Day two was predictably achy. I did my sun salutations and boy o boy was I tight as a bow string. What I love about slow deliberate movements like suriya namaskar, though, is that slowly but surely the muscles begin to release, as you repeat the steps. At first, I couldn’t hardly touch the ground with my fingers in a forward bend, but then by the third or fourth round, I can.

After I was laid off in Austin, and with little better to do besides take some community college classes and do some weird part-time work, I found a Bikram yoga studio that would allow me to take unlimited free classes, in exchange for cleaning the studio after a class, twice a week. Bikram is sweaty-ass business. This place was carpeted (gross) and so my job was to spray down the super low pile carpet with an antibacterial cleaner and then vacuum up the sweat, and then wipe down the arcing Pollocks of sweat off the three walls of mirrors. Since a month’s worth of Bikram classes was just under $200 and it only took me about 15 minutes to clean the studio (also gross, but I did as I was trained), that was my best paying gig of that whole year. And I got good at the 26-pose Bikram workout. Even after I quit the creepy carpeted place, I started going to another studio (thank you Groupon)–with thankfully high-gloss wood floors, like a basketball court, and at one point I was invited to the advanced classes. I never made it to one–they were twice as expensive, but they were invite only and not even on the schedule. That that was me 9 years ago is amazing, now. I’m creaky and my knees sometimes get terrible pains and my stupid elbow almost never feels alright and most recently my shoulders are losing mobility (slightly, but when you know how deep you used to down dog, even slightly is noticeable)… and it all makes me remember the last time I saw my grandmother. It was here, in this house, and it was in the middle of my MFA, so probably the summer of 2012, and she had a walker but didn’t have the strength to stand up or actually walk with it on her own. My grandfather yelled at one point (so she could hear him) that he’d told her before she was stuck on the couch, to just keep moving, even just to walk down to the mailbox, that if she didn’t she wouldn’t be able to anymore, and she didn’t, so now look at her. He was clearly distraught and hiding it behind anger, which is a super popular habit in my family.

Anyway. I don’t want to get stuck on the couch, but I feel it happening–the ligaments getting stiffer, the joints, cracklier. My balance used to be good, and now… it could be better.

But because I’ve gained weight, I feel like a failure, and because I feel like a failure, I have less energy. Because of no energy, I’ve fallen out of habit of  moving, and so now moving is hard. It is so obvious when I say it, but it feels deeply unfair. Like, running was never easy. I can count on one hand the runs that ever actually felt good. But I could do them and they didn’t kill me. I could power through the discomfort. Now, it hurts to run even a little bit. My lungs get raw and my quads feel like they are weighted with lead and my arms and calves wobble with my spiked heart rate, and goddamn it, do I get mad as hell at how much further and faster (even if still slow) I could run 18 months ago. It feels like such a Herculean task just to get back to being slow and thickish, from this stopped and fat. I know I’m supposed to love myself where I’m at, but maybe that’s for April or something. Right now I need to get on it.

Which I am, right? Today on my lunch walk I noticed tree shapes and saw some bulbs pushing through the jumble of the front lawn and these berries along the driveway that are a crazy vibrant color of fuchsia. I like feeling my sore abs and glutes and triceps, all torn up from yesterday’s abysmal workout. Obviously not worthless, is what these aching muscles tell me.

All that plus another 500 words on the essay. My goal is to clean it up this weekend and if the weather is too shitty to hike, I’m hoping to pick up trash from the backyard. It won’t be the most fun, but it’ll be progress.

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