Friday, September 14, 2012

Burning off Karma

So this week I went back to yoga. It had been awhile. I am ashamed to admit that awhile means like a month and I dreaded going back because I knew it was going to be like starting from scratch again and my scratch is about a hair above where my 80 year old grandmother who just had knee surgery would be if she decided to do yoga. I am weak.

Fucking yoga, man. Can I just tell you. I hate all the skinny bitches in there who go every day and don't sweat and wear their massive diamond rings and full faces of makeup. None of them sweat or shake or strain and then I think they go home to their hot, rich husbands and they all sit around and eat leaves and have a squirt of lemon juice for dessert and then probably decide what cool thing to shop for next. Inevitably one of these women has a blog. I will not link to it, but I will tell you that we call her Lipo Girl and that her blog discusses a totally wacko child rearing philosophy in which she believes that holding your baby amounts to a bad habit. She was also in the paper for spending almost a million dollars to decorate her house.

Going to yoga makes me feel weirdly bad and good about myself at the same time. You see, I am a rabid perfectionist and this has never done me a single bit of good, yet I can't seem to shake it. Sometimes it goes into remission, but it always comes back. I have never been the worst person in a class. In college I was fiercely proud and had to get As on everything and win awards and while I was certainly not the best writer in any of my grad school classes, I could confidently proclaim myself not the worst and on really good days I could count myself as not the best, but among the best, at some things. And I could live with this.

Yoga? I'm fucking remedial. If yoga had a resource room for special ed students I would be in it. I am weak, uncoordinated, ungraceful, spazzed out and I think maybe I can't tell right from left. Yesterday the teacher had to correct me when I was putting my hands over my head and then she giggled. Which then made me giggle, because do you understand? I can't even put my hands over my head. It's that bad.
Yet I press on anyway because now I have something to prove and because I can't live with the shame of being the worst in the class.

Maybe yoga is teaching me humility. Maybe yoga is saying that for once, Victoria, you should actually try working hard on something you're naturally disinclined to do and maybe you should just sit with not being the best at something and be ok with that. Maybe you should stop comparing yourself to the skinny bitches and love your muffin top. Or not. I don't know. Partly I'm going to get rid of that muffin top.

Remember Psycho Heater Woman? The really, really skinny woman who looks like she's made out of twist ties who drags her mat close to the space heater and blasts herself? Well I hadn't seen her in a month and yesterday here she comes through the door carrying her OWN SPACE HEATER. It was a big one too and she was dragging that thing right through the door and I'm like WTF Psycho Heater Woman? What is this about? It's already a hundred degrees. It is hot enough. Stop the madness. Please for me, because I'm hot and complainy already.

PHW lugs this big old space heater over to her mat and fires it up and I notice that she is using her own heater not instead of but in addition to, the space heater of the studio that is already there. So she has two big heaters going now. One is in front of her mat at the head and the other is on the right side of it and I am like, we are totally screwed and I start thinking about all those people that died in that sweat lodge and how I am probably going to be on the news as the first person to die in yoga.

Here is where I make the mistake of mouthing to my sister as she's coming in that "Oh My God, did you see Psycho Heater Woman?? She is now bringing an extra heater. What the hell?" And then I see that in fact PHW is right behind me because I can never talk shit without getting busted. Rule of the Universe right there.

Then I start noticing a bunch of people migrating away from her end of the room and all the way down to the other end of the room and I feel at least a little validated that I'm not the only one who finds this insane.

So I struggle through class as best as I can and at one point I got my foot in the crook of my elbow and I was all "YES!! I AM STRONG!" but then the teacher came over and moved me, by which I mean yanked my leg out from under me and dislocated my right leg, actually pretty much sent my right leg flying across the room. It was near tragic. It hurt. Turns out the only reason that foot got into that elbow was because my hips weren't squared. With my hips squared I just can't even move at all. There were women literally twice my age in that class who were, at that moment, upside down, but I couldn't even sit up straight.

I began to feel very sorry for myself, which is not yogic at all. Yogis don't feel sorry for themselves.

Then it was the end of class. The best part. The part where you lie there with your eyes closed and the teacher had the audacity to play Cold Play's "Fix You."

Now let me take a brief detour. The other day in class when we were setting intentions and whatnot, I set my intention, which was to stop fighting. You know, just everything. To stop fighting everything because that's very symbolic of my life. I am a fighter and I don't stop fighting and up until now I thought that was a good thing, that I was determined and persevered and that I was tough and that the more I fought the less I'd be hurt. But the exact opposite is true. The more I fight, the more hurt I get and the more hurt I cause and then the more hurt I get and it's a vicious cycle. It's some impure motherfucking karma. And I'm working on it but that kind of karma has to be burned off through hard work and even sometimes physical pain. So the other day, not yesterday, I had a sort of vision of myself on fire and holding fires in my hands and I have been trying to make sense of it all week. I read in a book about burning away karma. Then yesterday's teacher mentioned it, so I think maybe I need to listen. I need to burn this shit up. The Universe is trying to send me a very obvious message. And yes, can I just acknowledge that I know I sound like some kind of New Age lunatic. I own my New Age lunacy. You know, anything that helps me convince myself I'm not exercising.

So anyway there I am having this spiritual breakthrough and "Fix You" comes on. I decided to interpret this as another "sign" and well, look, I've been going through a really hard time in my life lately and trying to fix someone and really just wishing someone would come and fix me and this song is very meaningful and emotional to me, so I was on the verge of having a total breakdown in class. I was about to be The Person Who Cries in Yoga and I very much don't want to be that person, but there I was on my back with my chest heaving and trying really hard not to cry and I was thinking that I could probably do a forearm stand more easily than I could keep from weeping.

Something skittered across my forehead and I nearly had a heart attack. Someone was touching me. I thought maybe it was the teacher, that she had noticed me trying not to cry or maybe I was not properly aligned in corpse pose, because if anyone can manage to not even be able to lie down properly that would be me. Maybe one of the people on either side of me was touching me, but my forehead? I snapped my eyes open in time to see an electrical cord trailing away from the side of my head. A cord? What the hell? And what was the cord attached to? A heater. The cord was attached to a very large space heater and the very large space heater was being carted off by none other than Psycho Heater Woman, who was leaving class a few minutes early.

Did she do it on purpose because she heard me making fun of her? Or did she just not notice the silly, dangling cord? Was it an accident? Of course not. There are no accidents. The Universe was sending me a message. As if the vision, the book and the teacher mentioning it weren't enough, the Universe wanted me to get knocked in the head by an actual heater. Burn your bullshit up, It was telling me, and let it go, like those beautiful paper lanterns whose fire lifts them up to the sky so they can vaporize. 

But there was another message. It was funny. Getting hit in the head with the space heater cord was freaking hilarious and it stopped me from wanting to cry instantly and made me want to laugh. Of course, I would get whacked in the head with the heater cord! I smiled. I was a smiling corpse. And this was the message: You will get through this. You are going to be ok.Your humor will get you through this and one day, you will look back on these days and laugh.

One day, when the things you most want are all the things you have.


Anonymous said...

You totally should've grabbed the cord and yanked.

Anonymous said...

Should've given cord a good yank as she walked by.

Living in Muddy Waters said...

Bells and whistles bordering on alarm. Be strong.

Anonymous said...

I am rolling on my couch laughing. Especially the part about Coldplay and Psycho Space Heater Woman. Welcome to South Florida. Someone so WOULD bring a space heater to class. Also, Fix You seems so perfect because at that point in the class your joints feel all sore and broken and that song is so totally perfect. And I admit it. I cried at the end of my first yoga class because I had a new age realization.

Anonymous said...

You have the best yoga classes ever. I go about 3 times a week and don't have any stories to tell like yours but can totally see those things happening. Thank you for sharing. You made me laugh at loud. Count yourself as a really good writer!

Melanie said...

Living in Muddy Waters:

Are you saying that for Wide Lawns to quit fighting is a bad idea?

Or am I misinterpreting your comment?

Dawn said...

Boy, do I relate to so much of this post. You've at least inspired me to try yoga again for the wealth of writing material it provides.

It sounds like you are working through some stuff, and I wish you wisdom and strength as you figure it all out.

Living in Muddy Waters said...


There is history behind my comment that only WL knows. I, of all people, understand the need to stop fighting. But that doesn't mean she should stop being herself either.


Melanie said...

Living in Muddy Waters:

I agree with you 100% on both statements. Yes, it's good to know when to stop fighting.

And yes, Wide Lawns should absolutely be true to herself.

A mistake I made in my forties was to not only quit fighting other people, but also to quit fighting to reach any goals in life. (I was going through a major depression at the time.)

Anyway, now that I'm 50, I've wised up and realized that quitting ALL fighting, and just letting yourself get swept downstream, is a kind of death. So I'm now trying to find my way back to a place where I fight for the right things, such as leaving the world a better place than I found it. But of course I'm not going to go back to the harmful fighting, like trying to make other people into my image of how I think they should be.

Going through that dark decade was painful, but I think I learned a lot. (I hope I did, anyway! Otherwise it wasn't worth it!)

JoeinVegas said...

Are you going to stop fighting the heater woman and embrace her? Maybe nature is saying that you should get close and sweat more. Or not.

mcgrimus said...

Loved the story. I don't believe in accidents either. Maybe your vision was trying to tell you that holding on to your criticisms of others will only burn you. Maybe the cord smacking you on the forehead was pointing to that too, but in a way that made you laugh at yourself and not indulge in self-pity.

Anonymous said...

Let me tell you, I am so happy that you've started swearing again.

Melanie said...

I thought of this post tonight (Oct. 15) while watching ABC's "Dancing With the Stars." When it was time for the very last dance of the evening, Kelly and Val danced a deeply emotional contemporary dance to "Fix You." I hope you got to see it because I know you would have enjoyed it as much as I did.

Karen said...

OMG OMG I know this is old I do not care!! I loved it! I read tons and tons and tons of blogs because I am a stalker and I can never sleep so I read. I LOVED THIS POST! It was awesomely me so many times! you go ahead with yo bad yoga self!!!

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