Submitted by megan on Mon, 12/15/2008 - 22:54
I did a handstand today.
You may remember that the last time I tried to do a handstand in yoga, it ended in terror and sobbing.
I firmly believe that your body holds memories, it stores feelings.
So when I did an assisted handstand, and it was using all the same muscles that get pulled when you fall down the stairs, and when you half suspect that you didn't used to fall down the stairs so much as you were so fucking miserable you wanted to hurt yourself but you didn't do that any more so instead you stopped eating and being careful on staircases, well. It was upsetting. To say the least.
Apparently those muscles, the ones that had worked so hard to keep me from going arse over teakettle and breaking something, I guess they'd collected a lot of sludge.
It was the same with Friday night. Watching my ex, my heart was getting pulled in the same way it had when I'd first seen him play, or the times when watching him as his purest, best self was what kept me in love through some pretty deep bullshit.
The sludge came flowing out pretty quickly. There was more sitting on the toilet fully clothed and dry sobbing. There was a stumbling walk home with my arms wrapped around my waist and not caring if anyone heard or saw. There was falling: into bed, into blogging. There was CT, three hours in the past, his gmail button still green, to soothe me and send virtual hugs.
I cried more after that. It felt like I'd left a trail from the dance floor to the bathroom to my house to my bedroom, pooled in the middle of the bed; shining in the bar light and streetlamp and moonlight.
It was quite something.
Paul joined me at yoga tonight, and on the way home, I was burbling a little about having done handstand. I told him about the crying on my previous attempt.
"Not that it was that unusual," I said. "I cry in yoga all the time."
He laughed, gave me a playful push into the former Metropolitan Bible Church. "You don't mind looking stupid in yoga then!" *
"God, no. I love looking stupid in yoga. Really, though, I've just done it so much I stopped caring." I paused. "Yoga is my therapy."
I groaned inwardly when the teacher announced we were going to work on handstand. This was the first yoga class in a long time I'd done with a friend, and the first class that Paul and I had been to together. At that point, he didn't know I was likely to start leaking saltwater at any moment, and it didn't really seem the time to give him the heads up.
One of the ways in which yoga has been therapeutic is that I've stopped pushing myself so hard all the time; have learned to be more forgiving of my foibles and limitations. When to push those limits; when to be kind.
If I were not up to handstand, I promised myself, I would work on another arm balancing pose. I gave myself a white permission slip.
And hoped that the teacher would change his mind.
He didn't. I pulled my mat over to the wall. I put my hands on the ground. I looked at them. Leaned back, leaned forward. Listened.
The lizard voice was quiet.
There was another voice, its words little susurrations falling between my outspread fingers: sokay, sokay, sokay, sokay.
I kicked up. My foot hit the wall. My left shoulder almost gave out. I swore. Straightened it. Kept my foot on the wall. Kept my gaze down.
Breathed. Calmly. Deeply. Listened.
No more sludge. I don't have to hold on so tight to keep myself upright any more. After Friday night, those muscles have been washed clean.
*Okay, so when I write it like that, it comes off sounding really harsh. In person, it was jokey teasing.