Thursday, July 26, 2012

30 lbs

I don't really know quite when I started losing the weight.

Guess Your Weight

When I started West Coast Swing, in April 2011, I had one pair of jeans that fit. They were my favorite jeans, the ones I found for $30 that usually retail for $100 or more, fancy Parasucos unlike any jeans I have purchased before or since. So unique they required a special belt.

In June, at my "I've lost my job; let's run all the tests" physical, my physician remarked that I'd lost weight since my previous visit, which was probably in January since I go every 6 months to monitor my medication. Or I was going. I should go.

Sometime in the summer I started cinching the belt closer and closer to the actual ring that was supposed to be used to close it, holding up the Parasucos by sheer force of my affection for them. I dug out a pair of Luckys that had been in the back of my closet and hadn't fit on my thinnest days.

Lucky brand jeans button
By Adains [GFDL, CC-BY-SA-3.0 or CC-BY-2.5], via Wikimedia Commons

Around September I had to admit I'd lost weight and bought a new pair of jeans. Size 8.

Then it got cold, I got awesome boots, and I needed skinny jeans. I could actually wear skinny jeans. Size 6.

It got warmer, and the 8s were looking ridiculous. My size medium belts didn't have enough holes to hold them up. Size 4.

And then last week, the 4s were feeling baggy. I hoped they just needed a good washing, but then I actually weighed myself (I don't own a scale, but I was at J's house and she has one so I figured why not) and saw another 9 pounds were gone. I thought I'd stopped. I thought I was done.

Not for a moment do I recommend my weight loss plan, which was something like
  1. Lose job
  2. Sleep 12 hours a day
  3. As a result, only have time to eat 2 meals
  4. Not really care about food anyway
  5. Dance at least once a week
  6. Yoga twice a week
Actually, numbers 5 and 6 I do whole-heartedly recommend.

This is all coming to a point, I promise.

In preparation for my Great Floor Adventure, I am packing, packing, packing. There are many clothes in many sizes that include "Large" and "10." These clothes do not fit me, but I cannot bring myself to put them on my body and prove that they do not fit so that I can let go of them.

I can't let go of the body I used to have and the clothes that used to fit it.

I can't let go of the idea that I might fit into them again.

I've got a whole basement where I can store these clothes, these past skins that no longer serve me, but that's just carrying baggage around, isn't it?

I never know what's going to happen.

Holding on has to do with fear. Fear has to do with not being able to trust. Not being able to trust has to do, maybe, with the world not being solid. With the world changing all the time. With people changing. All the time. With myself, and my relationship to myself. Changing. All the time.

On some days that change is beautiful. It is what is exciting about being alive. It is looking around the corner, the first flowers of spring, hearing from a friend who has been silent, unexpected opportunities.

Somehow my body has gotten caught up in both fear of change, and expectation that there will be change. That the weight will come back as mysteriously and effortlessly as it left. That the annoyance of having to buy new, smaller clothes will be replaced by the annoyance of having to buy new, larger clothes, along with the realization that I had those larger clothes and gave them away.

My body doesn't let me down. It stays healthy. Its bones don't break. Its muscles, though sore after a weekend of yoga, continue to move it in amazing and new ways. It rarely gets sick; it has no chronic diseases. But it does like to change size and shape.

When the floors are done, when I've moved into my bedroom, when I unpack: that is when I need to start letting this part go.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Hell yeah you can do yoga!

Cool thing about getting to know someone: I am now an expert on something.

All of a sudden I'm an expert on yoga (which I'm not) but to him I am, because it's totally outside his experience. I'm sure he's an expert on something too. We all are.

So I'm trying to explain what yoga is.

When I teach I start with breathing and the physical practice. That's what they signed up for (maybe). I start explaining here, with posture and alignment, things that make sense because everyone has a body.

Because he does want to get to know me, and because anytime the question is "What did you do today?" the answer is going to include "yoga," we return to this again and again.

He says, "I don't think I would be good at yoga."

 Source: via Katherine on Pinterest

Can you breathe with awareness? Can you be here, now? Can you pay attention to what your body and your life are telling you? Hell yeah, you can do yoga. You've probably done it a hundred times already. You just thought you were dancing or playing or fixing something or falling in love.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012


In just about two weeks, I am getting my floors done. I am so stinking excited. And, so stinking not-ready. As with all things, there is never enough time. I've been scrounging boxes out of the back room at work (no one ever recycles anything, apparently, but at least they don't throw things away?) and lugging them home (they're quite big and it's been quite hot) and packing up clothes, books, and dishes.

I never really finished unpacking from moving in, so you can imagine how this totally feels like going backwards.

And yet it is going to change everything about my home.

No more fur-encrusted carpets.

No more coffee and cat stains.

No more ugly light green.

So easy to clean. So elegant. So much more me.

It also means I've got some crafting to do.

The problem with hardwood floors, of course, is that they are hard wood and easily dinged. And not very warm, but I will worry about that later. Still, I do want some floor prettiness to break up the brown.

Jess over at East Coast Creative made these great floor cloths.

I love the totally geeky silly pictures these fine ladies take of their, um, creative process.

Of course I need fabric. Jess found hers at Joann, but Joann is a huge time-suck for me; I find myself spending 2 hours there and not buying a single thing. Fortunately I can sort their fabric online by color. UNfortunately I'm not seeing a whole lot of patterns I like, so that means MOAR WEBBYSITES.

Oh wait, someone, probably Jess and Monica, told me about this:

And hey, tablecloths! Oddly, finished fabric is often less expensive than raw fabric. And then it can just be repurposed.

The T-shirt surgeon in me likes this, even though it's not at all classy.

Source: via Katherine on Pinterest

Painting rugs seems to be all the rage on Pinterest. (Once again it's Mon & Jess who made me aware of this trend...see, something did come out of working at The School That Shall Not Be Named!)

I'm not totally sure how non-DIY that will look, but I'm expecting that simpler is better. The Pinterest world seems to say that sisal absorbs paint really well; I think I'll try it for the porch rug first.

Hmmm ... time to contemplate, experiment, and see what happens. 

Monday, July 23, 2012

Why mantras

A little over two years ago I walked into my first Kundalini class with K, and things have never quite been the same.

My yoga practice was mostly just a physical practice at the time, something we friends did together, and went out to eat after. Sometimes it seemed like there was too much breathing. Savasana was the hardest pose. When there was a substitute I would be irritable, impatient. Why are they so slow? How long are we going to hold this pose? I wanted "my" teacher.

Then I was on spring break. I had my days free, and the studio was doing a lunchtime series. I had been curious about what this "Kundalini" was, so J and I went.

The first thing K had us do was get up and dance.

I love to dance, if that isn't obvious. I was taking Afro-Modern dance, and sometimes I went to the Yogarhythmics at the studio. We noodled about for a bit. We did some sun salutes. And then we did these kooky exercises that we had to do for set amounts of time.

And there were reasons we did them.

We chopped through the negative thoughts and experiences, we pushed away the debris, we surrounded ourselves with protection like giant butterfly wings.

And all the while she spoke words that I had no recollection of ever hearing. Words that, if I ever heard them, never stuck.
You are light; you are bright; you are beautiful. You are kind. You are strong. Wahe guru.*
It couldn't have been much more than a week later that the guy I was seeing wrote me an e-mail explaining that he just didn't have anything to give right then. I was far from home, administering standardized tests for the state, staying in a room with three other women I barely knew. I read this e-mail while the kids were testing. We came back to the B&B after testing, after lunch. I curled up on the couch, covered myself with a blanket, and repeated the mantra until I fell asleep.

When I woke up, it wasn't okay but it was better.

Three days later I was back at home. I called my realtor.** I found my house a few days after that.

For the next year and half, K was "my" teacher. I went to her class weekly, rarely missing unless I was ill. She became my close friend, my guide, tried to help me as much as she could when I lost my job. Through teacher training, I've been able to let go of the idea that I have one teacher or one practice. But I still make it to her class as often as I can, and I still find that insight comes to me through meditation and through mantra.

Today as we were chanting Ong Namo Guru Dev Namo*** I remembered.
I don't have to be anyone but myself.
I don't have to do anything that is not true to who I am.

It's hard, sometimes, to do that. It's hard sometimes to know who that true self is. And when I come up against something that's new, unfamiliar, uncomfortable, my instinct is to run from it, because it's not what I know. My instinct is to resist.

So now I'm getting to know someone new. Someone who is not like anyone I've ever dated before, except the very first person I dated. Someone who doesn't fit in with my idea of who I date, at least not as far as I know at this point. I don't know what to do. I feel it's important to negotiate this situation honorably, without creating tension for myself or him, because this person is part of the dance community, and I've only just gotten that to be a not-awkward place for me to be.

But there is a teacher inside me. There is a self that knows what to do. I will try to be still and listen.

* Wahe guru means a lot of things, depending on who you ask. Wonderful teacher. Hooray for existence. A greeting. A name of God. A guru, or teacher, takes a student from darkness into light.
** ...whose name was given to me by another guy who had separated himself from me for similar reasons three months before.
*** I call upon Divine Wisdom -- again, among other things. I listen to all the teachers in me and around me.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Do or do not

I'm exhausted today.

I had a list of about a billion things I wanted to get accomplished between this weekend and next but I'm modifying that list, because my body absolutely rebelled and forced me to take a nap so I would stop trying to do things.

Things coming up:

Floor refinishing
I do need to finish packing away 3 rooms and 2 hallways, but I do not need to rip up the carpet myself. I do need to call and establish that they are ripping up carpet and I am paying for that and times and key exchange and cat containment procedures. I do not need to relocate the cats. I do not need to have this done while I am away, and have that added stress of someone coming in to check on cats while floors are being done. I do not need to shop for rugs and DIY supplies.

Knitting projects
I do not need to finish any of these right away. Babies stay small for quite a while. I probably will finish them, though, because knitting involves sitting still, which I do need to do.

Teaching a yoga class on Thursday
I do need to put together a sequence, but I do not need to come up with the best yoga class ever. I have enough 20-minute sequences from training that I can pull something together.

Yoga retreat
I do need to ask someone to take care of the cats. I do need to prepare by doing some reading. I do not need to do all the reading I haven't gotten to yet. I do need to see about carpooling. I do not need to drive alone, which I find stressful and boring.

Guy on the horizon
I do need to be kind, communicative, and honest. I do not need to move everything around in my schedule to cram him in.

Job hunt
I do need to apply to another job. I do not need to do it today, because I am tired.

I do need to plant that rudbeckia. I do not need to do it today. I do not need to weed today.

Really the only things I need to do today are buy food and eat dinner.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

9 probable fallacies

  1. If he knew my secrets, he would find me too complex.
  2. If only one person is interested, that means I'm settling for the only thing I'm being offered.
  3. Similar education, politics, and religion are indicators of compatibility. (Extra bonus example of fallaciousness: Whether these things are similar or different is unknown.)
  4. Once something is started, it can't be stopped without bitterness apparent for all to see.
  5. Having a large group of strange-quaintances know about my personal life is bad.
  6. My friends will think he's not good enough.
  7. He won't be able to relate to my friends.
  8. He won't be able to relate to me.
  9. Letting someone care gives him the power to destroy me.
Here I am: jumping the gun.

3 reasons I'm sad today

  1. I've filled up my life with things and this doesn't seem to leave enough room for people.
  2. I don't want to give up any of the things (dance, yoga, house-fixin', yardwork).
  3. I know that I need to add another thing (job-applying) if I'm going to avoid a major fall after this job ends in August.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

The courage to shine

And then some days I walk out of therapy, and I think, What am I doing?

More to the point, why do I keep doing it?

It's true I don't know where I'm going next; I don't know about careers and I'm not at all sure I know how to turn a first date into something more.

I often feel like I don't fit people's notions of what I should be, or of what a woman should be.

But then I start to think, maybe I don't buck their notions enough.

Out of fear of being seen as too different, too opinionated, too strong, I hold back.

And what happens is that I end up, quite literally, sitting on the sidelines watching other people shine.


There are some beautiful dancers who come out on Tuesday nights. And what makes them beautiful is not what they're wearing or how they look or their figures, but the way that they are completely present. They dance LOUDLY, infusing every step with their personalities, their boldness, their sexiness. Some of this is the length of time they've been dancing and watching others and having learned how and when to pull away from the lead and not be led. Some of this is having the guts to do all these things, to ask for exactly what they want.

Since I started learning this dance, my confidence has grown, but it still has a way to go until I let myself be that kind of dancer.

who are you

So I observe myself, and take notes: with which partners do I burst forth, and with which do I hold back? How do my partners react when I add some little flourish? What gets me the biggest smile? What brings forth the moments when I shine?

Maybe after I figure it out on the floor, I'll start to figure it out off the floor as well.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

All the possibilities. All of them.

Is it a good thing that I'm trying to date again? Last week I spent a night in tears, refusing to do yoga, refusing to meditate, refusing to do anything at all to take myself away from the story I keep telling myself.
If we haven't formed the habit of staying in our center, when things get rough we will run in ever-widening circles away from or around our center. We may be more comfortable with our histrionics and with the drama ... than we are with the simple practice of staying centered.

I'm always so private about my dating. Because it doesn't work out. Because I'm ashamed it doesn't work out. Because talking about it might jinx it. Because by the time there is anything to say it's over. Because I shouldn't have to be dating at my age. Because I've still never had a long-term relationship. Because everyone remembers being single, but everyone also remembers being secure in a loving relationship. I don't know how that feels.

J says it is good that I am trying to date again, because failure is not an option.

The problem is that failure is an option.

It has been an option all this time.

In such a state of contraction, it is just as impossible to let go as it is to open up to the potential freshness of the next moment.

It is an option I cannot control.

When I say "I am open to all possibilities" that includes the possibility that has become my current reality: the possibility that I will be alone. All the possibilities means all the possibilities.

I found a way to buy a house.

I found a way to keep earning money.

I have not found a way to do this, in twenty years of trying. I know nothing more than I did then. This is probably not true. I know a lot of things that don't work. I know there is not a formula, and that works with one person doesn't work with another.

I have been told that there must be something very wrong with me, if I have not been in a long-term relationship at this point in my life.

Unfortunately, the thing that feels most concrete is often our deep place of holding and our scars.
More than once.
... the monsters aren't stuck to us, we are stuck to the monsters. We become stuck to them by thinking and believing that they are who we are.

I know that the sort of men I am attracted to are
not finished with something that is finished with them
concerned with material things
bad at listening

They have some good qualities too, but they are not good for me, because they choose not to be.

Not only is the same thing happening, we choose the same reaction to our problem.

Every time I open this book, she says what I need to hear.

Any attempt to keep the heart open when we most wish to close down is a movement in the right direction.

Friday, July 6, 2012

The waiting room

Please don't ever be late to meet me. I try not to be early, but exactly on time.

I hate waiting not because it takes up my time, but because I am afraid you will forget me.

I do not believe the bussubwaytrain will ever come.

Please call me back. I am afraid you have forgotten. I am concerned that I will not get to have the thing done that I need done because I am not important to you.

I hate getting my car serviced. They take all day to call back and tell you that they are going to have to replace the whatchamagajjit and then they're not sure they're going to have it ready by the end of the day.

Texting feels urgent, but it could take hours to have a conversation.

Sorry I forgot to send back the contract. I procrastinate.

I'm waiting for my real life to begin. 
(Colin Hay)

Tick Tock

Sunday, July 1, 2012

In which, for the first time, I openly blog about the horrors of dating

When I started this blog, the tag line was slightly different. I described it as "The adventures of a single girl and her house." Recently, with no fanfare, I took out the "single." Not because I wasn't single. But because I felt like I needed to stop claiming that as part of my identity. I don't want to be single, so I shouldn't use it as a descriptor.

This has not made me less single.

Truth be told I wasn't even trying to date. After another one of my Divorced-Guy-Not-Ready-and-Not-Right-for-Me-Anyway mishaps (sometime I'll tell you about the other two, and why I bought a house, which are the same thing), after losing my job, my Jerk Detector was broken and I needed to get a few things straightened out.

I wish everyone did that.

I'm trying to get back out there, but I have no idea how except the same old strategies that have led to meeting Divorced Guys who are Not Ready and Can't Communicate to Save Their Lives. No one has any useful suggestions for me, so I just keep going on first dates.

The good news is the last couple first dates have not been horrible. Last summer I was going on dates with rude, arrogant people who told me how they told off their boss or who didn't even wait for me before leaving a room in an art exhibit. These have been better. Conversation and laughter have flowed. What there is not is second dates.

Source: via Katherine on Pinterest

Unfortunately, there are lies. I am wondering when I'm going to meet someone who doesn't lie. These lies are probably well-intentioned, because no one wants to feel like someone did not enjoy meeting them. But there is a difference between "Thank you for meeting me" and "Let's do this again." There is a difference between a handshake and a hug. To me, saying "Let's do this again" and then dropping off the face of the Earth is a lie. This is pretty much the standard farewell phrase now, and I'm not sure what the phrase is that actually indicates a person really does want to do this again. Similarly, a hug says "Meeting you was important and I feel positively about engaging in physical contact with you." That's what I mean about can't communicate to save their lives. If you want to communicate "Thanks but no thanks," don't hug me. Don't talk about meeting up again. Just say farewell.

But then I go to yoga. And K says, this too shall pass. Nothing lasts forever. Not even holding one arm in the air for three minutes. And the other side. And now both arms out to the sides, opening your heart, vulnerable and strong. This is the hardest pose for me

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