Laughing quietly to myself

About how I was watching the Norwegian black metal documentary Until the Light Takes Us about the guys who caused all kinds of ruckus including suicide, murder, and church burnings and I was like, "Babe, can you pause it? I have to hydrate for yoga."


Pop Tarts + Colonics

Jess: Hey chicos, I want to pass on the resume of a college friend of mine. Halle just left her job in New York and is extremely capable, overachieving, and badassed. Thought you should have it in case anything comes up.

John: Thanks Jess, I'll keep her in mind though these days it's not more than the occasional runner gig.

Jess: Well I'm the last person who would turn her nose up at a runner gig considering how that's I got started in this biz! Also, Halle knows that since she visited me on tour back in the days when I hung 15 8-foot tall Pop Tart banners around the arena...

John: I hate dealing with banners.

Jess: Do you happen to remember when I threw a bunch of them in the trash compactor in Portland, ME? I got in trouble with Marisa that day but I had HAD IT.

John: HAHA!!! Yes! FYI, I just got back from a colonic... something that you and G did together. It always cracked me up. Is it wrong that I kind of liked it? Oh my!

Jess: !!!!!! Now I'm going to have nightmares about those tubes tonight. Having said that, G and I have never laughed harder together than we did in the waiting room of the Tummy Temple so it's also a good memory and not 100% traumatizing.


Hot yoga

Every five or six years I try yoga, go to one class, feel shamed by my inability to balance and concentrate and quickly renew my claim to not like it, never mind the fact that so many people I know greatly enjoy yoga and/or ARE TOTALLY OBSESSED with it. Most recently, I was talked into a hot yoga class.

When I found out the yoga studio was in Brentwood, I grimaced. I was quickly given shit and reminded that Brentwood is only 20 minutes away. Because I've gotten used to the accessibility of my neighborhood in East Nashville and because I don't like cars, driving, or rush hour, to me Brentwood is psychologically much further away but I relented because I felt like I was being a dick and that, I'm guessing, is not what yoga is about.

Nicki told me that I needed to bring a bath towel, water, and to arrive a half hour early. The class started at 4:30; I left home at 3:00. Lest you think I was being jumpy and neurotic, I'll tell you that it took me 20 minutes just to get to the right highway because Nashville traffic can be awful. I know people from bigger cities go, "You call that traffic? I'll show you traffic!" and get all proud of how terrible they have it but I disagree. The roads here can't support the number of cars on them and it makes everyone standstill on a regular basis. Standing still is great when you are in a yoga class trying to follow your instructor's order to be the tree, not so great when three highways are narrowing to two lanes and miles of red brake lights.

Example: Interstate traffic was so slow on my way to yoga that a man selling The Contributor newspaper chose to sell from where the on-ramp meets the merging lane because cars were creeping along slowly enough to stop and hand him a buck.

Example: I was going slowly enough to snap photos of stopped cars to text to Matthew, "So fucking relaxing!" even though I don't believe in texting while driving.


I finally made it to 65 South and picked up speed. That's when I realized that I forgot to bring a towel and water. I had a brand new yoga mat I bought at Target and an athletic tank top compressing my midsection JUST IN CASE I got ballsy in yoga and tried to stand on my head and didn't want my shirt to fly up. Looking back, this was a precaution I need not have worried about.

Ah well, I thought, I'm still early enough that I'll find the studio and I should still have enough time to stop somewhere and pick up a towel and water. It's the suburbs, there will be shopping centers. Once I located Fahrenheit Yoga, I pulled into a parking lot and searched nearby stores. There was a Target but even closer, there was a Publix supermarket. I thought about the Kroger by our house, the one we casually refer to as "murder Kroger" where there's always a changing miscellaneous section that sells random crap like towels.

This Brentwood Publix was not murder Kroger. I walked the aisles quickly, running out of time, looking for towels. When it became clear there were none, I noticed every item with absorbent properties and imagined different scenarios: showing up for yoga with a bag of cotton balls, wiping my forehead with Pampers, covering my mat with paper napkins. Dang it. Then I saw the blankets and knew I was bringing an orange fleece blanket to hot yoga.


The woman behind the front desk at the studio asked if I'm Jessica and informed me that since I'm a new student, I get a starting deal of 10 classes for $10. I'd paid $20 online for one class which seemed STEEP so it was cool to hear that I was now getting a price that was 20 times better but it meant I needed to come nine more times to make it work. Fahrenheit Yoga is so sneaky already, trying to trick me out of quitting right away. If they think that money is the way to make a "This hurts, I'm stopping" person into a "No pain, no gain" person, well, in my case they are right.

I was given a tour and instructions: if I feel lightheaded I am to lie down with my feet toward the wall and head toward the mirror and I was to put my "towel" over my mat. I laid my fleece blanket over my mat, giving the impression that I had arrived not to get all centered and whatnot but to have a picnic. Back in the locker room, I overheard a girl telling her friend that she lies on her stomach and meditates while waiting for the instructor to arrive. And I may be wrong but then it sounded like she also made fun of someone's blanket. The combination of the locker room setting and the fact that I showed up with funny looking stuff is giving me flashbacks to the first day of seventh grade and my goofy tie-dyed shorts.

Upon returning to the studio I laid on my stomach as if to meditate but I really just checked out everyone as they come in. To my mind, the other students were all perfect; my inferiority complex was kicking into high gear. The people who weren't meditating were doing complex looking stretches and backbends, calmly twisting this way and that. I felt defensive. I was thinking that if I'm going to do yoga, I need to find a low rent YMCA somewhere.

This defensiveness had been brewing since I'd left my home, when I put on baggy sweats and Matthew's metal band hoodie over my tight yoga gear and pronounced, "I am NOT wearing yoga clothes in public!" and "I will NOT get smoothies at Whole Foods after my yoga class!" Even though I love smoothies and have been eating one a day lately and certainly no one was ordering me to do anything.


The class started with a series of breathing exercises. I don't know if it was just the hotness of the room or that I haven't exercised in a long time but I got really lightheaded and almost passed out. I opened my eyes as wide as possible because I felt like if I blinked I'd fall over and I concentrated on staring at myself in the mirror. I know they told me to lie down if I needed to, but the class started TWO MINUTES AGO. I have pride.

I made it through and sweated a river for an hour and half. I did lie down several times later in the class, my ankles wobbled, my knees cracked, and I had to do a lot of peeping to follow along with the others but the instructor was nice. There weren't many moments when it felt good per se, but I was able to imagine that it might feel better if I stick with it more than I have historically. At the end, we laid on our backs in the darkened room while someone walked around, sticking cold lavender-scented hand towels in our hands. I took that sucker, draped it over my face, and fully accepted the instructor's invitation to stay there as long as I needed to. Eventually I sat up, wiped off all the orange blanket fuzz that was coating my sticky skin and tried not to think too hard about the next nine times.


This is my marriage

I sit at my desk researching cocktails and food to make for our housewarming party while Matthew scrubs away on the new couch behind me, removing the ink stains I somehow left earlier when I was writing in my journal. He uses a homemade concoction of hairspray, a rag, and a vegetable scrub brush; it works. A few minutes later I'm dancing backwards from the kitchen to my office and he grabs my arm to keep me from sticking my foot into Patsy's water bowl.

"I'm Jessica," he says, "and I break everything!"

"I do not break everything," I reply. "I just mess it up."

And it gets fixed. By someone (usually him).


Laughing quietly to myself

About how Matthew said if he were a stripper this would be his signature song: Fuji Club by Egyptrixx feat. Trust


Laughing quietly to myself

About how Matthew is recommending the Bones Brigade documentary and talking to our ex-military, actor, checkerboard Vans-wearing, skateboarding plumber about the movies the plumber has been in while he fixes our water heater. From my eavesdropping it sounds as if he's played mostly generals and thugs.


Laughing quietly to myself

About what Renee said about Chik-fil-A on Christmas night when I was sitting in her kitchen drinking wine and Fireball whisky: You can't make sweet tea with hate in your heart.


Thanatosis of a blog

Surprise! This blog is not dead. It was just playing dead though I haven't figured out if it was an involuntary reflex like the paralytic immobility that sharks and beetles sometimes go into when faced with a threat, or thanatosis, when opossums feign death in order to avoid unwanted attention. But in my case, what threats? What unwanted attention?

I just know that I stopped writing and slowly stopped reading a lot of blogs over the last few months. I saw an old friend at a Christmas party in Cincinnati and she asked me what my favorite blogs are; I had a hard time answering because I've been hitting the Unsubscribe button so much. If 2012 was about clearing out and paring down, I hope that this year is about recognizing and reintegrating what is important.

When I began to write online in 2005, I mainly wanted another outlet for my then-rabid journaling. As I traveled a lot in the subsequent years, blogging was a way for me to keep my friends and family informed of what was up with me, wherever I was. I've never been as good at outreach and community-building as a lot of bloggers so I didn't build a large readership or turn my thoughts into money. I didn't network or become a part of any blogging in-crowd and this was mostly okay with me, though I had moments of longing.

I made one stab at blog-building when I went to Camp Mighty just over a year ago but spent half of my time at the conference doing frantic work in my hotel room and had to leave early to work a concert. As I result, while I was inspired by the speakers and the motive of the gathering, I only had a few really good face-to-face conversations that made me feel connected.

My personal blogging denouement came when I admitted how little I like reading sponsored posts or have ads flashing on the sides of the screen. On the flip side, and I KNOW this is hypocritical I KNOW, I was annoyed by some of the repetitive me-me-me tales on personal blogs. Finally, the pressure! The pressure I felt from the style and design blogs: for my home, my clothes, my life to be perfectly executed. If not color coordinated, then artfully askew. At least on the surface.

It all got to me. I have time now but for most of last year I worked nonstop. And not being able to say much about my job left room for what? Photos of me drinking beer on rare nights off? Photos of my dog, my husband, the delightfully designed outfits I threw together, the meals I wasn't making? Nope, that's not why I started blogging, not entirely. Not that my reasons for writing now have to be the same as they were then but there have to BE reasons. And as I am more careful now about reading what makes me feel good and makes me think or laugh or learn, I'm going to try to write that way. There may be photos of my dog from time to time.