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?