I Am Trying To Become A Person Who Does Yoga Now

yoga

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.

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#WHOLE30 WEEK 2: JUST CHECKIN IN


It’s day 11 on my Whole 30 journey, and first things first: I’m ok! It’s not too bad. Yes, I’ve had a few dozen moments where I wanted to bury my feelings about the state of the world and the weather in a mountain of that really cheesy melty delicious mac n cheese mush they sell at the Gourmet Garage hot bar BUT I’ve persevered, and have yet to veer off course. 

Just a reminder that this means I have not had added sugar, diary, legumes, grains or alcohol of any kind in 11 days. 

Am I hungry? Lil bit. But my stomach is getting used to eating real food and knowing when I’ve had enough. Did I go through a fatigue stage? Yeah, around day 8. But my body is adjusting to burning protein and fat now instead of carbs n sugars and I feel more clear-minded and upbeat, with no afternoon slump. Have I stopped freaking out when my coworkers bring in donuts and leave them on the edge of my desk, or order themselves personal pizzas to eat in front of me? No. And I will not. That is rude. Please stop.

Some discoveries from this past week: 

-Whole Foods is one of the only places you can count on finding a Whole 30 meal on the go, and even then many of the hot bar meats and veggies are cooked with sugar or honey, so you’ll likely end up with a box of roasted chicken and steamed zucchini that runs you about $17.

-The macha at Starbucks has sugar in it, but it doesn’t even matter anyway bc even if you order a non-dairy macha latte, it’s tough to verify whether the brands of almond or coconut milk they’re using are unsweetened/naturally sweetened, and whether or not they have carageenan in them (carageenan is an additive used as a thickening agent found in a TON of foods and beverages that is not digestible and harmful to the digestive system). So I didn’t order the macha latte. The conversation I had to have with the Starbucks barista to come to this conclusion was the single most White Lady thing I’ve ever done. 

-When you eat beets they not only turn your poop red, which I knew, but your pee red too!

-Bone broth, as in nutrient-rich broth made using the bones from a healthy, humanely raised animal, is kind of hard to make without a slow cooker. I left mine on the stove overnight, and my gas burner was so hot it steamed out all the water and left me with a pot of ash. 


Eternally thankful this didn’t catch on fire while I was sleeping…Jesus fucking Christ.

So what have I been eating? A LOT of vegetables and a little bit of meat. I’ve been going apeshit over coconut covered dates, tuna, avocados, and plantain chips, which are better than regular chips!!! I know, just shoot me in the face!!!! 

Yesterday as a snack I had fucking cucumber slices with salt on them and loved it, which sent me into a full-on identity spiral. I recalled my first summer in New York when I interned at a fashion magazine and how I used to make fun of the girls who ate veggie slices for lunch. I was strictly a Five Dollar Footlong Bitch then. An Italian Herbs and Cheese Hoe. Now I’m eatin’ seaweed snacks and getting full before the pack is through. Whom have I become!?! Am I some Park Slope Food Bloggin’ Green Juice Drinkin’ Yoga Posin’ Instagram Mom Lady????? 

Whatever, y’all. You’re just mad because I’m losing weight and getting healthier and vocally judging you for the monosodium glutamate that’s totally in those martini olives you’re eating and I bet you didn’t even know!!!!!!

I am still cool, ok? YOU CAN EAT CLEAN AND STILL BE COOL.

WHAT HAPPENS WHEN A DISASTER DECIDES TO KICK SOME ORGANIC GRAIN FREE DAIRY FREE SUGAR FREE LEGUME FREE ASS


Yep, I’ve done it. I’ve jumped on the bandwagon with housewives and wellness gurus and all types of white women and gays everywhere: I am doing #Whole30.
No, it’s not ironic! This is real. This is me. I am pursuing #mindfulness through #food in a #meaningful way because my mental and physical health are a teeter-totter and I need to grab life by the BALLS* and get my shit together.

*grass fed meatballs in a homemade marinara sauce over a cauliflower purée 

So basically #Whole30 is a diet that’s supposed to help you reset your system, jumpstart your metabolism, form good habits and figure out why you feel like shit all the time by omitting grains, legumes, dairy, added sugars, alcohol and pretty much all processed foods from your diet for 30 days. 

I am on Day 4. So far this is child’s play. In about 2 weeks I’m sure I’ll be bursting into tears every time I walk by a Popeye’s but for now, I feel great. Ok, maybe not great, just like, fine. 

Observations thus far:

-Salt is the most important food ingredient there is. A vegetable without salt is a thing you should get away from me.

-Nuts are filling but, depending on the kind, they either taste like crayons or little pieces of wood. 

-Raisins: not so bad 

-EVERYTHING seems to have added sugar, even stuff that doesn’t need sugar. I tried to buy sausage at the grocery store yesterday and it had fucking corn syrup in it. Reading ingredients can be truly eye opening.

-Ghee aka clarified butter is my shit. I don’t know how they make it or why it’s ok to eat on #whole30 or why it costs $14 a jar, but it’s delicious. 

-Most of the things I truly love eating are actually good for you, I just usually buy trash food because it’s cheap. For example, olives are a way more delicious snack than potato chips hands down. I’ll have 4 olives and be like *kisses fingers in an Italian way that’s probably offensive to actually do idk*

Now, my resolve hasn’t really been put to the test, so I’m not on a high horse or anything. I haven’t yet experienced a weekend, which is usually when I eat 10 burritos and a block of cheese, so that’ll probably feel less fun. As far as the not drinking thing goes, well, you know how much I love alcohol. And I still do. We’d just been spending so much time together and it was getting a little bit too serious so it’s good to take a break. Because then we can miss each other. And have makeup sex. What was I talking about again? 

Anyway, I’m entertaining this philosophy that consuming food and drink should be pleasurable before, during and AFTER the experience, and trying to find pride and power in how I treat my body. 

Doesn’t that sound so good? Aren’t you totally rooting for me? Isn’t it weird that in this very blog if you go back 4 years you’ll find a post where I take acid and eat an entire bag of Martin’s Potato Rolls? Life can be so unpredictable.

#Whole30 #Whole30 #Whole30

Day 4. Or 5. Don’t tell me I’ve lost count already…

I am exhausted. I have a horrible cold today and I stayed home sick, but have of course been doing plenty of work, while updating Beauty Dummy’s social media (did you hear about my new blog with Hannah Faulkner?!) and browsing Twitter for the latest fucked up shit Trump and his demons have enacted. Let’s just say I don’t feel powerful. 

I marched on Saturday in New York and while there was an amazing turn out all over the world I couldn’t help but think of the folks the protest largely ignored: women of color, black lives, trans lives… And then I thought about how the whole protest would probably just be ignored by those in power. It’s not enough. 

Lately it’s felt like the whole world is shouting into the void. 

Another thing that’s bothering me is that underneath all my external fears I am still worried, as always, about my own self worth, my own happiness, and my own success. On bad days it can feel like my doubt is ping-ponging, one moment aimed at myself, and the next at everything around me, the world, the future, the powers that be.

At times I honestly feel like getting out of bed in the morning is my one-woman show. Written by me, performed by me, rehearsed for years. Just not that funny.

But I am motivated. I’m overwhelmed by my own ambition. There’s so much I want to do, and there’s so much I am doing, but it isn’t done, and it isn’t moving fast enough, and I’m afraid I’m not working hard enough, or that I’m working too hard.

But then I think, what a luxury to get to be ambitious. What a privilege to have any opportunities at all. I should be grateful to be a runner in this race, and not in the one for survival. 

So what do we do then? How do we come together and fight and still have energy to devote ourselves to ourselves and our dreams? I don’t know. 

Maybe I just need a coffee. And a DayQuil, and a hot bath, and a different president, and some soup, and my mom’s HBO Go password, and for the world to change, and 12 more hours in each day. I’m gonna go get some of these things and think about this, and I’ll be in touch. 

In the meantime if it could fucking stop raining that’d be great. 

Shout Out To Resilience —Just Some Thoughts From a Whiny New Yorker

It was a typical September night in New York, chilly-ish and humid as hell, and I was returning home around 11:30. I’d spent my evening making notes on a pilot, practicing improv and eating a large pile of greasy onion rings my body hardly even craved, let alone needed in the slightest. I was tired, and I had to get up in just a few hours for an early meeting at work.

I was already in NO MOOD to take bullshit from anyone. And then, not five feet from my doorway, a figure scurried quickly across my shoes and brushed against my bare ankles. That’s right. A rat. A rat touched my skin. Before I could realize what I was doing, I jumped in the air and yelped like a Looney Tune who’d be stuck with a hot poker. A parody of a Woman In New York.

Perhaps it was my exhaustion or the onion rings flaring up, but as I was washing the possible (likely) plague off my skin, all the drawbacks of the city started getting to me. For most of my time here, though it’s been stressful, I’ve shrugged off things like insane rents, rodent corpses and #commuterproblems as merely a price to pay for living in such an exciting place. I figured soon enough the stress would pay off and it would all be worth it. Typical transplant delusion.

Now I’m in year five, working a day job and several unpaid side hustles, sometimes wondering if the other shoe is ever going to drop. I know it will, I tell myself, if I just keep working hard and don’t quit. Eventually I’ll succeed, and get to be one of those happy New Yorkers (they exist, right?) who don’t have to run into a random man on their block holding a giant pet snake, or worry about getting crickets thrown on them on the D train. Maybe things like this and this will stop happening, and I won’t be so angry at this place and everyone in it. Maybe, in the meantime, I should stop reading Gothamist (but I can’t. I can’t stop.)

I know, I know. I complain about my life as a ~creative in NY~…but I’m aware I don’t have it that bad. I’m a white girl with a job, her own apartment, two cats and a few friends. I eat, like, 4 meals a day. And I have cable, for Christ’s sake! It’s not convenient, but no one is making me live here. I made a choice. Maybe it’ll pay off, maybe it won’t. The grass is always greener, ain’t it?

But I sure do love this place. I love the diversity, the skyline, the opportunity. The feeling that your life could change with the turn of a street corner. The people. Our spirit and resilience when we are targeted by terror and face that risk every day. The people.

I also love North Carolina, where I’m from. I love it in spite of Pat McCrory’s hateful ass and HB2 and the oh-so-many laws against queer rights and black rights and reproductive rights. In spite of the ignorance and anger and violence towards protestors in the wake of the murder of Keith Scott.

I have family there. I have friends there. I grew up there.

But injustice, well, that’s everywhere in this country. Even your so-called “blue state” is full of “blue lives” who will murder someone for being black. It’s really happening. And it’s happening over and over and over again. I count my privileges every day.

I stand in solidarity with black people in my home state and everywhere fighting for their right to live. I stand in solidarity with New York as we continue grinding in the face of the threat of violence toward our city.

I left North Carolina, and I may even leave New York someday. But both places are forever dear to my heart. I even think I love America, as hard as it is to do. It just has so much potential, you know? Like an absent father who keeps promising to show up. And I’ll keep coming out to the doorstep, hoping for things to turn around. It’s why I’m not writing in “Beyoncé” on the presidential ballot. That, and I’m not a fucking idiot.

I admire those who continue to show up, who aren’t just waiting but speaking out, sharing their influence, shouting in the streets and refusing to take shit from this broken system. I admire those who thrive on ambition, who will stop at nothing to achieve their dreams, even when it seems like the world is set up to make them fail. I also admire those who have failed, those who are tired, those who don’t know where they’re going or can’t take anymore. We are only human.

I respect you and I am here for you if you ever need.

To all my friends, everywhere, look out for one another and take care of yourselves.