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The New Normal

August 23, 2009 2 comments

My college best friend told me on the phone I sound like me again. Yesterday my roommate said I seemed much happier lately. And I have caught myself frequently singing in the car (to happy songs!)

I woke up three weeks ago hungover and sad. I had hit the latest “bottom.” As cheesy as it sounds, I sat in bed and gave myself two options–wallow in self-pity or push off the bottom and start making my way back to the surface. I didn’t know how much further down the “down” could go, but I didn’t want to find out.

I went on yelp.com and found out where to take beginner yoga classes in Silver Spring. I joined an online dating service. I started this blog. I began eating healthier. I found joy in being with my girlfriends. And I started going out on Friday nights with co-workers or Bocce teammates who introduced me to their friends.

This morning when I was reading Modern Love, my favorite column in the Sunday New York Times, the exact expression I had been looking for to describe my rise was written in a single line, “This was the new normal.”

The column’s writer was dealing with a break-up and a bout of breast cancer. In my case, I have been dealing with my parents rocky divorce and my own break-up. And though our pain was different, Judy Smith of Seattle and I had come to the same conclusion. We needed to accept our “new normal.”

My parents are leading separate lives. For the first 26 years of my life my mom and dad were together. They aren’t anymore. When I call my mom at the house, I can’t reach my dad. And some years, at Christmas, I’m going to have to pick. But I still have both my parents, and my little brother, and they still love me and want to spend time with me.  The time spent together has just taken on a new form.

I am single. I don’t have a last call of the day or someone to wake up next to. My best friend is out walking the world on his own, and I don’t get to know what he’s doing or if he’s okay. He’s not my best friend anymore. But I get to spend time with old friends and make new ones. And I get to write this blog, which means I get to write, something I didn’t even know I missed.

I will get to have butterflies again some day. And experience the wonder of falling in love.

My “new normal,” compared to so many others’ “normal,” is fairly fantastic. Buried beneath the sadness and pain of the last year, I found “me” again. It’s nice to be back on the surface. It’s easier to “be” up here.

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Crash and Breathe

August 16, 2009 6 comments

I fell on my head in yoga class on Friday.

I was attempting my first yoga handstand. I was asked to face a wall on hands and knees. I kicked one leg up and the other one was supposed to go with it. Instead my arms gave out and my head came crashing into the wall first and then the wood floor. I think I sent my yoga teacher into five-seconds worth of cardiac arrest.

The shock of failing so miserably at something I was confident I could do took my breath away. When I was describing the event to my roommate, I discovered it was a very similar feeling to when I have failed in other aspects of  life.

I failed my relationship. I remember clearly the moment when the failure hit. My boyfriend and I were at dinner at a local Mexican restaurant. My chest tightened and I had to remember to breathe. In the days previous I had a feeling the end might be near, but when the failure hit, it felt like being dropped on my head.

I failed again with this blog. I didn’t want my ex-boyfriend to find it. I knew if the situation had been reveresed, I would have been heart broken to see him writing about online dating and places to meet girls. I blocked him from my Twitter feed so he wouldn’t have to see tweets about my blog. I didn’t send an email out to our friends about it, just in case, and I didn’t post the link on Facebook.

So when I found out last night from a mutual friend that my ex stumbled upon Lady & Her Boys Club, I felt like I had tumbled onto the floor all over again.

My ex has always been more emotionally stable than me. And he will have the willpower to not regularly check for updates. He may not even care. But on the chance that he does, I’m sorry I hurt him.

Part of the journey is failure. The wisdom-givers drill that in from a young age. They also say it’s important to learn from failure, and to not let the chance of failing make you hold back.

I couldn’t save my relationship. I couldn’t figure out the right equation to make it work for both of us anymore. So I had to accept defeat.

I couldn’t stop my ex from seeing that I was making a very public attempt at moving on. I hope he accepts my apology, but that’s all I can do.

I couldn’t prevent gravity from winning out when it came to my first attempt at standing on my hands since I was 10. I went back to yoga class today anyways. And next week maybe I’ll give the hand stand another try.

Sometimes the build-up to a crash is long and happens in slow motion, sometimes it happens in the blink of an eye. It always takes my breath away. But it also reminds me I’m still breathing.

Categories: Ex-Boyfriend, yoga