Note: I did not realize that I hadn’t posted this entry from 2014! It expands upon some of the things I spoke about on my post from 9/2/16.
“All addicts, regardless of the substance or their social status share a consistent and obvious symptom; they’re not quite present when you talk to them. They communicate to you through a barely discernible but unignorable veil. Whether a homeless smack head troubling you for 50p for a cup of tea or a coked-up, pinstriped exec foaming off about his speedboat, there is a toxic aura that prevents connection. They have about them the air of elsewhere, that they’re looking through you to somewhere else they’d rather be. And of course they are. The priority of any addict is to anaesthetise the pain of living to ease the passage of the day with some purchased relief.”–Russell Brand
I have not written in quite a long time on this blog. I took a hiatus and was *sort of* working on a few other blogs, but mostly? Honestly? I have been intensely wrestling with a lot of heavy shit and not practicing yoga. Although I speak a lot about recovery on this blog, I am not always super clear and honest about how much I have struggled with bulimia and intense depression since I got sober in 2007. I don’t even think I could admit to myself how much I had been struggling, and things had gotten especially tough with the bulimia since I moved to Austin in 2012. I finally broke down and admitted that things had gotten really bad and that I needed professional help outside of 12 step recovery. This was so hard for me. I was in total denial about both the bulimia and the depression. I kept trying to work my 12 step prgrams “harder”. And I kept getting worse. So yes, I am outing myself right now: I am in treatment for both an eating disorder and major depressive disorder and I am getting the help I need. If this blog post can help anyone out there to seek help, I figure it is worth it.
I am also outing myself again: I am still vegan. Veganism is not a part of my eating disorder. I am not longing for animal products and forcing myself to not eat them. I am not secretly bingeing on animal products and then purging (my dietitian asked me about that point blank the other day). During one of my first meetings with my therapist, she expressed her concern about my veganism. I explained to her that I do not feel my eating disorder and veganism are at all connected. Veganism is not a way to restrict or control my food. Veganism is about living in a way that reduces harm to animals and people. She listened to me and then asked me something that I think I will never forget: What about harm to you? That stopped me dead in my tracks. And I suddenly had an image of geese being forcibly fattened for fois gras. I am basically stuffing myself forcibly and then forcing myself to purge. How is bulimia consistent with my ahimsa, my living without harm? It’s not. This was both a horrible and an awesome moment for me, because that was the moment where I realized that I really do not want to do this to myself anymore. I felt simultaneous hope and despair—hope that I can get better, and despair about letting go of the eating disorder that has been with me since I was a teenager. I have no idea what recovery looks like. I didn’t know what being sober would look like when I stopped drinking, either. I had to take it on faith from my sponsor and other sober people that I could get and stay sober and that I would have a much better life. And what that life would look like would remain a mystery for awhile. I think my life without Cruella (that’s what I call my eating disorder these days) is a very mysterious proposition, but I just keep telling myself it’s going to be OK.
I am excavating all of the saved drafts I have lingering. I have been writing, but not posting and not finishing a lot of what I write. So here’s one from August that I started after my first Mysore class at Yoga Yoga here in Austin:
Yes, it only took my seven months of waffling, but I finally attended the magical, mysterioso Mysore class. And it was fucking scary. I think the anxiety about what to expect was more scary than anything else—having no idea what the teacher would do or what would even be going on. I sat in my car for quite some time, sweating. Afraid to go in, but afraid to go home.
I loved the teacher—she was gentle and helpful. I felt (as per usual) like a graceless elephant surrounded by very twisty gazelles. The lack of noise in the room was simultaneously peaceful and terrifying. I found myself losing focus far more than I do during home practice. There’s also something odd about the teacher having to whisper instructions to you while everyone else around you is practicing. I am not sure that I like it!
One of the other brutal realities of my life here in Austin is the fact that my allergies are out. of. control. At certain times of the year, I should NOT be in a room with other people early in the morning because it is, quite frankly, a Kaphic phlegm fest. Ugh. Yet again, I am having to renegotiate what practice means and how it will look for me. The perfectionist in me does not like the idea of deviating from “traditional” early morning Mysore or self-practice. However, that rigidity is translating to NO practice. And that is not cool. Jury is still out on Mysore…
I am still here in the land of wildflowers and way too much good vegan food and *distractions*. Home Ashtanga practice totally derailed. Having lots of struggles in many areas of my life, and some progress in others. Life on life’s terms? Sometimes I just forget all about that sh*t. I was doing some reading this morning during my AM quiet/meditation time that had nothing to do with yoga. It was a twelve step recovery book, and I came across this sentence: “the yoga principle of non-attachment to the fruits of labors”. What? How could I have just thrown that proverbial baby out with my bath water?
I was in Half Priced books the day before yesterday and I looked up at the Hindu section and there it was, shining like a beacon: a half-priced, used copy of Guruji! Let me tell you, that is not an easy find.
Thanks for the nudge, Universe.
Oh buddy—jackpot. Just watching this made me hurt, but sort of in a good way. While my room is warming up, I decided to check youtube for any new Kino videos to inspire me to ACTUALLY FUCKING PRACTICE in my bedroom. I have been sulking and missing my yoga room in Las Vegas. Well, welcome to reality, Sunshine. There’s no yoga room anymore! Do I want to give up my Ashtanga practice simply because I am having bratitude (Bratty Attitude) about my smaller, pared down new life? I keep mentally whining that my room’s too small, it’s too cold, I can’t breathe, I’m too tired, blah blah blah. I haven’t even tried yet.
The take home message? I have been kind of a wreck without practice. I keep waiting for the Mysore sessions to resume at the studio close to my house and they seem to have entirely disappeared. And I’m broke anyway, so it’s not like I could immediately buy a pass. I keep reading all of the Ashtanga blogs I follow with sighs of longing…just do it already!
I decided to try “hot yoga” again after almost a decade of not doing it. I went to Black Swan (a donation-based yoga studio) in Austin. I loved the whole look and feel of the studio and enjoyed the class quite a bit. I was really scared to take a hot class since I haven’t done Bikram in probably close to a decade. Interestingly, it felt a like a restorative class to me! I barely broke a sweat. I kept waiting for the endless vinyasas and there were none. Man, Ashtanga really kicks your ass. I can’t wait until I can go to some classes here in town. The schedules are still a little wonky due to the holiday. I will be glad when things get back to normal. I will definitely go to Black Swan again…very relaxing and great music.
NOTE: It’s the end of 2012 and I just realized that I left this in drafts and never published it! Man, the move to Austin really scrambled my brains.
Something cool happened in November, month 8 of my burgeoning Ashtanga practice. I suddenly was able to hold myself up and hover over my mat in chaturanga. I have no idea how this happened. It was like my body suddenly realized that I could do it and it just did with no conscious thought involved. Hmmm…I hope this happens with jump backs and jump throughs! I am now doing what I think is a half primary—up through Navasana, although many postures are pretty adjusted and prop-involved. Whenever I find myself “guarding” or stiffening up and feeling fear in certain postures (hello, Trianga) I try to just go blank and relax. Lately, the phrase “hot taffy” keeps popping into my head in certain asanas. And then I start laughing, because it makes me think of John Waters and the character Taffy from the movie Female Trouble. So wrong. I love how certain words and phrases have become part of my practice. It’s all a very interesting process.
courtesy of texasescapes.com
I have been in Texas now for two weeks and it has been difficult, thrilling, sad, beautiful, nostalgic and awesome. The trip itself was very interesting, especially the part where I drove through West Texas. I’ve never been in that part of the state and at first I found the wide open spaces to be beautiful and peaceful. After about five hours of this, I started to feel this intense and bone-deep sense of fear and panic. There. Was. Nothing. Nothing but me, my very old truck with all of my earthly possessions, scrubby creosote-esque shrubs, blue sky and rocks. All I could think about was either serial killers or breaking down and someone eventually finding my bleached bones by the side of I-10. I was startled by how intense the fear and anxiety felt; my entire body was tense and actually broke out in a cold sweat for most of the drive, which ended up taking two days. I had to stop in Fort Stockton and sleep. My cell phone also apparently hated West Texas, as it freaked out and decided to erase all of my contacts and reload itself somewhere between El Paso and Fort Stockton. I ended up having to replace my phone completely as it never seemed to recover from West Texas. Of course, this means that I will absolutely have to take a road trip to West Texas in the near future just to explore this entire phenomenon.
My life in Austin is also thus far totally free of Ashtanga. Not happy about that last part. My new living arrangement does not have my luscious yoga room, and while the house is adorable and in South Austin and my new roommate is phenomenal…I barely have room to put down my yoga mat and I find myself in a big old sulk about it. Sulking and writing run-on sentences liberally peppered with ellipses…arrrgh! There are several Mysore programs available in Austin, but all of the studio schedules have been erratic due to the holidays. I also got sick right after I moved here and no breathing = no Ashtanga. After NYE, I will go investigate a studio that has an afternoon Mysore program that happens to be right by my house. I am very resistant to the afternoon practice thing after nine months of early AM practice, but my new schedule at work is much earlier than my old one. No contempt prior to investigation! The important thing is to just fucking practice already.