A fragment of something
much bigger than itself
until it can’t break any more.
Now, it’s as Strong as it is
& has something to teach us all.
A fragment of something
much bigger than itself
until it can’t break any more.
Now, it’s as Strong as it is
& has something to teach us all.
I love my mother so much I can’t stand it.
Name this movie in the comments & win my utmost respect!
I love her completely, in many, completely different ways. First of all, she did SO right by me as a mom. Not everybody can say that about their mother, so I want to say that first. As my only parent, I love her the way I used to wish I had a father for ~ it was my idea for us to celebrate Mother’s Day and Father’s Day in 2006, and we still do. Today, while drafting a post about chronic, pervasive loneliness, I realized that she’s also like the older and younger and twin sister (and brother) I also used to pine for. How lucky and convenient for me! It’s also rather yogic, now that I think about it.
Yoga means union and integration, remember? What if it’s okay to have all your familiar needs integrated and satiated by one primary caregiver? Or two: your mother and your grandmother? What if I only even wanted a father &/or siblings because someone or something told me that was normal. The expectation for a family to look a certain way wasn’t something I learned until I already loved my family the way it was. Even then, what folks considered a “typical American nuclear family” was rapidly changing and continues to change from year to year.
Growing up, people (especially other kids) would get a little confused, then horrified when they found out my mother didn’t have the same last name as I. After their assumption that she was married was busted, I had to shatter their assumption that she was divorced. I was mostly amused by this, more so when it felt like they expected me to be ashamed. In fact I always thought it was cool that my mom denied my father’s request for marriage. Wait till you see how she did it!
Greg: Let’s get married.
Mom: Why do you want to marry me?
Greg: Uh… because you’re pregnant with my** child? I wanna do the right thing, you know? Blah-blah-blah, basic-basic-basic… I’ll probably stop cheating on you and everything… I mean, probably. We are sailors in our early-20s, ya dig?***
Mom: Nah, I’m good.
Turns out, he didn’t want to be a father anyway (tell that to my possibly-more-than-two-at-this-point younger half-siblings, whydontcha?), and I’ll have a whole ‘nother category for #daddy issues, don’t you fret. Long story short, NOT marrying him was the best decision my mother ever made for me. My grandmother made the opposite decision. Nobody. Ever talks about her husband, but sometimes you could taste the bitterness just by being in the same room with her. Another story for another day.
After my grandmother’s generation, marriage in my family became the exception, not the rule. Fathers were largely absent from their children’s lives as if it were a matter of course, even my mother’s own brothers. Sometimes while living in the same city! The only married uncle, Uncle J, almost got a pass… until I met my cousin D, who was raised by a single mother around the corner from his younger half-brother without even knowing it. Does that even make sense? I’ll make y’all a chart if I bring this up again in a post about #daddyissues.
The only explanation for this I gleaned was that, in the words of their mother, my beloved Granma: “they ain’t shit, they ain’t never gonna be shit, and they daddy wa’nt shit, neither.” Apparently she’s not the only African American woman to say this (literally those same words) about her own children and/or their fathers. By the way, in case you don’t have the words memorized from your own childhood, “wa’nt” is how you’re supposed to pronounce “wasn’t.” Don’t worry, #notallmen guys. My mom had a few good men in her life, so I don’t think all men are trash because of my childhood. I think most men are trash from my late-adolescence-through-adulthood.
Back to my Dearest Mumsy. No, I don’t really call her that. But the things she calls me would have you in tears ~ from laughter, confusion, horror, pick one! They all come out of a mother’s love and a Gemini’s creativity. I call her mom, but the point of this post is to try and articulate how much more she is to me. If you go by the already-dead-in-the-ground-and-rotting Traditional American Family Structure, you could say I “lacked” a father and siblings. But if you start with nothing ~ and all of us come into this world naked, alone, and screaming ~ if you start there, it’s easy to see I had a lot with “just” her. So did she with me.
Don’t worry…. I don’t think all men are trash because of my childhood. I think most men are trash from my late-adolescence-through-adulthood.
*I grew up in the ’90s, when whyte people were just getting into “non-traditional” &/or “blended” families. There were stories on TV and in children’s movies about how the rise in divorce and remarriage is making single-parenthood and step-parenting “normal for the first time in western history!” Because nothing is normal until whyte people start doing it (see also, New Kids on the Block, Eminem, big butts (thanks? Vogue?), and hair weaves, just to name a few).
**If you think my relationship with my mom is all Gilmore Girls and Sunshine, wait till you find out how I found out Greg might not be my father! #itgotbetter but it wasn’t pretty for a while.
*** Ok, I paraphrased this part, but they did meet in the navy. The rest is the story I grew up hearing from my mom, word-for-word. MY momma is a BAWSE! She always gon’ BE a bawse. And HER momma was a bawse, too!
Any other survivors of single-parenthood out there have something to say? I’m talking to parents AND children, by the way. Absent moms & dads have a voice here, too. Let’s talk in the comments section, unless you’re afraid to 🙂
Uhh…. Do What? What did I do?
Well, I took The Local Skank’s lyrics literally and Quit My Day Job to become a full-time blogger!!!111 … … … until the money runs out, of course.
Unfortunately, I did not join *this* circus, but their CD Collect All Five is legit!
How did I get here? Well, it really started with what I’ve been calling the MardiGra-calypse…. That’s when my ex-ex-ex café (yes, 3 jobs ago. yes, Mardi Gras is in February. Judge me all you want, just keep reading) closed indefinitely and unexpectedly the day before Mardi Gras, leaving all of us jobless at the end of a busy/hiring season. Did I mention that the schedule for the rest of February had been sent out already, so we basically had 2 weeks of anticipated pay revoked?
Kind of a dick move, right? Of course there’s a longer story leading up to that, but I’ll link to it here if I write a whole post about it. Anyways, about half the staff found new jobs and never returned. I applied to several cafés and accepted both positions I was hired for, thinking “I’ve had 3 jobs before! I’m only teaching yoga across town once a week! What could possibly go wrong?”
Don’t look at me like that! Honestly, the worst part was the physical pain/fatigue of working on my feet 6 days a week and teaching yoga during the hottest part of every Thursday. It wasn’t much more taxing on my body than working 3 jobs in the French Quarter back in 2008, and the hours weren’t nearly as long. I just felt it more, in part because I commuted by bike this time. Also 10 years makes a big difference in what your body is willing & able to do.
But what were my options? NOT pay rent? NOT give myself the financial security I might need, in case of another MardiGras-calypse or evacuation situation? OR work really hard until the festival season ends and stack those stacks?
But how did I deal though?? Well, this time* I complained, and played a videogames, and journaled, and drew mandalas to cope. It wasn’t easy, but I made more money than I had in a while. My sacrifices paid for an awesome Adaptive/Therapeutic Yoga Teacher training with one of my Shri~guru’s, Kelly Freaking** Haas, a long-overdue new laptop, a new passport, and two summer vacations, with plenty left-over.
[Yoga joke! pic of me patting myself on the back w/both hands. Caption: “#secretsecret, yogis only practice gomukhasana (cow-face pose) so that we can pat ourselves on the back… but you didn’t hear it from me!”]***
While I was working, I would fantasize about living off my savings and writing much more. After the Teacher Training over Memorial Day Weekend, I went down to on-call status at one café job. After an awesome trip to Austin in early July, my hours were reduced at the other café job so much it wasn’t worth my time to be there. I continue to teach a public yoga class on Thursday afternoons, whether it makes me any money or not.
The summer months are notoriously slow for the service industry in New Orleans. I’ve heard of people who work their butts off during the busy season to make rent for the whole summer. Now I’ve had the experience myself, and I must say, it was worth it.
Making the money was the easy part (LOL, of course I mean metaphysically). How I spend it & how I spend my time now are what really matters now.
Thanks for joining me! I look forward to more and more musings with you. Have you ever worked multiple jobs at once? Long or short-term? Was it worth it? How did you DEAL @_@???? Please share in the comments below. We all have a lot to learn from each other. Namaste, y’all.
*The first time, I had my very first sketchbook, a knitting project for myself, and an outdoor swimming pool to keep myself feeling balanced and calm. Also I had WHOLE DAYS off where I could go to Adam’s grocery for the cheapest poboys and beer &/or Plum Street Snoball Stand whenever I wanted. Ahh, youth!
**Her middle name is not Freaking, I just get excited whenever I talk about her because I’m a huge, geeky, wheezing, creepynotcreepy, fan-girl for this woman. The admiration just won’t fade! It is a great honor to call her one of my teachers and mentors. My heart and I bow at her lotus feet.
***As soon as I get a photographer (even if it’s a stranger on the street!) to capture this brilliant moment of physical comedy, I’ll edit this post. Pinkie-promise! Days from now you’ll revisit this article an weep with pride at how far I’ve come :,)
What is Yoga? What is Therapy? What is Yoga Therapy?
Yoga means union between all things, &/or awareness of this union in the present moment. The practice of yoga can be meditation, prayer/chanting, making cool shapes with your body, but most of all, conscious breathing. All you have to do is unite your consciousness with your breath, mind, and body; eventually achieving a sense of one-is-allness with the Universe as a whole. It’s a great feeling!* We good? Good. Moving on.
Therapy (at least according to me**) is a safe space for you to explore what it means to be yourself. True Love is an example of therapy. Not Love the feeling, Love the ACTION. What is Love? Love is patient, love is kind… Love listens for the sake of understanding, not just waiting to speak. Love asks questions to further that understanding. Love encourages true expression with no judgment. Love is curious about who you are the way we’re curious about our lovers’ bodies. If we’re receptive to it, Love ~ &/or Therapy ~ can liberate us from the binds we place around our hearts and minds and actions.
Yoga Therapy is the application of the physical &/or meditative practice of Yoga in any of the ways in which yoga can be therapeutic… there are many. Mindfulness and Acceptance Therapy could cost you hundreds of dollars an hour, and it wouldn’t change your body. Practicing yoga ~ the way I practice ~ is essentially the same thing, only framed as an unapologetic act of Self-Love.
My relationship with myself had always been shrouded by some degree of clinical depression (see what NAMI has to say about dysthymia here!). Very often, the love that my friends and family had for me wouldn’t register, like there was a barrier between their affection and my heart. I now think that was a symptom of me not yet loving myself; I didn’t even know how to start. More on that later.
If you’re reading this, we probably have a lot in common. Maybe you’re Queer or Blaq or FemmeAF or “too smart for your own good” or in recovery (from codependency, organized religion, academia, divorce, abusive relationships, disordered eating, or all of the above), maybe not. Maybe we could stand touching noses for a week and never see eye-to-eye!*** But if you soften your gaze, and listen from a place of Love, I promise you’ll recognize a piece of yourself. It might not seem like it sometimes, but we really are made of the same stardust. Yoga therapy means reuniting all the parts with the whole with Love. I truly hope my words will bring us all closer.
Welcome to my perspective. Namaste, y’all.
*Another way to say it is “Divine Consciousness.” Christians might describe the feeling as “God’s Love.” A Buddhist might say “Nirvana.” FSM-followers (What? You don’t know?) would say they’ve been “Touched by His Noodley Appendage.” Same experience, different words. NOTE: Like all feelings, the sensation comes and goes based on the stimuli in your environment. In other words: the more you practice, the more you feel it; the less you practice, the less you feel it.
** I’m no doctor, but I did spend about 4 years in a Clinical Psychology Doctorate program, 3 years as a patient of psychotherapy, 2 years on-and-off of Fluoxetine (knock-off prozac), and 1 year as a bilingual social worker in Chicago…. That’s just the short story. Eventually I’ll publish a longer explanation of why I’m a valid source of information… or not, lol. If you don’t want to listen to me, listen to your intuition (it speaks from your heart and/or gut). Know that fear and excitement are physiologically the same sensation. Sit with whatever your body is telling you until you know what your truth is.
*** Sooooo many bonus points if you get this reference. Please comment below!
July 12th, 2018: Changed title of Homepage post from “What is this?” to “Where am I?” I think it goes better leading in to the disco ball metaphor.
On my 2nd or 3rd steep of tea, Café Girl,* L., asked me what I was working on and I told her about my blog, half-jokingly. To me “I’m working on my blog” sounds pretentious AF no matter how you say it, so I might as well say it pretentiously. I also fear that I come across as pretentious whenever I talk about what I do ~ can’t say I do it for a living yet, but here we are: putting one foot in front of the other. What do I do? I’m a Yoga Therapist/Life-Coach.
L and I talked about whether Life-Coach still sounds as fake and pretentious as it did the last time I heard it discussed… in a psychology class… 10 years ago… it does. I said “it sounds like I’m full of shit, right?” L said “it sounds like something rich people pay a lot of money for.” To which I replied “hey, I’m not opposed to that.” L agreed.
When I say I’m a Yoga Therapist, people (L included) don’t usually know what I mean, but no preconceived notion is definitely better than a negative one. People who are immediately attracted to my “job title” make the most compatible clients. People who are immediately repulsed by the words “yoga” &/or “therapy” could probably benefit the most from working with me, but I’ve never talked someone from that end of the spectrum into giving it a try. Hopefully I at least plant the idea-seeds that yoga is therapeutic, that people in America who look like me practice yoga and therapy; that yoga and therapy may look different than what most people expect…
Oh yeah, the review:
If you didn’t know, there are two locations of Envie Espresso Bar and Café in the French Quarter. I like the one on UPPER Decatur (308 @Conti versus 1241 @Barracks) because it’s closer to bike to and generally smells a lot better. I was there from roughly 9-11 pm on a Thursday. Totally clean, no line/crowd, as you’d expect. Absolutely Zero cracktivity in all this time, which could be attributed to the New Moon (opposite of full, so no crazys?), how BRIGHT the lights were on, or just really good luck. L’s partner came in and cuddled a bit at an empty table when she wasn’t busy, now he’s helping her with the trash ~ ALL of which I think only makes this experience cuter. Never did his presence interfere with her work & like I said, the place was spotless (Don’t come for her!).
It’s about time for me to leave to catch the last streetcar, but now I want to stay! At first it was difficult to think of what to write about, but once I started editing my first post ever, I was thoroughly engaged, despite how baggy my eyelids feel.
Okay, problem solved: the song “Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow” is playing, and I want to pack up because I know it won’t get better than this ^_^ The only downside is now I’m thinking of Tingyo.. at least I have a cute text to send him. Thank you, The Shirelles ❤
*Usually I detest calling women “girls,” but I call myself and others Café Girl sometimes because I think it’s cute 🙂 What do you think? Comment below, if you wish.