On Self Care and Surprises

A funny thing happened recently. My friend asked me to go with her to try out a hot yoga class, and I went because I wanted to be supportive and I’m supposed to be saying yes to everything and yadda yadda yadda. It turns out, I really like it. Really, really.

I tried yoga in college. I went to a class. I bought a book. I never liked it. I found it difficult and boring and never thought I was doing any of the poses correctly. I felt like I looked stupid in that way all women under 35 feel.

But this place. This place is amazing. First of all, it’s HOT yoga. I’m warm, I’m relaxed, I’m limber. Secondly, you can come at any skill level. Even a total noob who is convinced she will hate it and will fail. Even she can join. And I’ve come to learn that you don’t even need to do the poses correctly! Just the best you can! And you can try variations when you’re ready. When you’re ready! Hardly anyone lets you do something when you’re ready anymore.

Self care has been a lifelong problem for me. I’ve had some really codependent, dysfunctional relationships in my life. So taking care of myself wasn’t really a thing I knew you were supposed to be doing. And then when I became a mom, forget it. Not only do you not have the time, but you feel guilty for trying to take the time.

Turns out decades void of self care are a recipe for mental health disaster. Which is pretty much how I ended up in this place. A recovering alcoholic with crippling anxiety and depression, OCD and low self esteem. Self esteem so low it’s like you’d have to dig to the other side of the world like in a Bugs Bunny cartoon, and you still wouldn’t find it.

But now there’s yoga. It is the single, solitary thing I do by myself, for myself, and that’s actually good for me. The instructors begin class talking in soothing voices about clearing our minds and bringing ourselves to the mat. Forgetting our worries, leaving it all at the door. Don’t worry about how good or bad we do that session, just do our best. This is the kind of thing I need other people to tell me, I can’t seem to come up with it on my own. So I feel so good about being there. For probably the first 20 sessions, I cried each time. It just felt like the right place to be. And I was opening up emotionally. And I felt free.

Because it’s hot yoga, there’s sweat. A lot of sweat. All the sweat. Which sounds gross, but it’s really not. The sweating feels very spiritual to me. Like in a way I am shedding bad, toxic things. Getting rid of old baggage. Leaving it behind. And it’s also proof that I’m working hard. Sometimes the poses don’t feel all that difficult but then at the end you’re drenched and you’re like, YES! I did something!

It’s been the most positive change I have made for myself in such a long time. Maybe yoga won’t be your thing. But I want you to know that your thing is out there. It’s out there waiting for you! You just have to figure out what it will be. Try new things, you’ll be amazed at what clicks.

When I was a little girl, my dad called me Boo Boo. But now I am Yogi.

Namaste.

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Bethie Go Shoppy

Target is my Tiffany’s.

Which is a weird thing to read, I’m sure, if you’re not familiar with the inner workings of the cinematic classic I have referred to on the blog regularly, Breakfast at Tiffany’s. At some point in the film, Holly GoLightly lets us know she heads to Tiffany’s when she’s anxious. It calms her down right away. And “nothing very bad could happen to you there.”

And this is what Target does for me. It’s silly, I know. But I’ve come to view my inexplicably frequent trips there as therapy. Self care.

You could even get yourself coffee in a paper cup, and a pastry of some kind in a paper bag, and eat it while you look at the goods.

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You could sport her getup too, you might get a few side eyes, but oh well. I might just do that one of these days. Maybe skip the gloves though, because, desert.

It’s not a shopping addiction, though I know it must seem that way. Sometimes I go there just to look. (Granted I do end up getting something, but it’s often small and not even for me.) I will take pictures of things I want to remember later. Or I will find them on Amazon and add them to my cart to buy later. Or I will just admire them.

I live five minutes from a Target now. But even in San Francisco, where I had to drive 20 minutes to the suburbs to go (or go to City Target which is adorable and all, but not a replacement), I was still there a few times a week.

How can I explain it? It just makes the world seem right. It feels like I’m in a box of happiness and nothing bad can penetrate. Even though this is America, and this is 2018 after all, and of course bad things could happen there. But it feels like they won’t. And that’s the key. When I am walking around in this world thinking something bad will happen at any moment, take me by surprise and change my life forever, it’s nice to have a place to go where it feels like all of that gets checked at the door. Time moves a little slower, ergo so does my brain.

And because I cashiered for so many years (even a stint as a Target cashier no less) I feel confident using the self-checkout. I don’t even have to deal with people if I don’t want to.

I know the employees know me now. And I see some of them smirk when they don’t think I notice. But that’s ok. I am making myself feel better which is a huge accomplishment most days, so they can think I’m a nut. At least I’m not the lady who has loud, violent fights about “that girl you was with last night” with who she claims is Invisible Jesus (true story). (See, if you hang out there enough you get some good stories.)

Do you find yourself retreating somewhere when you’re in a funk? Somewhere outside your house I mean?