Wellness, or Something Like It

You start drinking hot lemon water every morning. Sometimes you get crazy and add in a little turmeric. You’re already feeling smug after one day of doing this, so you cannot imagine how Gwyneth must feel at this point. You even experience a modicum of compassion for GP, or maybe that’s just the yoga talking. You buy a ginger shot from the bougie juice place on South Lamar and feel so good about this that you go back next week and buy two shots to take home. The juice man asks if you want cayenne in your shots, and you say yes. Cayenne in your ginger shot will surely rid your body of “toxins”. You picture toxins as being little green men, like in the Mucinex commercials, running amok in your intestines. You go home, triumphant. Look at what a good person I am! You make your husband take a ginger-cayenne shot, too, and within five seconds you are both reduced to sputtering, blotchy messes. You spend the next thirty minutes on the bathroom floor, on the verge of vomiting. A part of you thinks, Maybe this is just what cayenne does to your body when you drink a lot of wine. You know, maybe there are tons of pesky toxins to flush out! You learn later that the man probably just overdosed on the cayenne. 

You drink green juice sometimes even though you are morally opposed to vegetables in liquid form. You use lavender and peppermint essential oils. You now have a regular yoga practice. You find a studio that you love, one that is appropriately crunchy. Your favorite instructor brings in a new instrument to play each week for chanting purposes, a collection of objects that vaguely resemble harpsichords and accordions. You’re still uncomfortable with saying Namaste to a white person, but you’re more uncomfortable with the idea of extreme fitness yoga, so you learn to acquiesce. You actually love yoga but you also caught yourself telling someone the other day that “Yoga just makes me feel more compassionate”, so now you keep your love of yoga to yourself.

(It does make you feel more compassionate, though.)

You put ashwagandha in your coffee every morning because this is what the owner of the bougie juice place does. It’s supposed to be great for fatigue. It’s supposed to make you focus. Of course, coffee is not great for fatigue, but you ignore this.

You take small stabs at self-care for maybe the first time ever. Before, it was all about experimentation. Now you find yourself leaning more towards intentionality. You moisturize daily and floss occasionally and you never skip your skin care routine. You try to stay off social media and you call your family. You aren’t quite ready to give up heavy drinking but you also gulp ginger tea after 9 pm like it's your job, so you think that this has to count for something. You go on walks through your neighborhood and you discover poetry that isn’t Walt Whitman or Robert Frost; Louise Gluck and Jane Hirshfield sort of save your life. You read and you write, and you do both every day, even if it’s just scrawling your thoughts for five minutes, because you finally realize that you need to do this to feel good about your place in the universe. 

You distract yourself from death in countless different ways: with forward bends and retinol cream, with lots of ornamentation, with grain bowls, because this is what it means to live well, isn't it?

Desert-Lonely in Terlingua in August

Essay #9 of the 52 Essays in 2017 Challenge.

Deep in a valley ringed by reddish purple peaks, like brilliant bruising. Has a sunset ever been so sustained? It seems to last for hours. The sun's actual rays are visible; they shoot off from the yellow-white orbit like spotlights, bursting across the pacific blue. I want to tilt towards the horizon, disappear into the layers of blue and gold and pearl pink. A kind of quiet exists here that is unique to the desert; the only sounds are different variations of rustling – the whooshing of the wind through the valley, a faint serpentine swish across the rocks. At midnight, coyotes yowl like college frat brothers. Spindly ocotillo plants jut out from the rock like Giacometti sculptures. All around us are the desert and the mountains and the moon, like one of those garish t-shirts you can only buy at gas stations in the Midwest, the ones with a wolf face or giant dreamcatcher emblazoned across the front. The warm glow of the sunlight on the rocks, that’s what sticks with me. And the solitude, the kind that fills you up.

Solitude can be measured on a spectrum according to the landmarks that surround you: Desert-lonely isn’t like ocean-lonely (call it a saltwater-specific ache). It’s not mountain-lonely, where your bones sense immense possibility but it’s all so removed from you (your hive of a city life) that you end up feeling alienated.

No, desert-lonely isn’t like those things. The nothingness in the desert is well-acquainted with you, and you with it. And if you stay out here long enough you just may start to understand some things.

Surrealismo in Mexico City

Essay #8 of the 52 Essays in 2017 Challenge.

"I will not return to a country that is more surrealistic than my paintings.” -Salvador Dali, on Mexico

***

We arrive in Mexico City at midnight.

Is it a cliche to say that it feels like a dream? Well, that’s precisely what it feels like, so to hell with it. I’m dreaming. And my particular dream bubble has been cooked up by equal parts Andre Breton/Leonora Carrington/Gabriel Garcia Marquez.

To enter a foreign city at night — your taxi shuttling headfirst into an underbelly of tunnels, zooming past indecipherable scrawl on walls — is to enter an unfamiliar underworld, one where you can’t communicate with its dark gods.

***

In Mexico City, my dreams are so interspersed with my waking world that I usually greet the day sweat-drenched and feeling like I’ve just stepped off a dance floor. Not a figurative dance floor, but an actual one. Each night, I transcend the incredibly porous membrane between wakefulness and sleeping; when my head hits the pillow, I cross over into a pane of reality that isn’t a dream state, just a different way of being awake. I greet that night’s partner, always someone I thought I'd long forgotten (How do you do, sixteen year-old boy I met at a party ten years ago?), and proceed to whirl off with him in clouds of smoke and spangly light.

All of it feels real, because it is.

***

I envision, as we walk through this city by day, my husband and I, that we’re scaling the back of a giant monster. Is it any wonder they call this place el monstruo? Its streets are limbs, lined with spidery entrails of taco wrappers; its belly rumbles with a hunger for the blood of its inhabitants. Or maybe I’m reading too much about the Aztec human sacrifices that took place here?

***

Glass-encased Virgins adorn every street corner but there are no public trash cans (no hay basura becomes our favorite phrase). Blots of modernist architecture (a shiny heap of twisted metal, a glittering gold tower with steps leading nowhere) break up the usual gray skyline of skyscraper-sculptures. We’re flaneurs along the length of the Avenue of the Dead in Teotihuacan; we tear up at the sight of Frida’s paints that still breathe with her lively spirit.

There are always quicksilver movements out of the corner of my eye. I feel as if I can part the smog with my tongue. I worry that I may turn the wrong corner (dimension) and my husband will no longer be standing next to me.

Regular intervals of time and concepts of space don’t exist. We’re constantly at risk of stepping out of this small block of “reality”, altogether. El monstruo may just decide to swallow us whole.

On Stephen King

Essay #7 of the 52 Essays in 2017 Challenge.

I read my first Stephen King book when I was twelve. It was The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon, and while I remember almost nothing of the plot, I do remember this: I fell headfirst. I felt, He is for me, and I am for him. In truth I'd always known this would be the case, ever since I first caught sight of that eerily green paperback splashed with a dark shadow of a girl on the cover.

With the exception of Francine Pascal (who wrote the Sweet Valley High series, duh), this marked the first time I'd fallen for an author or known that such a thing was possible. It's happened a few times since then, though not as often as I once thought it might. As it turns out, you only get a few of these grand sweeping author-reader love affairs in life, just as you do real lovers in real life. I imagine this is because we, as humans, have a threshold for the emotions we get to experience. At some point, we just give up on being awed. This isn't to say that I'm not awed by some of the authors I read today, but it is much rarer for an author to touch me in my secret sweet places now. And when they do, it never quite lasts in the same way. In high school, J.D. Salinger and Sylvia Plath and Ian McEwan did it. Later, Lorrie Moore and Joan Didion would become my kindred spirits, the women I'd turn to if I wanted to feel simultaneous consolation and scorn for my Midwest upbringing (Moore) or what it was like to be from someplace (Didion). I wanted to feel both things often. 

But nothing quite matches that early head rush of feeling that marks the beginning of my love affair with Stephen King. King is a through line in my life, from adolescence until now, and I can't say that about any other author I love. His books are accompanied by sharply drawn memories from childhood and adolescence that always give me pause -- they are physical talismans of what was, portals to the past.

Dreamcatcher: I was 15, found the paperback wrapped under the Christmas tree, spent the entirety of Christmas Eve poring through it. Bag of Bones when I was 17 and always in the pool and always in a bad mood. Being scared shitless in high school when I devoured 'Salem's Lot; I slept with the light on for a week. The Shining and Misery in my early twenties: re-discovering a lost love after a long absence. I read 11/22/63 three years ago and this became one of my favorite King novels to date. I turn to On Writing constantly; if there is a better book about how to be a writer, I don't know it. And then there are his short story collections. King is a master of many literary devices and genres, but short stories are his true, delicious forte. Different Seasons, the collection that also gave us three incredible films: Stand by Me, The Shawshank Redemption, and the underrated Apt Pupil. Everything's Eventual. Night Shift. 

I even used to have a recurring dream about Stephen King, after he had his infamous accident. In the dream, he is mangled and gray, and he looks older than I'd imagined he would be. I reach out to him, wordlessly. This is all I remember.

Right now, I'm reading Full Dark, No Stars and it is chillingly good, as good as anything he's ever done. The Times review of this book is my favorite thing: "A writer who takes such unabashed joy in the act of storytelling is a rarity. This naked pleasure is King's secret ingredient: it makes his work -- good or bad -- weirdly irresistible, even addictive. And it disarms criticism, as boyish enthusiasm often does." This sentiment encapsulates so much of what I (and millions of others) love about King. He makes you remember that reading can be a wholly pleasurable escape, a rollicking ride into oblivion. He makes you remember that reading is fun, and people who love what they do are fun. Yes, everyone should read Nabokov, but everyone should also read Stephen King. 

***

For my 27th birthday, I road-tripped the snowy Maine coastline with two friends, and I convinced them to stop off in Bangor, just to take a peek around. I knew that King kept a home here (though there were rumors that this was just for the fans). We found the home easily, thanks to the fact that it's listed as "Stephen King's House" on Google Maps. The house is a Victorian Gothic wet dream, all blood-red columns and the requisite wrought-iron fence with black bats and spiderwebs. When we pulled up, I wanted to feel an icy chill down my back, a deep sense of apprehension that something was amiss here, because that would be the only appropriate emotional reaction to seeing Stephen King's home. And, the thing is...that's sort of what happened. Looking at that house tucked away from the street, its malevolent shutter eyes staring back at us, it was hard not to feel that there was something deeply dark and possibly evil at work here. There was even a dead squirrel, nearly bisected in half, hanging from a tree branch near the property. 

My friends and I screamed and laughed and took silly photos, and at one point we all touched the gate in tandem and said a prayer to "invite some of Stephen King's energy and creativity into our lives." (We also saw a psychic and did several tarot readings on this trip, so this was hardly out of character.) And as we drove away, I thought about the kind of storyteller who loves nothing more than to create living, breathing worlds. I thought about the kind of storyteller who loves to create worlds so much that he bought a Halloween horror show house for the people who lived, and still live, in these worlds: all the kids, and young adults, and grown-ups who are still slightly afraid of monsters under the darkened bed.

 

Love and Travel, and a Killer Bull

Essay #6 of the 52 Essays in 2017 Challenge: Last month, the New York Times put a call out for 500-word stories that explored "the intersection between love and travel". I decided to submit something -- faking it 'til you make it is a real thing, damn it. Here it is.

I’m peering out over a valley in Ecuador, in a small town called Isinlivi. Terraced green mountains climb into the distance, lacey fog spills out into the valley.

I’m standing here with my soon-to-be-husband, Alex. We’re watching the way the sunlight illuminates certain peaks when he proposes, semi-spontaneously. I say yes.

We’ve been backpacking through Colombia and Ecuador for nearly three months, and we’re going home in three days. We are in love with Ecuador. We are in love with its lovely greenness, its flavorful soups, the heights, the colors, the light, the people.

And so, to cap off the trip in an appropriately grand fashion, we’ve decided to do the Quilotoa Loop, a multi-day hike strung between tiny Andean mountain villages. It only makes sense that we’d end this life-changing trip newly engaged to be married, as well – one clearly delineated marker to the next.

Unfortunately, when we begin the hike, we are miserable. Alex has a virus, and I am carrying our giant pack because he’s so weak. We are toting paper instructions with storybook-like directions (“Turn right at the clump of three trees, across the river”) and we keep getting lost. The scenery is incredible, but we don’t take any pictures.

We’re making our way across a mossy-green field, carpeted with flowers and mountain streams, when I hear an ominous snuffling sound. I look, and there is a giant white bull tethered to a precarious-looking wooden stake in the earth, standing next to a river. I feel a tiny balloon of worry in my stomach but don’t say anything, even when it becomes clear that the bull is standing directly on the trail. We glance warily at each other and begin inching around the creature. Alex makes it across and I am almost there.

Suddenly, the bull snorts (an audible harbinger of death if I’ve ever heard one) and charges, knocking me to the ground. I am screaming, “HELP MEEE!”, over and over. I cannot breathe. Alex flings a water bottle against the bull’s broad back, to no avail. The animal has me pinned to the ground and is (softly, almost experimentally) butting me with his substantial horns. Luckily, I am wearing a backpack the length of my body, which helps to cushion the blows. (Though I will be aching for days afterward.)

It happens fast: one minute a mythically huge bull is crouched over me; the next, Alex has grabbed the straps of my pack and hoisted me to my feet. The bull retreats to the banks of the river. I am crying, dazed with relief. Later, when I ask what Alex did to make the bull flee, he responds, “I punched it.”

It’s this moment, the first of many, when I realize I have made the right choice by agreeing to marry Alex. Because we all need someone who will, sometimes quite literally, have our backs. We all need someone who will punch the bull that has us pinned, screaming for help, to the ground.

Birthday Weekend in New Orleans: Fragments

I am woefully behind on the 52 Essays in 2017 challenge, but there's no better time than the present to catch up, so...here's Essay #5.

I am standing on a darkened corner in the Bywater neighborhood of New Orleans. All around me, dozens of crammed, candy-colored shotgun homes hug the street. Cool pinks, violets, blues, deep greens, all gone pale in the darkness. I breathe in the air: rain slick, a tinge of BBQ, a hint of trash. Faint piano chords trickle down from a golden-lit upstairs apartment. A man stares at me from underneath his wide-brimmed hat as he steers his bicycle around the dips and cracks in the sidewalk. Underneath the muggy moonlight, standing on this quietly foreign street, I think about how much I like arriving in a new place at night. How strange it is, to drive through the dark for hours and then end up in a city you've never seen before. It reminds me of something I felt in childhood, though I'm not sure what. 

My husband and I are staying in an Airstream trailer in the front yard of one of these homes. The woman who owns the trailer and the home is, coincidentally, from our neighborhood in South Austin. The woman says that this neighborhood, the Bywater, is like our Austin neighborhood was 15 years ago -- gentrification hasn't swept the streets yet. There are no bakeries that solely subsist on the profits of high-end cupcakes. I sort of hate it when people talk like this.

We found the trailer on Airbnb, and we try to ignore all the signs plastered everywhere that have the Airbnb logo with a giant red X slashed across it. We tell ourselves that, because we're renting a trailer, we aren't contributing to pricing people out of their homes. This is sort of true but mostly not. 

We're here for the weekend, just a short trip. It took us ten hours to make the drive from Austin, when it was supposed to take seven, so we're crabby and hungry and in need of wine. But we brought our bikes, and our Airbnb host gives us a dinner recommendation for a place that's just a few blocks away, and it isn't long before we feel cheered at the thought of being in this city, at night. 

A word on food: We end up spending more money on meals (and booze) than on the gas it took to get here. Here are some of the things we eat, over the course of two days: potato gnocchi with pesto and kale, tuna carpaccio with arugula and shaved Parmesan, and cauliflower and olive oil bruschetta at Mariza, on our first night; crawfish poutine at St. Roch Market for breakfast; the most perfectly seared scallops and fried Gulf oysters at La Petite Grocery; giant shrimp po'boys at Parkway; crab cake Benedict and a salmon-Brie grilled cheese at Elizabeth's. We drink whiskey at a dive bar called Vaughn's, multiple bottles of red at Bacchanal, craft cocktails at Horn's. We even drink two Hurricanes along Bourbon Street before ducking away from the frat boy fray into Three Muses, a jazz bar on Frenchman Street. It's okay because if one can't be indulgent in New Orleans, when can one be? 

I read the New Orleans essay from Joan Didion's "South and West" while we're lazing in City Park, and it has a profound effect on me for the rest of the trip. In the essay, Didion describes the city as such: "In New Orleans in June the air is heavy with sex and death, not violent death but death by decay, overripeness, rotting, death by drowning, suffocation, fever of unknown etiology. The place is physically dark, dark like the negative of a photograph, dark like an X-ray; the atmosphere absorbs its own light, never reflects light but sucks it in until random objects glow with a morbid luminescence...In the hypnotic liquidity of the atmosphere all motion slows into choreography, all people on the street move as if suspended in a precarious emulsion, and there seems only a technical distinction between the quick and the dead." I read this while sitting under a grove of live oaks. Silver tendrils of Spanish moss lace their bark and drip from their branches. I write the following notes of my own: "A genteel veneer. Sagging ground. Towers of above-ground graves keeping watch over the city. Underworld murkiness. People breathing heavily on porches."

In New Orleans I am reminded of a sensation I felt in Mexico City. A distinct feeling that there is something in my periphery; something that, if I just turned quickly enough, I might be able to catch. A soft flicking at the cobwebby edges of my vision. But I can never turn quickly enough. There is never anything there.

 

The Future is Female: A Personal Manifesto

Essay #4 of the 52 Essays in 2017 Challenge.

This is my response to those who believe it's somehow "unpatriotic" or silly or useless to participate in mass peaceful protests.

We, as citizens, have every right to engage in peaceful noncompliance. We have every right to mobilize in masses, to gather, to speak our truths. And not only are we legally guaranteed this right (what a lucky position to be in!), we are morally called to do so. Patriotic dissent is a necessary part of any functioning democracy -- we do not, in America, live in a totalitarian regime. Critiquing our nation's leaders and their actions, regardless of political affiliation, is obligatory. We do not kowtow to demagogues, presidents, and political leaders. We make our voices heard. We ARE this country.

Our nation's timeline is dotted with protests, civil gatherings, and historic marches that sought to bring people together and change certain painful realities. Realities like, you know, the bedrock of racism that our country was founded upon. Realities like the resulting racism and xenophobia that range from the venomous to the garden-variety, that permeate our everyday lives. Realities like our sexist social system that exists as a result of hundreds of years of patriarchal structure. (Among *many* other forms of oppression and inequality.)

The ONLY way forward, the ONLY way to progress, is through peaceful nonacceptance of those things that we know, in our very hearts, to be wrong. Silence is simply not an option in the face of injustice. And if you think sexism & misogyny & racism & xenophobia & homophobia don't exist, or just "aren't so bad", then you are choosing not to listen. I encourage you to do so. I plan to.

Do you want to know some things that I consider to be unjust? Do you? Calling black people lazy, for one. Bragging about grabbing women's genitalia, for another. Mocking disabled people and threatening our public school system and refusing to back down from an endorsement by the KKK and calling Mexicans rapists and saying that women are "pieces of ass" and writing off climate change (you know, science) and calling for a Muslim registry and deeming all refugees "terrorists": INJUSTICE at its finest.

You will not get silence from me, anymore. I am bone-tired of people in power oppressing whole swaths of citizens.

I'm still processing what it felt like to stand amidst a sea of 40,000+ people, on a day when millions of others were making simultaneous history. But I did process this: This march was only the beginning. And while Facebook activism can be helpful in some ways, there are other really meaningful ways to enact concrete change: We can call our Congresspeople, donate our time and money to causes we hold dear, learn more about legislative advocacy in our communities, attend city council meetings, go to marches, subscribe to email calls-to-action, be proactive bystanders, vote in local elections, call people out in public when they're being sexist or racist or homophobic.

I want to be a better activist. And I plan to. Let's all hold each other accountable, shall we?

So, watch out, DT. Because #thefutureisfemale, and the future is black, and the future is brown, and the future is queer, and the future does not look like a homogeneous sea of white male leaders. The future does not entail refusing to take care of our planet and ALL our brothers and sisters. The future is not white supremacy and it is not misogyny and it is not greed and it is not hate.

I look forward to the next four years.

 Book Nerd Highlights in 2016

"Essay" #3 of the 52 Essays in 2017 Challenge. (Which, again, turned out to be more of a blog post, as opposed to an essay. Oh, well!)

Like all writers, I have always harbored a grand, sweeping love for books. I adored being read to as a child; as a tween, I read every Sweet Valley High and Baby-Sitter's Club book known to humankind; I discovered Stephen King in 6th grade and this changed everything; in high school, the only way that my mom and grandmother and sisters could convince me to come along on trips to Woodland Hills Mall in Tulsa was to promise a stopover at the nearby Barnes and Noble. (So many of my most memorable book-buying experiences took place at that particular B&N across the street from the mall. Right now, I'm remembering my rainbow-striped copy of Catcher in the Rye, when I was 15. How very Holden-like I felt, paging through my new book and brooding on a bench outside of Victoria's Secret.) 

In my adulthood, I read like a madwoman. It's hard for me to want to attend parties or go to bars when there are books to be read. 

I married a man who loves books, and we share our mutual love in an unabashed fashion: our small apartment could also very aptly be called a library; our nightstands tower with stacks of new material. We spend a lot of time silently reading in tandem, either in bed or on our couch or in separate rooms. 

Here were my favorite books of 2016. Not all these came out last year, but some of them did. Some of them made me want to be a better writer (and in the case of M Train, a better traveler); all of them made me want to be a better human.

1) The Red Parts, Maggie Nelson. The book that made me realize that, yes, the rumors are true, Maggie Nelson can do anything. 

2) A Little Life, Hanya Yanagihara. When I read this, I holed up in my room, bawled into my sheets, and found myself caring so deeply for the characters that I dreamt about them most nights, could almost visualize them in front of me. Basically, the reading experience we all yearn for.

3) The Folded Clock: A Diary, Heidi Julavits. I've been very into personal essay collections this past year; this book, though, made the personal essay genre something new to me. When I finished this, I wanted so badly to have written The Folded Clock that I unconsciously wrote like Julavits for a while. To be able to write so eloquently about The Bachelor, Maine, female friendships, yard sales...I was so inspired by this book.

4) The Story of My Teeth, Valeria Luiselli. I read this in fits and starts throughout Mexico City -- on a sun-dappled bench outside a cafe while drinking a tall glass of pulque, on rough patches of grass in Chapultepec park -- it was the perfect union of time, place, and art. (Luiselli is from Mexico City, and this is where most of the book takes place.) Apart from loving this insanely clever book, I realized how silly it is to travel anywhere without reading local literature.

5) Tenth of December, George Saunders. I can't really think about this short story collection without getting improbably emotional. Suffice it to say: When, as a writer, you can incite empathy in your readers for a character who chains her mentally unwell child to a tree in the yard, well...that's a feat in and of itself. 

6) The Pedestrians, Rachel Zucker. A combination of prose poem fragments and free-associative poems about motherhood, marriage, time, the burden of creating art while living with toddlers, mindfulness, sensory escape. I was so taken with Zucker's language.

I want to tell you that all the people who say

they love me are siphoning me feeding off me

not like they did when they were babies but

eating away at me

(I mean, it does not get any better than this.)

7) Night Film, Marisha Pessl. It's hard to overestimate the pure fun I had while reading this book. As an ardent fan of film noir, cheesy detective fiction, and Gothic horror, Night Film covered all my bases in the most delicious way possible. 

8) Commonwealth, Ann Patchett. I devoured this over Thanksgiving while camping in the Northwest Arkansas woods with my husband, and it was such a balm for my soul. If you, too, are an adult child of divorce and thus feel deep ambivalence mixed with dread at the thought of going home for the holidays, I wholeheartedly recommend this book. 

9) My Misspent Youth, Meghan Daum. Ridiculously sharp, insightful, trenchant essays. Meghan Daum is awesome.

10) M Train, Patti Smith. Much like when I read Just Kids, while reading M Train, all I wanted to do was create -- something, anything. Often I would read it outside, with my journal in hand, and jot down thoughts while reading. M Train is also pure poetry, but most markedly, it made me want to travel better -- to investigate my own intentions for traveling; to figure out why I go places when I do. 

Another Year, Another White Woman Makes Going to Yoga Her Resolution

I'm doing the #52essays2017 challenge. Here's Essay #1. (Which is really more like a blog post, but I'm not beating myself up about it.)

Every year since I've lived in Austin, I've gone to a yoga class on New Year's Day.

This isn't to say that I go to yoga regularly. In fact, before today, I hadn't been to a class in months. Usually, I do some halfhearted sun salutations a few times a week and call it a day. But, there's something about going to yoga on the first day of the new year that makes you feel deeply good. Also, I'm addicted to fresh starts. I can't tell you how much it makes my heart sing to write in a new journal for the first time, to start a new blog (I have at least a half-dozen by now), to begin a new year. 

Normally, when I'm trying to be a yoga-going person, I go to Black Swan. Today, though, I tried out a new studio: Wanderlust Yoga, downtown on 4th and Congress. It was the kind of class that's so satisfying that random people were giving each other sweaty, starry-eyed hugs afterwards. (Our savasana was accompanied by a fellow yogi's a cappella version of "Imagine", for crying out loud.) 

I make bad choices, sometimes willingly, sometimes only in retrospect. I drink too much wine and I almost never send thank-you notes and I tend to dive into life without much foresight. But, going to a yoga class is never a bad choice. And when I practically skipped out of Wanderlust today, the Frost Tower was outlined in dimming sunlight, and a pinkish haze had begun to envelop the city, and it felt good to know that, for 90 minutes, I'd done something decent.

#52essays2017

Despite my natural aversion to challenges and cleanses and everything of the like, I'm doing this. 52 essays in 2017; one essay per week. I'm excited to practice writing regularly, to explore the essay form in its different variations, and to have a written record of the year that doesn't involve my Facebook feed. I hope you'll tune in.

Sending all the love I can muster in a world where Donald Trump is scheduled to be President,

Justine