Last night I rode my bike downtown. It’s black, green and manly. I tied the garage door opener to the handlebars with a glow-in-the-dark shoelace.
There’s a real mother of a hill sixty seconds into my route to the lake shore. I realize if I gather up my legs and move my pelvis in time, the climb is easier.
It should come as no surprise that the cadence of Pour Some Sugar On Me was made for such a discovery. I repeat the hill.
The ribbon of bike path that rolls me east is twelve thousand years old. The tires get some purchase. I weave my way around runners and ducklings. It’s smooth to pedal but my tee shirt is soaked, just the same.
At the fishing bridge, a guy wearing only overalls and fat Hello Kitty headphones nearly fishhooks my braid with a zig-zag cast. I see myself in him and imagine that he too is guided by Def Leppard.
Along the main drag, no traffic is allowed, save city buses and pizza delivery trucks.
A girl on a longboard catches me a block from the Capitol. Going uphill, with a Swisher Sweet in her mouth, she passes me like a dirty shirt.
I hang a u-turn and coast downhill toward my neighborhood. If I turn my head right, I smell onion rings and Honey Weiss- to the left, Nag Champa. The combination hits your nose like thigh sweat and a bale of hay. No problemo.
All winter, we plotted a move to the South. We had almost decided.
But on May 29, we close on our new little home on the west side of town.
For now, I pledge to stay and do my part in keeping Madison weird.
Hold me to it.
Have you noticed? Spring is the time of year when some people go on wood-chip diets and others try to sell you weight loss shakes made of hooves.
Is there an undercurrent of Thinspo masquerading as Health behind certain promotions put out by your gym or local yoga studio?
Be skeptical about words such as fitness, slim down, lighten, wellness and bikini season when they’re being used to sell you yoga. Hammer, don’t hurt ’em, but discern.
Recognize. This kind of marketing does harm. It cheapens the sublime bearing that yoga can have on our lives.
Flip that biscuit. Don’t settle for anything but real gravy.
You might have to get a little macho, as in:
1. Courageous, potent, robust, lusty and vibrant. Okay then. These words stick to your ribs. Sounds like yoga.
From what my teachers have passed on to me, yoga is a practice of sustainability and recognition that we’re more alike than different in our hearts. Yoga is shelter. It’s not about comparison or punishment.
Your overall health isn’t something that is caged within your physical frame, anyhow. It’s not identifiable by your appearance.
My best teachers deal in the subtleties of kindness, tough love and what is wholesome. They’re experts at holding space. They walk beside us as we learn.
I won’t say anything about the turkey burgers who make cracks about kicking your ass or detox yoga because my resting bitchface happens on its own.
Here is my DIY list on how to protect yourself from thinspiration crap disguised as yoga:
- Hide the tweedledees in your newsfeed whose greatest wish is to hook you into their powdered lunch replacer pyramid scheme. (It’s gonna taste grozz and costs like forty dollars plus arms.) Wish them venison jerky for Christmas.
- Make the squats, make the pushups, make the asana. Lift and lower the heavy things. But only if it gives you satisfaction. You may accomplish this in your garage without giving a single dollar away. Because you are a whip smart machine. Fair warning- these activities will make you hungry. Cook a can of beans over your grill like some cowpoke. That’ll put hair on your chest.
- Hang out with athletes who say, “Yes,” when you ask, “Wanna ride bikes and get nachos?” (Jocks tend to be jovial, reasonable people who like nachos.)
- Don’t give your money to studios or gyms whose marketing feeds the culture of fear and inadequacy. If the language coming from a place implies that there must be something wrong with you that they can fix, remember what DJ Unk said in 2006 and Walk It Out, away from there.
- Get some sexy knives. The Wusthof company will monogram your whole set. You should have a couple sleek tools to prepare your gorgeous meals. Slaughter cantaloupes. Peel potatoes for homemade gnocchi like you mean it. Making dumplings from scratch is aerobic, especially if you walk to the corner store for eggs. Fait accompli.
- Cut the sleeves off of your Duran Duran tee shirt. Get some sun on your biceps. Feel the outdoors up your lungs.
- Enjoy decent wines, stank cheese, bone marrow and fish heads. If that’s what you desire. You choose. Or you know, legumes and greens. What gives you fuel to get your life’s mission popping? You and your grandma know, it won’t come in bar form. You won’t find it in a tub with a plastic cover. What you need might smell like buttered rutabaga and bacon. Ask your Grams for the recipe. She probably understands balance.
- Go to your garden (anybody’s garden). Pull a carrot out of the ground. Rinse it with the hose. Is there still a little dirt on it? Good. Take a bite. Tastes orange, right? Stay close to this feeling you get from your hands pulling food out of planet earth. Vegetables are self care.
- But for cripes sake, if you forget about the majesty of Ritter Sport, or Flamin’ Hot Cheetos remind yourself. You’re not just a pretty face. You’re compassion, one-armed planks and bechamel sauce.
- Arm-wrestle people who do not want to arm-wrestle. You’ll probably win. Stud.
- Be so good to yourself. If you’re struggling with this one, let someone else be good to you. Reject the ‘you have to love yourself first’ theory. People who say that are the same ones who tell you they like all music except rap and country. They’re missing out on a motherlode of love.
Give ’em hell.
ps: This isn’t a scholarly article. It’s something I’d write for you on the back of a napkin at the roller rink, and I hope that means more.