Big Butts and Daisies

Nobody forgets their first heart break.  That first time you came undone.  When your world as you thought you knew it collapses into a pile of dust and rubble, pain, confusion and deep, deep sorrow.  Sure, there were minor cracks before that.  Small fissures that only unrequited love can create.  But this was the first big one:  the carpet pulled out from underneath you; a massive, upheaval of your aortas’ tectonic plates.  When a 25 year-old adult crawls into bed with her parents like a child with a nightmare and heaves body-wracking, wrenching sobs into their pillows between two sets of comforting, concerned arms.

I remember the rebuild process.  I worked 70+ hours a week to distract myself from the pain.  I whittled down to some ridiculous weight, so thin you could see the bones in my sternum.   I had lost myself so completely that I didn’t know how to begin to find, create or reconfigure myself back into a semblance of a person I might like.

I think it was my dad who gave me the book, The Artists’ Way.  A series of projects and writing ideas to help one rediscover their creative impulses.  And one of these projects was to create a figurine of your inner self; the person you see yourself as, or rather, would like to see yourself as.  If you could make a replica of your best self, what would that look like?

I was determined to not be broken.  So, silly as it sounded, I threw myself into this project.  I built a papier mache doll out of wire and cardboard.  For some reason, she had an enormous bootie.  Her body was painted bright yellow and she had large-ish feet with fuchsia-pink toenails.  She had crazy, curly hair and the kind of smile that inspires giggles and laughter; cheeks pinching, eyes all squinty.  She had orange daisies covering her boobs and another orange daisy covering her crotch and I think I named her Faith.

Faith went with me when I moved to Montreal.  She stood high up on a shelf, always smiling, always bright and yellow, and big butt(ed) and naked, (except for the daisies).  Always a reminder of a person I’d wanted to emulate, but was never really sure if I had it in me.

Eight years later, and I think Faith was thrown out when I moved out of my Montreal apartment.  Her head had started to wobble on her shoulders and her big bootie had started to chip off.  And I think that I’d finally realized that I didn’t need a figurine to remind me of a person I was already well on my way to discovering.  Somewhere along the lines, I realized that with Faith inside, it was easier to find the sunny side of a girl I thought I’d lost.

Of course, there were consecutive undoings.  Deeper loves and even deeper breaks.  Hide and seek games with variations of yourself lost and then found.  And I’m not convinced that finding love is not just a series of mistakes and fuck-ups until somehow, someway, (someday) you just get it right.

I don’t have daisies for boobs, or fuschia-pink toenails (at the moment, they’re blue), nor is my bootie quite to Faith’s epic proportions, although I would argue that with a regular practice of Warrior II’s, my bootie is considerably larger and stronger than ever.  But I find it easy to smile, and laugh and love and play.  And my hair is wild and curly and yellow and free.  And the one thing I feel pretty confident about, and I’m sure George Michael would have to agree,

“You just gotta have Faith.”


Is This The End?

So did you think it was all over?  That I would just leave you hanging with no resolution?  No happy ending?  No crescendo-ing orchestral soundtrack in which to ride off into the sunset?

If there is anything I have learned in the last few months, it’s that the adventure is NEVER over and NEVER the same.

I am home.  In Montreal.  Sleeping in my bed.  Taking hot showers.   I am writing from a hipster cafe with Wi-Fi where every other person is connected and glued to their laptops.  I am NOT scribbling away in a journal, with my feet in the sand, salt in my hair and freedom in my heart.  And I’m trying to be okay with this.

Culture shock is a very real phenomenon.  I sort of feel like a puzzle piece with one little pokey-outey-thing missing.  Most of it fits, but not quite.  I never was much of an IPod person, preferring to be connected and aware of my surroundings, but now I don’t go anywhere without those little white buds stuffed deep into my ears, pumping Spanish Reggaton into my overworked eardrums because life here is just too noisy…too overwhelming.  Where are the horse-drawn carts, the toothless smiles peddling mangoes and avocados, the silent heat of the midday sun?  At least with the groovy beats of my Central American soundtrack playing, I can almost smell the sea.

I am broker than I have ever been in my life, ten-thousand dollars in debt and I am struggling to put together a living.  I don’t want to get a full-time job because yoga is where I want to be.   So I am trying to piece-meal together a living out of odd jobs.  And when I say “odd-jobs”,  I do mean ODD.

For example, last Thursday, I worked at a Hasidic Jewish printing shop collating and stapling pamphlets.  I got lost in the repetition and felt like I deserved a gold Star of David each time I picked out exactly the right number of sheets, starting with a cover page that said “Who Is A Good Wife?–A Talk on Integrating by Rabbi Katz.”  Today I applied to be a “Dog Washer”, stating in my reply that I think I would make the perfect candidate for the job because “I have a very hairy border collie who likes to roll in mud puddles and accumulate dread-locks.”  I am thinking of starting another blog:  One Hundred Days of Craigslist.  One hundred days where I respond to an ad from EVERY category.  What do you think??  I’m a little nervous about the “haiku” section and let’s not talk about the personals….

The man I was dating before I left on my four-month adventure, who was perfectly wonderful, fun, easy, spontaneous and all the rest has told me that he has no interest in continuing our relationship so I find myself slightly wounded and cynical again, and really starting to crave a person, you know?

However, my new roommate and I have this lovely domestic relationship that suits me just fine.  He is gay, a lawyer and doesn’t get squirmy when I talk about my period.  I told him that since I have no money, but loads of time, and he has the opposite, that I would make a perfect little house-wife and make sure that there is dinner on the table, or food for him to bring to work if he buys the groceries.  We make each other dinners, cocktails, and last Sunday, spent the day gardening, preparing for summer and turning the basement into a 70’s style hippie-den, making trips to Home Depot, engaged in all things nest-like and homey.  (That is to say, now there is a couch down there, a hammock, twinkly lights and paper lanters and it is the space where he goes to practice his accordion.)

I am teaching my practice classes, twice a week, at the studio.  I am trying to find my voice.  My confidence.  The knowledge within me that I DO have the power to inspire, educate, and challenge my students.  It’s coming.  Slowly, it’s coming.

But the thing that is bugging me the most is how quickly I revert to my old ways.  When I was there, when I was away, I was SO happy.  SO free.  It seemed like I was fundamentally altered.   I was a person that I genuinely liked…for the first time in well,  a while.  And now, not even two weeks back, and already the shit-storm of self-doubt, anxiety, and over-analyzing is whirlwinding around in my brain.  I am stressed about money, finding work, my health, my big butt, being a good yoga teacher and a good person.  I growled at my dog yesterday.  Growled at her like a dog.  Pinned her to the ground like a dog.  And then proceeded to cry into her neck on my hands and knees like a crazy person.

Where is that person that I liked so much?  That person that felt open and confident, sexy and fun, easy-going and relaxed.?  It’s like playing hide-and-seek with your shadow.  She’s in there somewhere….   

“Olly, olly oxen free!”

I am trying to take deep breaths and know that everything will fall into place sooner or later.  And for my dog’s sake, hopefully sooner rather than later.

The one thing that stays true is the gratitude.  This heart-swelling, chest-expanding thank-FULL-FULL-FULLness for the experience.  I bow my forehead down to the ground, shake my fists at the heavens and clasp my hands in prayer.  Thank-you for the adventure.  Thank you for the journey, for the lessons, the insight, for the food, the friends, the love.  Thank you for the awesome beauty, the largeness of this world, the goodness in all people.  Thank YOU for coming with me.  For your support along the road.

Thank you.

Namaste.  (Because I know now what it means, and when I say it, I do so with truth and love)

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