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.

Living for a Living

Living for a Living

barbie office
I swear to god I’m gonna make being an adult look cute if it kills me.

When I was little I never understood why parents complained about being adults.

“You’ll see,” they’d say. “Being a child is a luxury. Enjoy it while it lasts.”

At the time it felt like my problems were being ignored. I couldn’t even choose what to eat or when to go to bed, and what’s worse, I was forced to go to a school every day where I had to deal with the cut-throat social politics of elementary school girls. This was no luxury, I thought. What were these people talking about?

Now that I’m older, of course, I see what they meant. There’s the obvious fact of having more responsibility, people depending on you for things, worrying about money, about living up to expectations, about health, about death. “Okay,” I thought, about a year into the whole adulthood thing. “This kinda sucks too.”

When I was in sixth grade I had a particularly hard time adjusting. My mother had just gotten remarried and I had moved into a big house with a combined family, many members of which were not too keen on sharing anything with me, oxygen included. Middle school was off to a rough start. I was still naively eager for a certain crowd of kids to want to be friends with me, which they didn’t. A gifted child but a terrible listener, I had a hard time following directions and would often fall behind in class. Not to mention my body was changing. I was wearing sports bras from Limited Too in a children’s size 16. I was standing silently outside a circle of kids while they laughed at jokes I didn’t get. I was copying other people’s math homework because I’d managed to place into the advanced classes without ever really learning my multiplication tables. And I was desperately hoping it would all be over soon.

One night my dad called while I was doing some homework after school.

“Dad!” I squealed. “You’ll never believe it! Today I wished that school would go by fast, and it did!” 

“Mm,” he mumbled, the same way he had when I’d told him I thought I could see air when I was six years old. “Don’t wish your life away, kiddo.”

By this time, I had already heard about the problems my dad had with his eyes when he was a kid. I knew he’d had trouble reading, and that school was especially hard for him in the elementary and junior high years. He’d lived in Taiwan for a year when he was 12, and when he came back to the States he had to repeat the seventh grade. I knew he wouldn’t do middle school over again if you paid him. So why was he being so protective of my time?

I realize now that two things happen when you get a little older: time goes by faster, and less seems to change.

This is why two months have passed since I’ve last written. It’s why I didn’t notice it had been so long, and why I haven’t had much to say. It’s also why, at age 52, my father was telling me to relish the days where I had something he didn’t. My whole life laid out in front of me, years to decide who I was going to be, the freedom to make mistakes that wouldn’t have long term detriment or legal implications, and the absence of that underlying feeling all adults secretly have, that we’re squandering our potential, stressing ourselves to the limit, careening towards our end of days just hoping and praying we’ll have something to show for it. It’s true what they say, that youth is wasted on the young. What good is all the time in the world if you have no concept of time to begin with?

A lot has happened in these last two months. And they’ve been big, important steps for me, but just your run-of-the-mill adulty stuff. James and I got our own place in Greenpoint in a gutted out church, with the fixtures and the central air and the deep tub and the roof and the outdoor space we always wanted. The place is small but we’re happy, and the cats are happy, and we don’t mind giving some things away. Even with the reduced square footage, our rent went up quite a bit. So I needed to take my job hunt more seriously and really put my nuts to the wall to find work.

After putting myself out there and getting rejected so many times in a row that I couldn’t tell if I was job hunting or speed dating, I finally found a place that wanted me. I actually didn’t think I was right for the job, and I wasn’t terribly qualified either, but they seemed to think I was capable enough and hired me right away. Two months later, I think I have a handle on things. I have benefits and paid time off and a healthy sleep schedule. I go to the same salad bar every day during my lunch hour and listen to podcasts while I eat alone. I meet James on the platform at Union Square every day at 6:45, go home, make dinner, watch Netflix, maybe write a little, and go to bed. It is so delightfully, wonderfully, magically boring. And so far, I really love it.

I went to The Gap the other day and bought button-downs. Can you believe this? I’m an assistant at a design studio, so I don’t have to wear heels to work or get my hair blown out every day, but I can’t exactly go dressed like Malibu Barbie. Yeah it’s a bummer, but I also don’t mind being taken seriously. I just want to do good work, make my money, and get out of there. Part of growing up is knowing that you don’t have to show your entire personality, all your tastes and ambitions, every shade of who you are and want to be, to every person you encounter. At this point in my life, I think I’ll get farther if I hide a few things from the people who sign my checks. And the thing about selling out is, it makes your apartment so much nicer. Plus, idk, The Gap has some nice stuff.

The hard part of having the grown up day job is, well, there are a few. The first is getting out of bed every morning (I have no suggestions for this). The second is making sure you can manage not to turn into a sloppy, depressed mom who has given up on looking cute (this is a personal problem I’m trying to solve by keeping dry shampoo in my desk, eating fucking salads, and forcing myself to go to one social event a month). The third is staying focused on what you really want to do, remembering the difference between your actual two-year goal and what you wrote on your employee evaluation. But probably the hardest part is assuring yourself that how you make your money, and how much of it you have, isn’t what defines you. That the small achievements really do matter. And that we still have time, no matter what age, to make our dreams come true.

And in the meantime, well, you might find yourself at The Gap. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Summer, “Adult” Style

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When I say “adult,” I don’t mean it in the pornographic sense, although, yes, my relationship is going well – thanks for asking! What I mean is, and I honestly didn’t realize this until recently, but this is the first summer I’ve ever really worked full time. My schedule right now is four ten-hour days a week as Front of House (a fancy name for a receptionist) at a salon in the Meatpacking district. I’ve worked there for about five months now, and the hours are perfect. It pays the bills and leaves me with weekends and Mondays to have a social life and focus on the hobby that is working towards my “real career.” Excuse the quotations, but it’s hard to take myself seriously sometimes telling the same story over and over. Do any of you ever get embarrassed in conversation with family members or new acquaintances, having to answer the questions “what do you do” and “what have you been up to,” and not knowing what to say? Trying to craft it in a way that makes it seem like you’re more focused than you really are, more on track, working more directly toward your true passions, or better yet, actually working on them? I never know how to answer it these days, but I’ve been trying not to worry. Mostly I’ve been fine-tuning my routine of working and chilling in equal amounts, spending my money wisely, eating well, exercising, having a fulfilling, healthy relationship, and getting outside as much as possible. Come to think of it, these are all things I never could seem to manage until now. I’m miles ahead of where I was three years ago when I graduated from college. Before you succeed you have to get your shit together – the world doesn’t need another wannabe Lindsay.

So what does an adult do for fun? Actually, pretty much the same stupid stuff as the kids, I guess, with the exception of the following things:
-Frequent all-nighters

-Getting wasted every night of the week

-Drinking only to get drunk

-Drinking bottom-shelf bottles and malt liquor only

-Refusing to partake in any activity that takes place before noon

-Showing up to potlucks with nothing whatsoever to contribute and eating all the food

-Shoplifting on the reg

-Showing up to work fucked up/calling out of work with a hangover

-Eating exclusively McDonald’s and Popeye’s and washing it down with the aforementioned approved beverages

-Getting in fights

-Getting in any sort of legal trouble due to excessive partying/belligerent behavior/drunk in public-ness

-Doing drugs the consequences of which you have experienced a MILLION times and should know by now do not suit your lifestyle and/or brain chemistry (for me: amphetamines, any variant of amphetamines, anything that might include amphetamines, any more than a few shroom caps, “molly” from strangers see: amphetamines.)

-Having a dirty-ass house with no groceries and no toilet paper and being kind of whatever about it

-Binge-watching Netflix for four days straight in the dark without leaving the house instead of just doing it after work like a normal person

-Total financial instability

-Not tipping your waiters/bartenders or knowing how to split a fucking check

-Regularly finding yourself in self-induced situations in which you need medical assistance and/or the assistance of your mom

-Not having a JOB or the ability to keep one

-Pretty much every single thing I’ve ever written in this blog up until this point

Maybe it was the fact that in the past seven years of my life every ounce of fun was met with an equal level of “I’m kinda afraid I might die soon, I have no money, also there are roaches all up in my house” terror. Maybe I just woke up one day, looked at the calendar and realized this shit ain’t cute anymore. Life isn’t easy. I still don’t know what the FUCK I’m doing. But now that I’ve cleaned it up a bit, it’s time to face the struggle, the real struggle of following my ambition, head-on.

I went to North Carolina for a short time recently to visit my family. The first day I had lunch with my dad and talked about comedy, then dinner with Greg and Sass and talked about astrology and cosmic gifts and art. The next morning I drove down to the beach with my mom where we met up with my older brother, his wife and their three daughters. For two days I sat in the sun, the only person in my age group, being responsible, spending time with this beautiful family, and doing nothing.

On Monday night as my plane was landing in JFK I slid open the window shade, and looking down at the lights of the city, for the first time I didn’t feel the romance of it wash over me. So much of me just wanted to turn back. There was no euphoria, no fantasy that the city would reform me into something better. I felt myself beginning to cry. I had left the comfort of my family that I hadn’t seen in months hundreds of miles behind me to land again in a world of possibility. But I knew what I didn’t know when I moved here two years ago, that all that possibility begins and ends with myself. It was all up to me now.

No one is going to save you, discover you, inspire you or tell you what to do. Coming to that realization fucking sucks. But at the end of the day, what is this all for if you’re just going to puss out at the last second? When you stop hiding behind your fuck ups and the blanket of superficiality stops making you feel secure, all that’s left is you, raw and naked, standing in the way of your future.

It’s time to put your big girl pants on.

Growing up (is hard 2 do)

can't fight crime, kat st. kat, katstkat, patrickokay, unacclimated

In the summer of 2010 I once drank so much four loko that I staple-gunned my boot to my ankle. I must have looked so insane and pathetic in the attic of my much older friend’s house, sitting on the carpet with my legs in a W, laughing and crying a little as I pulled the metal out. I was 20 years old. I had no idea yet how to order a drink in a bar, but it wasn’t the first time I’d gotten drunk and hurt myself.

—–

A few days before I returned from North Carolina, while sexting a photo of my naked butt, I got an unexpected phone call about starting a new “gig,” (what the kids are calling jobs these days). It was a welcome opportunity since as you know I spent the major part of the last month fucking around, drinking cocktails and trying to get rid of my tan lines. But when I was torn from my spot on my childhood trampoline and catapulted into normal working hours back in lower manhattan, it was quite an adjustment. Every morning when my alarm goes off I am convinced there must be some way around it. This usually leads to a very rude awakening, followed by a lot of running through my apartment yelling “SHIT,” a lot of makeup and hair products being shoved into a giant canvas bag, and a lot of primping on the train.

It’s the same way I got ready for high school every morning. I’d guzzle 20 ounces of generously sugared black coffee in the passenger seat of my father’s car at 7 am, sometimes after sneaking out, taking drugs from strangers and only coming home to change my shirt. I’d drag the torn edges of my American Eagle jeans into first period hoping no one would notice I was five minutes late, or that I’d only slept twelve hours that week. In high school I was the girl who was greeted with giggles and whispers of “did you hear?” when I entered a room. My grades were impressive, I brushed my teeth twice a day and took a bath every night. But on any given weekend I’d probably drank half a bottle of watermelon burnette’s and gone skinny dipping in the backyard of a house party with someone’s boyfriend, or girlfriend, or both. I’d probably thrown up in a bush. Cheap liquor will do that to the girl who doesn’t eat. But I was gonna be famous. One day I’d be an Olsen twin.

—–

The summer of 2010, the one after we burned our house down, led to a winter, a spring, a subsequent summer and fall. By then I was great at ordering drinks in bars and guzzling bottles of sailor jerry on the back of my boyfriend’s motorcycle. I was even better at getting in drunken fights with that boyfriend almost daily. Some nights there were screaming matches in the streets. Other nights he’d carry me into our house over his shoulder after I had one too many shots. By my 22nd birthday I’d finished college, which might actually be the worst thing for a drinking problem. I was older, but I wasn’t an Olsen. I was depressed, directionless, 15 pounds heavier and never leaving the house. Until one day I did, and I ended up in jail. But that’s another story.

After the mandatory alcohol therapy and the somewhat sobering shame of making the front page of The Slammer, I started to get my act together. My unhealthy relationship had ended during a tumultuous Mercury Retrograde. I had a full time job where my coworker was a convicted felon on work release with an unlikely knack for life-coaching. I was spending one Wednesday a month dressing in my mother’s suits and hiding my undercut for court appearances to end up with a clean record. I was texting a funny writer boy in New York. I wanted to take risks, be stronger, do great things with my life and heart. So I started, and eventually I began to rise like a phoenix, I guess, from metaphorical ashes this time.

—–

Since then, I’ve only had a handful of dark drunken moments, most of which I laugh off and write about here. Once I cussed out a room full of innocent friends after drinking an unknown amount of four loko, which, by the way, is no longer my beverage of choice. Twice, maybe three times I’ve blacked out and cried, barefoot on a New York sidewalk. More times than I care to admit, I’ve looked into the wrong person’s eyes for too long.

Two weeks ago I went to sushi with my older brother in Durham, North Carolina. The site of my post-collegiate depression seemed so much cuter outside the haze. I’m sure it was because I’d moved on. I had prospects. I had a job. I’d worked in close proximity to major celebrities when less than two years prior I was watching them on apple TV, alone and hungover with the curtains drawn. He told me over martinis that he’d been reading my blog, and my first thought was fear. Embarrassment. When my brother was my age, he got married and had his first child. I’ve always admired him for that, the way he transformed almost overnight into this professional, responsible man. A daddy. Now 34 years old, he has a third baby on the way.

“Your life isn’t that crazy every night, though, is it?” he asked me. No, not always. And hopefully in the coming years it will be even less so. All of the stories are true; I take club drugs, I wake up too late, I pay for my groceries in quarters, sometimes I forget to eat and I drink too much and I say the wrong thing. I still ask my parents for money every now and then. But I turn 24 soon. I want some of those things to change, and I’m gonna have to figure out how.

Some days you get to work on time. Some days your hair looks perfect and your shirt’s right-side-out. Some days you exercise and some days you’re in love and there’s money in the bank and your shoes are tied and the kitty litter box is clean.

Some days your ambition rules you, your delusions roam freely, driving your life to those high points you are sure it will achieve someday. And some days you’re heartbroken, eating a can of beans in the tub. “But at least,” you think, “I remembered to bathe.”