I Am Trying To Become A Person Who Does Yoga Now

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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.

“Island Time” or “The Calm Before The Shitstorm”

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Having a blog where you talk about getting drunk and being bad at your job is one of the hardest things a person can do.

Ugh ok fine shut up. I know. I need to stop waiting so long between posts. Literally dozens (less than one dozen) of people have been urging me to post a story lately, and I’ve wanted to, but the longer I wait, the more things pile up and change and I don’t know where to begin.

And girl. When I say things have changed…woo. Have they changed.

My last post was all about self-love, and growing up, and trying to focus on doing great work. I talk about that stuff a lot. And I don’t have any less to say about those topics than I always do, but I do want to save the nitty gritty of my life as it is now — a beautiful disgusting mess, like a perfect sandcastle that some little kid took a runny diarrhea on — for another time. All I’ll say for now is that I am no longer the Settled-Down-Soccer-Mom-In-Training-Ass-Bitch I was a few months ago, and I’m back on the scene, so watch the fuck all the way out. That is all I will say. Plus, I told all the guys I’ve been hooking up with recently that I wouldn’t blog about them. Ha ha ha ha.

Instead, I’d like to take you back with me to a trip I took before things went awry, to an island on a different side of the world, called FUCKING MAUI YEAH THAT’S RIGHT I WENT TO MAUI AGAIN THIS PAST FEBRUARY. LITERALLY WHAT ARE YOU GONNA DO ABOUT IT?

Let’s begin.

Oh wait, one more thing – I’m writing this on my phone right now because I don’t have wifi yet in my new apartment (sometimes when you break up with the person you’re living with you have to get one of those) so shut the heck up about my typos.

Ahem. Anywho.

It all started when — fuck, how did it start? I think it was, as it always is, with my brother Nate planting the seed over text that he’d soon be traveling somewhere exotic:

“Available Feb 20-27?”

It’s always that simple. And my response is usually “Um, working? And being so busy raising these two cats, and practicing comedy in a room full of strangers, and ignoring the fuck out of my blog. Like, do I look like a person who has free time? My life is fully booked and I am not okay.”

To which he usually responds “I have miles.”

So, I took an entire week off work in February (can’t complain about that PTO) and spent the weeks leading up to my trip slathering myself in tanning lotion and trying on bathing suits in my bathroom at 1AM. I was concerned because I had eaten nothing but Chick Fil A for the past two months, and I wanted to look sexy on a resort that I knew was just going to be filled with retirees and honeymooners. What I’m saying is, I wanted to look sexy for instagram.

I don’t think I have Seasonal Affective Disorder. I think I’m just always affected, and cold weather is an extra annoyance. Either way, I cannot tell you how excited I was to pack my duffle with bras and coochie-cutters and take a flight to Someplace, Arkansas, then LAX, then Maui, while FaceTiming my fake-ass drunk-ass jealous friends at every layover with a shit-eating grin on my face. I didn’t even mind how uncomfortable my back gets on long flights in “the back of the plane,” as Nate always refers to coach. Or how expensive the airport margaritas are that I always insist on drinking. I was living, I was looking cute, I didn’t have a coat on, and most importantly I was not checking my email.

Arriving in Maui is always fun. The airports are open air which never fails to blow my mind, and then I get to take a taxi — or this time, a shuttle — to the hotel with some very talkative driver who is originally from Milwaukee but has lived on the island for 35 years and since lost the ability to read human facial cues. It was clear as day in this particular driver’s rearview that I was not in the mood to chat about his childhood after my 24 hours of travel time, but was instead more concerned about why he’d made four wrong turns and couldn’t stop swerving onto the shoulder of this mountainside highway. But I survived.

I made it to the Marriott Ocean Club (which everyone kept pronouncing like it rhymed with Harriet. What the fuck is that about?) on Ka’anapli beach which is where Nate’s conference was. Yes, he was there for a conference. Yes, he was able to expense all of this. And no, I would not take his job if you offered me a lifetime of luxury because what he does for a living is outside of my realm of comprehension not to mention my ability to remain sane (anesthesia).

One thing my brother and I do have in common, though, is a strong affinity for alcohol. So the first thing we did that night was find the nearest bar/restaurant open at midnight – a feat more difficult than you’d imagine considering I thought the whole point of Maui was to get wasted and eat all the foods and stay up late partying. Turns out it’s mostly old people.

You know who does party? The wait staff after a long day of serving tourists. And when we arrived at a nearby beach bar that’s exactly what was going down. We rolled into this unusually lit locale, past the 4×4 pickups in the parking lot, to find sunburned brahs throwing back shots and heckling the bartender, a petite surfer girl with long mermaid hair who appeared to be training on her first day. She also appeared pretty drunk herself. We sat back and enjoyed our beers, along with the view of the hazing session, and I updated Nate on the happenings of my millennial New York life.

Then the crowd starting getting a little too drunk for my taste. I know that sounds fake coming from me, but seriously – looking around I would swear every guy in that bar had dateraped someone at least once. This was further proven when they screamed at the bartender to the point that she had a breakdown and walked out (a little dramatic, though, I will say) and then again when one of them tried and failed to hit on me.

“Hey, you’re cute. Let me buy you a drink.”

*pointing to my brother* “I’m here with someone.”

“Fuck you, bitch. You’re not that hot anyway.”

The verbiage of rape culture at its finest, no?

So we left, and tucked ourselves in to the sounds of the ocean. Overall, not a bad start to the vacay.

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To say that a lot happened over the next couple of days wouldn’t be entirely accurate. Instead, it was mostly nothing: $5 mimosas all morning, poolside maitais and cranberry cocktails, hammocks and sushi, noodles, Hawaiian box lunches. That sort of thing. A tropical penguin sanctuary here, a whale watching boat trip there. And when Nate’s friend Mel arrived, we met her at the grocery store where she greeted us with a handle of Titos under each arm. We’d been gloriously unproductive. I had sand in my hair and salt on my skin.

Although I’d taken a week off work, this was still a short trip due to all the travel time. I only had 3 full days on the island. And by the third, I was determined to hike the famous 13 Crossings trail Nate and I tried to complete on our last trip, but failed for various reasons. We just had to revisit it, Nate because he’s a perfectionist, and me because I’ve never swam in a fucking tropical waterfall before and there was one at the end of this hike.

So we strapped our backpacks on, decided to leave before sunset and not get wasted this time, and after a couple hours we finally made it. The water was freezing but it was completely worth it. I’m not even that mad that Mel’s photos of us are just mediocre.

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So here’s where it starts getting complicated. As we came up on the last 24 hours of my time there, I just started stuffing every delicious food and drink items in my mouth that I could. First, I washed down some of that stream water I swallowed with fish tacos, rice, beans and guac, 2 beers and 3 vodka cranberries. Then the next morning I thought I’d have a delicious Hawaiian breakfast of, like, rice with meat, gravy and avocado on top. I don’t really know what that was called, but it sure was danky kang. Then, since my flight was at 6pm that night, it seemed like the smartest thing would be to finish off the vodka, then buy more, and finish that off too.

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So we did. And I packed up my stuff, got in the rental car around 3:45, and headed for the airport where I was to be dropped off so Mel and Nate could finish their vacation in peace. But there was SO much traffic. Way more than we’d anticipated. If I hadn’t been so fucked up and singing Mariah at the top of my lungs with my hands out the window, I would have been really nervous about missing my flight. But I figured, fuck it. I just have to get through security and run to the gate. I’ll probably make it with just 5 minutes to spare, but what are they gonna do? Leave me in Maui? Pfft.

So anyway, they left me in Maui. And because I was a really drunk white girl who had never missed a flight before, I started to cry.

“But it’s right there! I can see the plane! Please!”

“I’m sorry but they’ve already pulled back from the gate. We can get you on another flight that departs in 5 hours, connects in Dallas and arrives in Newark.”

“Newark??!!??!”

I begrudgingly took my boarding pass they were so gracious to give me for the flight I didn’t even deserve, and walked over to a corner to whine. I called Nate –

“Aw sorry boo, but it doesn’t really make sense for us to come get you. You’ll just have to wait there.”

What a fuckin fail. I was wasted. My stomach was all bubbly from the food I ate or the alcohol or the giardia I contracted in the waterfall. I was in Maui but I wasn’t in Maui. I was in tropical limbo with a bunch of tourists from the Midwest, only to return to a winter wasteland back in New York. My serotonin was at dangerously low levels, my blood-alcohol at the opposite, and all I wanted was to be in my bed with my two cats and my boyfriend who I missed so freakin much.

So I slept. I slept on the floor of a major airport walkway. I slept across chairs between jabbering family members. I slept with my mouth open, heart racing, sucking in oxygen with a strain that rivaled even the most withered of surrounding geriatrics.

And then I needed nachos. I had a bit of money left, so I dragged myself across the carpet to the nearest Airport Restaurant Bar and Grill to order some.

Waitress: “Just so you know, the cheese on these is Velveeta.”

God bless this woman for trying to warn me. But she didn’t understand how hungover, and still drunk, and far too depressed I was to truly hear her.

“Bring it on.”

Now, when I tell you this was some of the most vile shit I have consumed in my entire life, please know there’s not a lie to be found. However, not only did I finish it – oh no – I licked the plate clean, in what will probably be one of the saddest scenes ever witnessed by anyone on that high school volleyball team two tables over.

I never said I make good decisions. I would never lie like that.

It should come as no surprise to you, then, that about 30 minutes later I found myself running to the bathroom at full speed with all of my luggage to spew yellow liquid into the toilet. I was surprised, though. For some reason I hadn’t seen this coming. I suppose alcohol and sun exposure give me rose-colored glasses. But, you know, the kind of rose-colored glasses that make you think to yourself “You’re gonna die anyway, you idiot. Who gives a shit? Eat the Velveeta Puke Chips.” And you know, there was once a time, just a few years ago, where I could eat weird nachos and not immediately become a weapon of mass destruction. Not anymore.

I got out as much as I could, but the saliva in my throat and the rumbling in my belly told me I was still experiencing something digestively volcanic.

“This is the final boarding call for American Airlines flight to Dallas Fort Worth.”

Fuck. Once again, I dragged my bags down the carpeted walkway to the gate and joined the queue to board, with a very suspicious look on my face as I tried not to faint or shit on anyone.

Once I got to my seat, I thought things might calm down. I tried putting my head between my legs, I tried sleeping — no chance. As the lights dimmed and our in-flight presentation of The Peanuts Movie began, my body realized she’d had it. The color drained from my face and my vision started to go white, so I folded forward out of my chair and booked it to the lavatory.

So.

Ever had diarrhea on an airplane before? Yeah. It really sucks.

But I bet you haven’t had diarrhea on an airplane while SIMULTANEOUSLY projectile vomiting into the tiny sink next to you with no signs of stopping. I honestly thought I was going to die in that tiny, plastic, stinky room as I writhed, choked, barfed and gasped for what must have been…could it have been hours? Days even.

Somehow, though, I survived. I slept the rest of the way, and when I got to Dallas I spent what remained of my travel money on pepto bismol and Dramamine, and flopped on the floor next to the phone charging station to text my boo and eat airport mac n cheese. Again, I don’t make the best decisions. You guys know this by now.

So that was that. A wonderful trip that ended poorly and probably could have been planned better.

Sometimes things go wrong in paradise, but I’d do it all again.

When I landed back in New York, James and I were so excited to see each other. And then a few days after that, things fell apart. I hadn’t seen it coming. It was no one’s fault, it just happened. One minute we were together, and the next we weren’t.

You know, breaking up is a lot like trying to sleep in a busy airport. It’s lonely, it’s isolating, you’re stuck biding time. Everyone around you is making noise and you’re too exhausted to move.

But when you open your eyes, if you’re brave enough, you can go anywhere you want.