Thursday, April 29, 2010

Learning to Fall, or Fat Girls Can Float

I've been absent. Not from the mat, just from the net. I've been overthinking like a champion. And my body has responded by rebelling against my will. So much has happened, that I don't know where to start.

I woke up to the fact that I was in trouble about ten days ago when I caught myself thinking clearly and distinctly: "I hate myself." I was horrified, but not surprised. It's not true. I don't hate myself. And at the same time, I do. And the craziest part of this is that when I work myself into this particular self-loathing corner, it is always, ALWAYS about my weight. My weight issues have robbed me of so much life. They are the ONLY thing that stop me. And I've sunk to a depth now where they sometimes stop me from even leaving the house.

I'm suffocating inside of a fat suit. Something has to change.

I had a medical scare last week that continued until this afternoon. My body seemed to seize up -- and not just in one way. I had four migraines in seven days. Some female issues. Not one but two rashes on my back. Defcon-2 allergies. And such a dearth of energy that I was too tired even to relax. Something was wrong, but it felt systemic. And I was terrified that I would be forced to stop practicing while I got fixed. Some days in class I felt physically weak. Sometimes I was mentally weak. And then there were the days when I felt needy as hell. Like I was in a tornado of terror -- stuck in the vortex -- not connecting with anyone else.

And still I felt myself move forward in some of my asanas. Which is what has kept me coming back.

This afternoon I had to go to the east side for an icky test -- and when I went into the dressing room where the gown was waiting, neatly folded, on the chair, the technician quickly said, "Wait a minute. Let me get you another gown." I wanted to get all faux-jovial and say, "You mean a fat girl's gown?" But I couldn't muster my old ally: self-deprecation. As the tech bustled around the corner I heard a male voice say something I couldn't make out, but which sounded like pity. My tech chuckled and replied, "It's not that bad." For a brief moment I hoped that I was mistaken and "it" was not me. But then the tech appeared around the corner with a maroon robe and closed the door behind me. When I unfolded the gown, it was big enough to wrap around myself twice. I wanted to wear it over my head in shame.

All my tests were fine. I'm apparently normal. Which means I'm fat because I did it to myself. According to my BMI, I'm obese. I realize I don't look it, but I weigh so much more than you would think. And yes, the number on the scale is supposed to be unimportant if you look okay -- which I no longer do. I am lugging this body around with me -- with extra weight equivalent to a dozen canned hams. My mind flies but my body nails me to the earth. And it is profoundly exhausting.

I love to move. It makes me unreasonably happy and always has. I would like to move freely, without having to use my hands to manually shift my belly fat so I can go deeper into a twist. I love clothes. I love making my own clothes -- I love being pretty. But I can do none of those things these days. I can't wear most of what I own. I have recently bought a few fantastic dresses -- because dresses are my outfit of choice -- and they don't yet fit. Anything looks good when your body looks good. Nothing looks right when it doesn't. And worse, nothing feels right.

When people look at me -- not everyone, but salesclerks, for example, and the star yoga teacher I saw in the locker room a few weeks ago before she taught a workshop at Yogaworks -- I can see what they're thinking. "Lazy, slothful, unaccomplished... the girl just doesn't try or she wouldn't look the way she does." None of that is true. The opposite, in fact. But I'm still hiding inside my own skin.

But I am so ready to strip it off. In fact, I have to do it, because my life is changing in a big way. Earlier this week, I completed a year-long graduate program. And on June 8th, I hand in my final script for the final week of As the World Turns. After 11 years of writing soaps -- with only about 3 months and the 100 day strike off in all that time -- it's done. My book is waiting for me. And my mind is beginning to sprout stories and ideas when I take time to listen. I have a vision for my life beginning June 9th. It's creative and exciting and expressive -- and in my vision I'm wearing sundresses and doing cartwheels.

The problem is, right now, I can't see through the fog from where I am to where I picture myself. But I can't stay here.

And so I am learning to fall. Since last June, I have been working on pincha mayurasana -- forearm stand. Oh my God, has it been slow. But my teacher hasn't given up on me. And I haven't given up on myself. Lately we've been working on the pose with split legs -- easier to balance -- as if one is walking a tightrope while holding a pole -- like Philippe Petit walking the wire between the Twin Towers. I need to find that balance point -- I keep skipping back and forth across it -- and I've begun to fall over -- with an earth-shaking thump that doesn't hurt a bit. In fact, it makes me want to giggle when it happens. At least, when I land on my ass, I know I haven't made an excuse for not trying. I haven't let fear or fat get the best of me. It's actually kind of an adventure. A necessary step in the pincha process. Now that I know I can overdo it without killing myself or others, it's time to back off and float into the asana.

And yes, fat girls can float. I intend to prove it. To myself.


Cldplay said...

You're such a great writer, I have to admit that you made me enjoy reading about my friend's pain -- a pain I admit I (and most of the women I know) share. Remember,it's your talent, and heart, and spirit that float. Just bring your body (which is beautiful in its own right, and capable of doing things others can only dream of) along for the ride. (And remember to sign up for that capoeira class we keep talking about taking ;-) ).

Cancion del Sol said...

Learning to fall. Yes, that's it exactly. Realizing we survive.. and get up to fall another day. It's hopeful and funny and the silly joy of giggling keeps you (and me) coming back. You go girl.