The Privileged Writer

This past week has been rough–I’ve been knocked down by a bad cold that has left me with a painful deep cough and more congestion and sinus pressure and fatigue than I’ve experienced in quite a long time.  I ended up taking off class twice this week, and I’m so far behind on grading that students are in a panic emailing me because they’re afraid they didn’t upload their journals correctly (side bar: I normally grade everything as I receive them for my online class, but now I’m a week behind).

In good news, however, I’ve been cared for very well by my boyfriend, who’s been busting his butt at work but somehow always has the energy to call to see if I need something, fix me soup before he’s even had a bite to eat all day, and who braves hugging me and kissing my forehead even though I sound, as my friend said pointedly this week, like death warmed over.  I also managed to get up to Season 4 in Friends and to sleep about 12 hours a day.

I’ve recovered a bit–feeling about 85%– and had some great news: I’ll soon have another part time position on campus doing something I really love: helping undergraduates with their Spanish.  Not a bad wrap to an otherwise exhausting week!

I’ve been thinking a lot about my path to being a writer and the recent article posted in Salon about the unspoken privilege behind many successful writers.  The article hit close to home: I wouldn’t be here pursuing my MFA without the monetary support I’ve received from my parents, who financed my undergraduate so I wouldn’t have any loans and who set up an educational trust for me that they decided they didn’t need to dip into when I was in college and left for me in case I wanted to pursue a graduate degree–or, as it turns out, two Master’s degrees at once (which I’m in the process of doing).  In addition, I received part-time work and scholarships from the universities I attend.  All of this has allowed me time to pursue my writing, though I have to admit–I’m even struggling with money on top of that, which makes me cringe to think about how my peers are faring who don’t have the same support I am grateful to have, and makes me feel ashamed of the times I’ve squawked about my bank account at the end of the month.  At the end of each month, I count my pennies and wager whether or not I can afford to pay for both my cat and I to eat well (side bar: she currently eats better than I do on a prescription diet).  Life keeps getting more and more expensive and I keep making less and less money–though more perhaps than the average bear in my shoes.

All this to say, I realize I’m in a position of privilege.  My dad would say to that, stop feeling guilty and go produce something worthy of that opportunity you’ve been given.  To that end, I’m making good on my resolutions and have applied to a poetry contest and submitted an independent tutorial topic to Bread Loaf so I can graduate this summer with all my credits (side bar: it’s on how 21st century minority women poets have revitalized the sonnet) and am continuing to try to be a better student, writer, teacher each day.  I’m trying to feel like I’ve earned my privilege–a weird, possibly improbable, unproductive thing to do.  It makes me sad and a little bit angry: being an artist shouldn’t be a privilege but a right to anyone who wants it.  But I’m grateful writers like Ann Bauer are calling us on our privilege in a way that isn’t full of useless guilt and finger pointing, but rather frankly owns her own privilege in a way that maybe, just maybe, makes it okay for all of us to own where we are, so that more open dialogue and perhaps one day change can occur.  In the meantime, I hope I remember this moment and if I ever do manage to achieve any sort of literary success in future that I focus instead on all that got me where I am, rather than focusing on my perceived shortcomings and limitations that–for many, many people, especially those of different socio-economic backgrounds than my own–aren’t really based in their reality.

Sign dollar and the books on scales. 3D image.

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Falling in Love

There’s been a lot of buzz lately about this Modern Love column where Mandy Len Cantron wrote about a study by Arthur Aron (among others) about the questions it takes to fall in love with someone, even a stranger.  This other news article compiled the questions here.  Given I’m fighting off the beginning of a cold and too scratchy to think of something to write about, I’m going to take a stab at these–maybe to fall more in love with myself.  Maybe as a throw back to the livejournal days of doing self-quizzes (anyone? anyone!?).

1. Given the choice of anyone in the world, whom would you want as a dinner guest?

First of all, I like how grammatically proper this questionnaire is already. Whom.  Nice.  Okay.  This is hard.  I hate questions where you have to pick just one song, band, book, or dinner guest.  I feel so much pressure.  (I’m writing all the thoughts I have that I would likely say on a date as a way of stalling and giving myself more thinking time).  I feel like Dorothy Parker would be a blast.

2. Would you like to be famous? In what way?

Mergh.  Yes and no.  I would like to have readers.  But I’d rather not have the kind of fame that comes with not being able to go to the corner store in sweatpants and unwashed hair without shame/having my photo end up in a tabloid.

3. Before making a telephone call, do you ever rehearse what you are going to say? Why?

Sometimes, if it’s a work related call and I’m anxious about how I’m going to come off in a professional situation.  Rarely when it comes to personal calls though.  Anyone who has received a voicemail from me can attest to the awkwardness of this fact.  Ramble ramble.

4. What would constitute a “perfect” day for you?

I hate the word perfect.  I’ve spent my life trying to get okay with not being perfect/a perfectionist.  A nice day would enjoy getting up early (I know) and enjoying a cup of tea on my own while writing, then having a late breakfast somehow involving bacon with my boyfriend and going on a run or walk with him while the sun shines on a body of water.  Then lunch with my favorite gal pals who magically all manage to be in the same place for this day, and a quick call home.  Followed by an afternoon reading a wonderful book with my cat curled up on my lap with yoga before or after.  Concluding with a romantic evening with my boyfriend where neither of us has anything to do for work and I get to wear something on the fancy side–even if its just for him cooking for me in my kitchen.  Bonus: minus the teleportation of my friends from different states, I get to have a perfect day on a pretty regular basis.  That’s because I’m trying to live my life more purposefully by making room for all the things/people i love.

5. When did you last sing to yourself? To someone else?

Earlier this afternoon while cleaning.  To my cat sometime this week, I’m sure.  Or sarcastically and loudly in the car to my boyfriend as something loud and pop-like played and he winced good-naturedly.

6. If you were able to live to the age of 90 and retain either the mind or body of a 30-year-old for the last 60 years of your life, which would you want?

Oh jeez.  Probably the body–if only because, barring any disease, I think I’m going to dig my mind at that age.  Plus I can see from my relatives how tough it is to have your body deteriorate.

7. Do you have a secret hunch about how you will die?

I’m deathly afraid of being underwater, so drowning?  Fingers crossed for old age, though.

8. Name three things you and your partner appear to have in common.

This is where the quiz doesn’t make sense to do by yourself.  But I’m going to answer for me and my current boyfriend: we both love to cook; we’re both writers; we’re both earnest and thoughtful.

9. For what in your life do you feel most grateful?

So much.  Mainly being able to pursue my writing dream, which wouldn’t be possible without my parents’ help along the way, and the twists and turns and adventures I had to get here.

10. If you could change anything about the way you were raised, what would it be?

I would strip the household of negativity and add more compassionate listening.

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I’m just going to do the first 10, but it’s an interesting set of questions to check out!

j and me

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2015 Resolutions

This will be short and sweet since it’s so belated, but I meant to do this at the beginning of the month: writing out some personal and professional goals for the new year.

This year, I’d like to:

1. Read more.  To that end I will try to read 30 books this year.  I figure that’s more realistic than 52, since I’m in grad school and freelancing and reading a lot of articles and single poems and criticism for classes that don’t necessary = a book.  I’m currently finishing Langston Hughes’ autobiography and Junot Diaz’s This Is How You Lose Her, which is a wild, wonderful book about relationships that I feel stubbornly wouldn’t have gotten as much critical acclaim had it been written by a woman, and to that end, I want to strive to write about relationships in the searing, blunt way Diaz does to defy the “chick lit” category.

2. Eat healthier.  To that end, I will try to avoid processed food and eat more naturally.  That means good bye snacking and take-out/pizza, hello veggies. So far, so good, actually, thanks to my amazing chef boyfriend.

3. Publish at least one poem in a literary journal I admire.

4. Maintain my Twitter on a daily basis.  I suck at this currently.

5. Graduate from Bread Loaf’s School of English in Oxford this summer.  Already in motion.

6. Pitch my paper on silence and contemporary women’s poetry for publication in an academic journal.  I will be presenting it at my second conference this summer in Cornwall, England, and will have plenty of opportunity to pitch to publishers there.

7. Write two fiction stories.  I’m terrified about this, as I haven’t written fiction since high school, and some of, embarassingly, was fan fiction.  I’m enrolled in a fiction workshop, so this will not be a problem–though writing two GOOD stories might be a stretch.

8. Be a better friend/family member–calling more, writing more, setting up dates.

9. Do yoga 6 days a week.  So far this has been hard given my crazy schedule, but I really do feel better when I do it, especially since the majority of my day is spent at a desk.  I somehow manage to stick to a running schedule just fine; I resolve to get better at a yoga schedule, too, even if it means working out twice a day.

10. BUDGET BETTER.  Seriously.  Money is the worst and I spent it way too frivolously.  No more, especially since I have a UK summer lined up.

11. Be a more attentive and creative teacher.  I’m already having so much more fun teaching this semester than in semester’s past now that I’m using blackboard in more nuanced ways having taking my training courses last semester.

12. Continue to be open to my wonderful, loving relationship with my boyfriend, whatever comes. He’s already taught me more about how to be a partner in the last six months than I’ve learned in my entire preceding 27 years.

13. Write at least 50 new poems this year.

14. Develop a weekly editing routine for old work.

15. Get quicker/less self-conscious at writing blog content.  I seriously tinker with them, especially the pshares ones, for way too long.

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A lot of these resolutions add up to spending more quiet time at home cooking and conserving cash and reading/writing– I can’t wait.  I’m seriously excited about that prospect, especially since I feel so at home with myself lately.  Our program director started off my first year of my MFA telling us to not be afraid to stay home on weekend nights while everyone else is out partying to do your work–at the time, I was like, uh, no, but now I get it.  To that end, I’m so glad this is a three year program rather than a two year, as I feel like I’m finally producing the kind of work I want to with my MFA.

I don’t think I’ve started a year as contended as I am now–the lack of my usual anxiety is so freeing.  2015 feels like my year–though 2014 was the year of six weeks in Santa Fe, winning the Haiduke poetry prize, landing a paid gig blogging for Ploughshares, running a half-marathon, landing my first yoga teaching gig, learning how to teach online, presenting at my first academic conference, surviving heartbreak and finding new love.  I’m excited for what else may come my way!

flower

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Round Down at Ploughshares

As promised, though a bit belated, here is a link to my latest Round Down at Ploughshares’ blog, where I analyze and otherwise break down the latest in literary news.  So far I’ve covered a clarion call for white writers’ to tackle racism in literature given the aftermath of Ferguson, the somewhat murky process for selecting the “best” literature according to the National Book Awards and the Pulitzer Prize, and, most recently, the media’s complicated response to the brutal Charlie Hebdo killings last week.

I’ve really been enjoying compiling my thoughts on what’s happening in the literary world, especially as it intersects with society and culture–though I’ve been so anxious about commenting on front page issues that I spend way too much time tinkering after I have the piece written.  Hopefully as time goes on and I continue to develop my Round Down voice I will get swifter without sacrificing quality.  It’s been a blast to see my name associated with a really wonderful publication and to get a chance to put in action my belief that literature matters.

Check me out every other Tuesday on @Pshares!  Now that I’m back from a whirlwind holiday vacation to Michigan and the Caribbean, I plan to resume blogging more personally here as well every Saturday.

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2014 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 850 times in 2014. If it were a cable car, it would take about 14 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

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Rounding Down Literary News For Ploughshares

For those who read here and missed my usual Saturday update on living life as a student of writing in Wilmington, NC, I have a good excuse.  This weekend I’ve been hustling away trying to write my December debut posts for the Ploughshares’ blog, for whom I’ll be manning up their Round Down series twice a month.  Because the holidays are among us, I needed to get my posts in early, and between that and a last minute excursion down to Myrtle Beach to hit th outlet stores and see 50 state-themed Christmas trees inside an aquarium, I’ve been pretty occupied.

I’ll cross-post my Round Down posts here, so be on the look out for that tomorrow and December 30.

Stay tuned! And thanks for reading.

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Gratitude and Self-esteem

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how we talk to ourselves.  I don’t mean in a crazy voice in my head kind of way, but in the way our background narration of our lives carries us through the day without most of us tuning in too closely.

I woke up this morning thinking about the time I did community service learning with Alternative Spring Break in Detroit (side bar: my favorite part of the experience was the ways in which we were sternly lectured NOT to embody a “white savior” complex but instead to consider the service “learning” on OUR parts–learning about the grace and dignity of the grassroots movements already in place in the city most have written off).

One of the days we, a bunch of college-aged females, were directed to run a self-actualization workshop in a middle school for young girls who had had some trouble fighting and generally being mean to one another. We decided to have them write positive attributes about one another so that each girl would go back with a list of things the others admired about her.

A talk with one girl who felt stuck turned to me asking her what she liked about herself.

She was horrified.  “I can’t talk about what I like about myself because then others might think I’m full of myself.”

Even to this day, I recognize that feeling even as it makes me sad and I want to condemn it. I wonder too at the gendered implications.  Is it still hard for women to proclaim what they like about themselves?  I think about the parody of that in Mean Girls, where Cady, having not been raised in the United States, awkwardly offers up that she has bad breath in the morning when she is unable to think of something to hate about herself in the mirror with the rest of the plastics.  It’s certainly been something I’ve been aware of lately: how little I tend to applaud, admire, or thank myself, how easy it feels to in fact do the opposite in my self-talk somehow without even paying much attention to what I’m doing.

Last week was Thanksgiving, so it seems appropriate this morning that I try to start with myself to start changing that negative self-talk, to be confident without being conceited.

Here’s a list of things I’m grateful to myself for:

1. My resilience.  I’ve lived in three states and two countries.  I’ve taught ESL, Spanish, and Creative Writing in tough schools with little guidance.  I conquered countless rejections and career changes and am in the process of earning three Master’s Degrees.

2. My sense of humor.  There’s nothing like having a little pun.

3. My body.  it’s changed a lot over the last ten years, but I feel strong.  I eat what I like.  I work out.  I lift weights in Body Pump twice a week and have run so many Half-Marathons and 10ks I’ve lost count.  I’m curvy and need high waisted pants, but damn it, I look good even if I got junk in my trunk.

4. My face.  I like my smile.  My (sigh) ever-browning blonde, sometimes straight, sometimes wavy hair.  My hazel eyes, sometimes gold, sometimes green, sometimes brown.  My small pores and acne prone T zone and chin.  My thick eyebrows that I’ve never bothered to pluck after I made myself cry the first time I tried in middle school.

5. My tiny, skinny ankles.  Boys used to call me chicken legs in middle school because of how disproportionately skinny they are.  They make me clumsy and make it impossible to find slip on shoes that won’t slip off, but they also make me look great in boots and belie a ton of strength to run many miles.

6. My compassion. I don’t have many friends.  I find it exhausting to be surrounded by crowds.  I don’t always feel many people get me or have the patience for my neuroses.  But to those I do count in my circle, I have a lot to offer in terms of my empathy and my grace and my willingness to drop whatever to talk, cook, or drive you to the ER.

7. My temper.  It’s taught me a lot about restraint.

8. My creative brain.  It lights up in the presence of a good poem or novel. I am the perennial teacher’s pet–except when I’m trying to teach the class for them. I love to write and cook and knit and paint.

9. My drive. What I seek to accomplish gets done.  My planner is a sight to behold.  I am organized to a fault.  I plan out each day by the hour.  I don’t always get things done as quickly as I plan, but I do get the job done.

10. My love of adventure has brought me countless exciting experiences, from learning to snow shoe and then alpine tour (i.e., ski UP) the Pyrenees, to zip-lining in a rainforest, to hiking solo in the dark and camping out above the tree-line, to scaling rock face up to the Kitchen Mesa, to swimming with Dolphins in Hawaii, to snubbing a wreck in the Caribbean, to white water rafting down the Rio Chama, to surfing the Atlantic, to flying across the world to hike down the Taroko Gorge to bathe in natural mineral hot springs alongside a rushing river.  The only thing that I will probably never do is learn to scuba dive because for some reason the thought of relying solely on a tank for air freaks me out (that and prohibitive costs also likely rules out ever climbing Everest).

Though I certainly could have more easily come up with 20 things I don’t like about myself, and though I certainly have faults and lots to learn in layers with all of the above, I want to encourage everyone, especially gals, no matter how young or old, to take a minute to write out ten things you’re grateful to yourself for, and to challenge you to be full of gratitude for yourself without feeling bad or apologetic about it.

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The Lost Art of Discussion

I fear that we have lost the art of discussion, and most especially, that of rhetorical listening.

Oh we talk, and plenty. But most often I fear we as a culture are preaching to each other’s choir.  Those who feel a certain way about political topics read certain magazines.  Keep a certain realm of friends on social media.  Tune into certain news outlets.  While the rest, who feel oppositely, subscribe to different outlets.

And if things get heated, if we dare to cross our ideological lines, well, there’s that “unfollow” or “defriend” or mute button on our various devices.  Or there’s leaping out of a moving vehicle as your father rolls through a stop sign in the neighborhood of your adolescence on the eve of Thanksgiving. There’s savagely attacking one another’s intelligence and basic humanity.  There’s rioting.  There’s police brutality.

There’s the parade on tv, with balloons and floats and shivering and hot chocolate.  Or there are protesters bringing up the rear with the police firmly telling the news outlets not to cover this section of the parade route.  Or there’s a die-in at a mall on the busiest shopping day of the year supplanted by non-stop commercials for Black Friday deals.

There is not, however, any rhetorical listening.  Instead, you decide which views you are more comfortable seeking out and surround yourself with that noise and turn up your own volume if you encounter a competing channel.

Krista Ratcliffe, a scholar whose book Rhetorical Listening: Identification, Gender, Whiteness I’ve used for my project on silence as poetry, writes this of rhetorical listening: it is “a trope for interpretative invention and as a code of cross-cuItural conduct . . . [which] signifies a stance of openness that a person may choose to assume in relation to any person, text, or culture” (p. 1). In the book, to demonstrate what she means, she examines gender and race cultural logics to explore how we might invoke listening to create better cross-cultural relationships.

And I say this as someone who has not practiced rhetorical listening very well herself in the past.  Just because someone speaks about a political or racial topic in a way that I find abhorrent, that does not make them less of a person.  That does not mean I should attack them, verbally or otherwise, and call into question their very humanness.  That does not mean that I should immediately adopt their view and dismiss my own, either.  But rather, that I should attempt to listen.  To hold the space of active silence.  To turn it into art.  To showcase respect.  And then, when I have fully inhabited that stance of openness, to use and communicate what I have learned about my audience’s humanity to speak back in a way that does not denigrate their dignity and therefore allows that person to fully listen to me, rather than shut down and attack.

I know of many people on both sides of the political spectrum who think listening means trying to persuade the other of their inherent wrongness.  Which implies an aura of inherent rightness around their head in a halo that causes the person they are trying to convince so stridently to stop listening.  To resent. To defend.  More noise.

I am worried this holiday season about what is happening in Ferguson and what it symbolizes for this country in its fraught and troubled race relations.  But I am grateful for the discussions that are being started (and here are some tips for keeping things in the realm of open exchange) and it is my dearest wish that more of us in America would adopt this stance of openness across gender and racial identification lines to the other side.  To rhetorically listen to one another–and to especially, if you are in a position of power, to extend your listening to those who have historically been silenced and otherwise violently oppressed– before it’s too late and more senseless acts of violence and indignity occur.

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Is Poetry For Everyone? Is Sentimental Writing Stupid?

This article on whether or not poetry, creative writing, and MFAs are part of a capitalist, cultural, exclusive elite really stuck me this week.  I encourage anyone who considers themselves an artist to read and weigh in.  Is it true?  Has art in this country become so commodified that we ascribe cultural currency to those who would be artists in such a way that grants social legitimacy to them when we would not do the same for, say, an assembly line worker, who may in fact be making more money than a graduate teaching assistant?

The article gets really depressing for someone halfway through her MFA, but the ending had the kind of redemptive quality to it that I admire in terms of explaining to myself and others why poetry can be powerful.

If we want to bring those critics and those masses to our poems, if we want poetry to matter to those outside our classrooms and conference halls—and there may be some poets who don’t; bully for them—then those others, their lives and their language, have to matter to us first. The only way they will is if we disrupt the culture of privilege that insulates us. And we need to disrupt it, not for our egoistic desire for a larger audience, but for the sake of our art. The only job of the poet is to destabilize and expand language. This is how poetry changes the world—not by grand ambition or the lauding of critics. It takes the plodding, unending effort of many to alter line by line, phrase by phrase, word by word the way we describe ourselves and everything around us. This is how we change perception. This is how we change the mind. We can’t do it while isolated by our privilege. There are too few of us. Our language is too limited. We need more words. We need more than ourselves and each other. We need every brokeshoulder to the wheel.

I have been kind of annoyed lately regarding the stuffiness of workshop.  Sometimes it really does seem as though poetry is written for other poets, rather than for the masses.  There’s been a recent trend lately too for more esoteric, allusive poetry, which I find myself more and more impatient with the older I get.

I got slammed last week for being sentimental in my writing.  I wanted to argue, but of course, workshop is not a place to argue.  What’s wrong with a little smaultz from time to time, especially if the audience and writer is aware of it?  What’s wrong with “ordinary language” so long as it is precise and clear and conveys a feeling, puts a picture in one’s head?

Enough of the rat race already.  I want a poetry that’s for the masses.  I want to write poems for everyone.  Ones I can bring home to my family and have them understand (unlike the research projects I’ve shared with them in the past).

And that doesn’t make me any less educated or smart.  I resent the implication that it might.  Especially as a woman.

Again, I’m not sure why I think Taylor Swift fits into this–but she does.  This other article I read a while back perfectly summed up for me why people who go out of their way to criticize her art belong in the same camp as those who would say that poetry should be for a cultural elite only.

Swift countered critics by saying,”For a female to write about her feelings, and then be portrayed as some clingy, insane, desperate girlfriend in need of making you marry her and have kids with her, I think that’s taking something that potentially should be celebrated – a woman writing about her feelings in a confessional way – that’s taking it and turning it and twisting it into something that is frankly a little sexist.’

Snaps, girlfriend.

And to round it out, I’ll end with a quote from an essay put on Viriginia Quarterly, excerpted from a wonderful book, The Empathy Exams by Leslie Jamison, a writer I deeply admire.

“I think dismissing female pain as overly familiar or somehow out-of-date—twice-told, thrice-told, 1001-nights-told—masks deeper accusations: that suffering women are playing victim, going weak, or choosing self-indulgence over bravery. I think dismissing wounds offers a convenient excuse: no need to struggle with the listening or telling anymore. Plug it up. Like somehow our task is to inhabit the jaded aftermath of terminal self-awareness once the story of all pain has already been told.

The wounded woman gets called a stereotype, and sometimes she is. But sometimes she’s just true. I think the possibility of fetishizing pain is no reason to stop representing it. Pain that gets performed is still pain. Pain turned trite is still pain. I think the charges of cliché and performance offer our closed hearts too many alibis, and I want our hearts to be open. I just wrote that. I want our hearts to be open. I mean it. “

The way she dares to be sentimental at the end strikes this writer, anyway, as a profound act of bravery in today’s academic, allusion lovin’, irony driven readership.

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Yoga Rant

Dear Smug, Toned Teen at the Y last night,

Thank you so much for your concern and for stopping in the middle of your warm up flow to come over to me, bend over, squat down, put your face in mine while I try to gaze at my navel and not at the front of my mat at you, and whisper corrections for my arm placement in my downward facing dog.  Just a few thoughts, however, you may want to consider in future before taking yourself out of your own breath and body to concern yourself with what your neighbor is doing.  I’ve complied them here for your convenience. Three things you may want to ask yourself before pausing your practice and pulling such a move in the future:

1. Is the person behind perhaps performing some sort of modification for their large acromiom process and tight sub-scapula muscles that limit their shoulder mobility and thus cause the person to be getting the same benefits I am enjoying in my downward facing dog, but just not necessarily to look like me or like the norm that instructor is pitching to? If yes, pipe down and perk your hips back up to the ceiling.  If no, continue.

2. Is the person behind me perhaps an RYT 200 level certified yoga instructor herself who may or may not know more about her own body and modifying for it than I do?  If so, take a deep breath, stay in position, gaze at your own navel and reclaim your ujjayi pranayama. If not, proceed.

3. Am I actually the instructor in the room or is it someone else’s job to concern themselves with anyone other than herself? If not, take a big deep inhale, pause, reflect on your need to assert yourself in places you may not belong, then let it all go in one big whoosh out your mouth.  If yes, proceed.

4. Am I remembering the core tenants of a safe, non-harming, non-judgmental yoga practice that keeps in mind the ultimate guru is one’s own body, one’s own needs, and that yoga is done from within, not from comparing oneself to how other people look?  If yes, persist with the gentle care and compassion you were taught with to assist the person in need.  If no, meditate on that for a mo’.

This PSA brought to you safely after being rewritten twice after a cat malfunction.  Yes, cat malfunction: my flea infested, worm infested, giardia infested, yeast infected, herpes infected adopted kitten leapt on the keyboard during the first draft and some how managed to delete the whole post.  (A separate rant about how much money I have hemorrhaged for this poor sick sweet post deleting baby will likely follow next week).

I like to think this one is more succinct for having had to have been rewritten.  Perhaps I will invite her to pull such a move on me in future writing projects.

Or perhaps you will see a PSA letter dedicated to Daisy next week.

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