVE A CLASS LIKE YOU’RE SUPPOSED TO, TRICK!” And that would not be very yogic of me. Le sigh.
- Laurie had us do a yin-yang meditation. She asked me how it went and I told her– I’d envisioned the yang traveling up the back of my spine in purple, and the yin traveling down the front of my spine in orange. Where they met– at the tip of my tongue, and at the base of my spine, they were yellow. I told her that I’d felt a heaviness settle over my forehead. She interpreted this in relation to the chakras. Purple (my favorite color) reflects the seventh, crown chakra, Sahasrara; she said that I find comfort in knowledge, spiritual development, enlightenment. I am acutely aware of a higher consciousness. Orange represents the second chakra, Svadhisthana, which is located between the navel and the genitals, and is the center of sexuality, emotions, pleasure, and movement. Yellow represents the third chakra, Manipura, which is located at the solar plexus; it relates to personal power, will, and assertiveness. Laurie said that I don’t trust myself, my creativity, or my sexuality. The pressure I felt in my forehead was in my sixth chakra, Ajna, located at the third eye center; I don’t trust my intuition, either. This all makes a lot of sense to me. I have so much work to do. (For further reading on the chakras, I highly recommend Chakra Therapy, by Keith Sherwood and Wheels of Life, by Anodea Judith, Ph.D.)
I hate to say it, but I’m almost ready for this to be over.