I Am Trying To Be a Person Who Does Yoga Now
Last Wednesday at work, after guzzling some boxed coffee at a mandatory HR seminar, I took a bathroom break. While wiping my ass, I felt a familiar shock across my upper back and through my neck. I had pulled my back again.
Every movement above the waist became excruciating. I was miserable, but sadly, not surprised. This has happened to me every couple of months for the past year. Constant pain behind my shoulders. Cracking along my neck every time I take a deep breath. At least 30 minutes of pure discomfort when I wake up in the morning. And that’s just on a regular day. Then, when I least expect it—snap. Waddling around for 5 days and screaming and whining and cursing at Kos and Gon for not cleaning out their own litter box.
I cannot. Live. Like this. Anyfuckinmore.
So let’s break this down.
What’s causing it:
What isn’t? I live in New York, a city that would cease to exist without constant anger and anxiety. I am naturally prone to stress and hold all this physical tension in my shoulders. I drink 2-3 black coffees per day. I sleep on the World’s Shittiest Mattress that I bought from IKEA in 2012 for like $100 when I moved to the city for an unpaid internship. For 9 hours a day, I do accounting, human resources, office management and executive assistance for a design firm in lower Manhattan. When I’m not doing that (and sometimes when I am) I do improv and standup, write and produce comedy videos and live shows, work on my screenplay, work my beauty blog, and work on my forthcoming book from Lit Riot Press. Sometimes, I try to blog here.
This leaves very little time for relaxing and/or taking care of myself. The majority of the social events I attend are events I’m producing or performing in. I get about 7 hours of sleep a night (very interrupted, thanks kitters). This is disgusting, but I often will not shower for days at a time because I’m only home for the time it takes to get just enough sleep that I don’t have a meltdown the next day. I usually wake up late, miss my train by 30 seconds and have to push into the next one where I ride to work in a Tuna Can of Stress and arrive about 7 minutes late. And despite being busy 24/7 and completely overwhelmed by my own schedule, I still have almost no disposable income to speak of.
I am not even going to mention. The news.
ANyWAY YeAH I GOT TENSION.
What I can do about it:
Around this time last year I threw my neck out the worst I ever had. I had to miss two days of work, which was really frustrating and also annoying af because being alone is super unhelpful when you CAN’T FUCKING MOVE. So I went to get acupuncture. I saw this guy named Bart who was extremely chill, like to a disturbing degree, and he told me to stop drinking so much coffee and also to wear a scarf on the subway? Something about the air conditioning making your neck muscles tighten up? IDK. I had two appointments and they were in this open room where other people were also getting, um, punctured. Both times I ended up falling asleep and feeling very relaxed, and slightly better right after. I was supposed to keep coming back over the next few weeks, but even at a sliding-scale donation of $30 per visit I felt it was maybe not quite worth it for me at the time.
When I still couldn’t move after two acupuncture visits, I went to the urgent care. The doctor described what was happening to my shoulder as an injury, and he prescribed me muscle relaxers. I took them, and they helped me sleep through the pain and made me very dumb, but did not solve the problem.
What did? Waiting. And actually, not drinking coffee really helped. I went 3 months without it and I didn’t have back pain (or diarrhea, for that matter) once the entire time. I wasn’t as productive and energetic which was actually fine, until I flew to LA to shoot a web pilot called IRL that I co-wrote and co-starred in, and realized I simply cannot live this crazy life I lead without caffeine.
When it happened again a few days ago, I went to see a chiropractor. She cracked my back and neck in several places which was incredibly startling and moderately relieving. She told me my spine had probably been out of alignment since childhood and it was finally catching up to me (sounds like mumbo jumbo but ok.) She also told me I needed to start taking better care of myself and that I was too young to be in this much pain. I agreed with her. She made me assure her I would get a new mattress. I came back a few days later for another appointment and, again, the cracking noises were cool and all, but I didn’t really feel that much different afterwards.
I’ve tried meditation. I’ve tried massages. But I never put in enough time or money for it to make a difference.
Do I believe that these are all reasonable treatments for the strain and tension I was experiencing? Sure. But I don’t want to only treat my back when it gets fucked up and just be in a moderate amount of pain the rest of the time.
So, I got a membership to a yoga studio. Because I want to try out being one of those women who invests in feeling good, mentally and physically. A Bona Fide Yoga Lady. Seriously, imagine being a woman who wakes up in the morning feeling youthful and limber and physically capable of putting on her jeans without wincing in pain or cussing somebody out.
And don’t forget the sense of superiority that comes with it! I cannot wait to be one of those women who carries around a mat and says “sorry guys, can’t come to happy hour. I have yoga,” then swishes away sassily tossing my ponytail. Damn, I am gonna be so motherfucking centered.
There is something that feels both responsible and glamorous about prioritizing your health in a performative way. Even though it is so very Common Privileged Girl, I am beyond thrilled at the idea of spending my Sunday mornings in Fancy Brooklyn doing downward dog and drinking tea like I belong there. And getting brunch afterward in my leggings and Birkenstocks. And buying scented candles and, like, special water bottles that you actually want to drink out of because they look really cool. It’s ok. I’ll pursue this with some self awareness and won’t let it get out of hand (seriously, exercise freaks, stop telling people that “runner’s high” cures depression.)
I think by being a mess for so long I’ve become attracted to wholesomeness in a way that is almost perverse. I am desperate for a lifestyle that is based, whatsoever, in simplicity. Even if it’s superficial (and actually very expensive!!! help me!!!!!!!)
See, this has been my plan all along. Pretend to have my shit together, and then maybe eventually I will.