Wednesday, June 9, 2010


Monday was a low day for me. After talking about the happy/sad thing, sad ended up kicking this shit out of happy. Sometimes the ache in me for Lucy is overwhelming. I miss her like I knew her. I miss her like we lived a lifetime together, which I suppose we did. We lived her lifetime together. My eyes would catch the glint of her urn, as I passed through the living room with a load of laundry, and I would be crying before I realized it. Where do these days come from? Why, on some random Monday when my husband is off work and the children are happy, am I reduced to a puddle of self-pity over Lucy's death? Will there ever be a time when I am not in turmoil over this turn of events?

I did it again. Signed up for a thing. I always do that when I am depressed. I have failed at NaNoWriMo. Twice. My RAoK Fridays petered out after a few months. Okay, when I signed up for a century ride, I did it, but I bitched the whole way there. Yet this seems decidedly more doable. It is the 21.5.800, which means 21 days of doing yoga, 5 days a week and writing 800 words each day.

Eight hundred words is really doable, I thought. And maybe I could get somewhere with my personal writing. I will try really hard not to pull a Proust and word-fill this space, obsessively checking the Word Count feature. I promise. Maybe I will be story telling a bit more this month. But let's be honest, I never really need motivation to write anymore. I write 800 words in emails on a daily basis. (poor you who emails with me.) I just need the time and space to write. I suppose the part that appealed to me most was the moving part.

I feel the heat of Summer Solstice bearing down on me. Eighteen months. One and a half years. It seems so long now, and then also not so long. One and a half years of having every idea I had of the universe and myself completely obliterated. I think that is why this challenge appealed to me right now at this moment--the physicality. I want to rebuild myself, physically. I want to make peace with this body. I want to forgive this body. I just do not know how to do that anymore. I thought birthing a living child would give me confidence again in the strength and health of my body. It didn't, sadly. Among my losses, I count a healthy, loving relationship with my body. I hate it. Really despise its curves, its rolls, its betrayal. I was utterly convinced that my body, which I once trusted to carry me through apocalypse, was a dying animal. A failing. I have nothing left to trust about these limbs, these organs. My daughter died for no reason but this body. What is it next capable of?

I once was an athlete. I have to say it out loud, because I don't believe it now. I pushed my body. I punished it into muscles to take me further and faster. While I have never been a waif-y creature, I was always self-confident because my muscles stood as testaments to my hard work.

Yoga after Lucy's death became a taunting ex-lover. Yoga was my time with Lucy, my moment of peace in the week. I loved yoga, the meditation, the movement, the physicality of the spirituality. But Lucy's death and the weird relationship I had with the yoga teachers made yoga feel so far removed from my circle of healing.  Sure, this last year, I still did it, fumbling in my fatness and depressed exhaustion, but I didn't love the power of warrior position anymore. I didn't feel exhilarated and at peace. I felt like I had so far to go to love this flesh and to relove yoga that mostly I would detach during sessions. I could only feel its bloody limitations, not the freedom of movement and breath.

I was married once to someone who is not currently my husband. (Okay, maybe that convoluted sentence was a bit of word filling.) We were young and stupid and married on a whim. We believed we were different. We weren't.  As the young and stupid and married are wont to do, he cheated on me and I stayed, resented him and made his life hell. I am not proud. I was a shrill harpy devoid of compassion for his joie de vivre. We slowly destroyed each others' spirit. (We are friends now, and I think he would agree.) You really never know how you are going to react in the moment you find out your life is about to fall apart, but when I found out that my husband cheated on me, I hung upside down.

No. Really.

There are a thousand things I thought I would have done in that moment. Punch him. Kick him. Call him a rat bastard. But hang upside down like some new age lunatic, no. But I said something akin to "La-la-la-la, I didn't hear that." I put my proverbial fingers in each ear, ran outside to the laundry line and hung upside down. I let the blood rush to my head and closed my eyes.

Now what?

I flipped down, and we talked. I cried mostly, and called him a shit. After a few hours of finger pointing, asking for details and otherwise doing things which would cause long-term damages to my psyche, I asked him for a moment. I walked outside with a pack of cigarettes and begun running. Even though I have always been an athlete, running was something that was part of sports I did, but not a joy in and of itself. It was a summer night in the desert. I ran for miles, through the stadium and campus and on roads near houses I have never seen, and turned around and ran home. There was a calm in the sweat. A block from our house, I sat on a stranger's stoop and smoked a cigarette. I had nothing positive to say, so I stopped speaking. I just cried. And practiced kung-fu. For months.

There was something magical and beautiful about those moments of complete devastation. They were so completely, un-selfconsciously instinctual. I wanted the giddiness of blood rushing to my head. I wanted to be away from the hell, so I ran. And yet no matter how long I hung upside down, or how far I ran, my problems were still right side up at home. But somehow I still was panting and sweating and feeling powerful. My youthful visceral reaction to devastation was to move.  My soul was on hot coals and I kept bouncing around my life.

That was not my reaction to Lucy's death. My reaction was decidedly staid. Static. I only wanted to sit and be still. To lie still and become part of the landscape. To be a pebble at the feet of the universe. I catch my reflection in the mirror, and it isn't the fatness that bothers me, it is the weakness. The decidedly unpowerful person I have become.

This is my first concentrated attempt at reconciling the old me and the new me.  I want to be an athlete again. I want to be the cyclist again. The basketball player. The kung-fu girl. Sure, I am starting with a meager twenty minutes of yoga a day. I am ready to make that commitment to and for myself.  I know yoga and writing won't fix my grief, but it might take me out of it for a moment or two. And sometimes that seems powerful enough. A moment or two of peace, because that is a moment or two more than I had yesterday.


  1. I can soooo relate to this. Before, I did yoga almost daily - for 10 years, almost daily. I wasn't skinny, I was fit with lovely muscley, I can't. I can't be alone with my thoughts, I can't stand the teachers who speak quietly and softly and have a smile like there is nothing in the world bad enough to want to hurl yourself off the nearest bridge. I tried going back after I lost the boys but the teacher always wants to play "get to know you..." I just started to cry and ended up leaving before the class started. Haven't been back since. I'm trying to love this body again but it's hard. It's just so hard.

  2. I can relate to this so well. While pregnant with our first child, I did yoga at least twice a week. Not prenatal, chill out yoga, but full on Vinyasa III classes. Handstands. Crow and Crane.

    While PG with our second, who is now gone, I didn't practice, but still saw friends from class here and there.

    After our second, I was immediately drawn to class---it was all I wanted. I craved the poses. And then I went to class, and week after week, something or someone would remind me, make a comment, ask a question. And then one week there was the hugely, gracefully, beautiful pregnant woman practicing.

    I haven't gone back to class or practice. I can't be silent with my thoughts for that long, and I can't be frustrated with my body for yet another THING.

    But I do miss it, terribly. And I do miss our little girl, even though, like Lucy's, her lifetime was spent inside me.

    I look forward to following your yoga and writing journey--heck, maybe I'll join you.

  3. It's funny how people always say "you're so strong" when you lose a child... (because everyone thinks they would just die too right? ouch). I never did feel that way though. And yeah, two years on I feel fragile and out of touch with my body. I've always been a fat girl (always up and down but never skinny) but I've always reached a point where I have enough and I start exercising and getting to a fitness I feel reasonably comfortable with... I don't seem to be able to do that anymore and it really bugs me. I try and try but I am so out of touch with my own body. I will never be an athlete, but it would be nice to be fitter, to have more energy. I get this post. We come from such different backgrounds, but even "I" get this post. I hope we can both find some reconcilation between who we used to be and who we are now.

    I'd do the yoga thing with you but my video player is busted. :(

  4. Beautiful post.

    A year or so before I got pregnant I signed up for a few yoga classes at our community center. I loved it. It was so calming and regenerating.
    After I had Shealyn I thought about going back. But like everyone has said I am afraid to be alone with my thoughts. But I think I will go back to it soon. I think this 21.5.800 is a good idea and it just might help with the grieving process. I've been having some health issues but once all of that gets fixed my just my start my own soul searching project like this. Good luck in you journey.

    On a side note I think about you and Lucy everyday. Now before you get all 'omg stalker' There is a street I drive past everyday named Lucy Rd and a say a little prayer.


  5. I totally get the happy/sad thing. Before, I don't think I ever thought I could be both at the same time, but I am. Good luck with this new venture...I say do it while it is working for you, and if you don't see it all the way through, that is ok! xx

  6. I am in a very similar 'place' right now. I'm glad you're getting up, and deciding to move again, for you, to reconcile the old and new.
    I send you you lots of encouragement. I look forward to reading about this new journey.

  7. I admire you so much, Ang. I wish I had more time to take on similar commitments.

    By the way, I practice yoga at home fairly regularly and the best thing I ever did was sign up to yogaglo (

    I hope you don't mind me approximating spam in your comments, but it really is ace.

  8. "I miss her like I knew her".
    Yup, that's exactly it right there.
    And good luck with 21.5.800. You'll do great at it, I know it.


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