“If this is your edge, dat’s ok be happy here. If you want more, you can set up for—I know, for those of you with tight hips dis pose is such a bitch.”
Now that’s my kind of yoga instructor.
For the record, I belonged to the former group—the one who was happy right where I was. I am not a yogi. I am a runner who makes weekly visits to the mat because I can’t form a parallel squat without it. I don’t breathe correctly, I hate the nap they make me take afterward, and I will walk over and adjust the thermostat if it’s too hot (believe me, I’ve done it).
“Breathe! I said breathe! If you don’t breathe out of your mouth it will come out another hole!”
The woman who teaches yoga at my gym Tuesday nights is 5′ nothing, Filipino, and cracks my ass up. Before class, one student asked her how her weekend was:
“On Friday I drank a bottle of wine. Then I passed out. Then my dog woke me up and said, ‘Walk me bitch!’”
I’ve had so many yoga instructors tell me to find laughter in the pose—but frankly I don’t find breathing in the universe all that comical. This woman, I find hilarious—and not just because of her word choice.
One of the most ruthlessly fierce and inspiring women I have ever met is my great aunt. To her, life is like wringing a towel dry—you need to squeeze out every last bit you possibly can. She walks four miles every day, goes to yoga on Saturdays, and will walk into any grungy bar to watch her grandson’s band play. She does not bob her head to the music, but she will clap along.
When I’m eighty, I hope to have an attitude just like hers.
The best piece of advice she’s ever given me (and she’s reinforced it several times since) is this: If you don’t laugh, you’ll cry.
This year my family visited DC for Christmas. To make my 600 square foot apartment all holiday joyful, I decided I wanted a Christmas tree. My roommate and I walked three miles to Eastern market to buy a little guy standing 3.5 feet tall.
I decorated it with one string of lights I bought from CVS, and the seven Christmas ornaments my mom mailed me—four of which I made in elementary school.
My roommate was dying. “It’s such a sad little tree!”
I think I would have been better off decorating a plant. “We have popcorn—what if we strung popcorn?”
“My family always hangs up our Steelers and Pirates tickets,” I hadn’t seen my roommate laugh this hard in a long time, “You could hang up your parking tickets!!”
I’ve never ran a checks-and-balances over my contribution to the parking authority, but I think I’ve paid well over two thousand dollars in parking fees since college. That might be low-balling it. I’ve also been towed seven times.
“THAT’S THE BEST IDEA YOU’VE EVER HAD AMY!!!!”
I got out my scrapbook (yes there’s a scrapbook) and strung ‘em up. The pink slips made it look festive.
The next week, I had two friends text me when they were having a bad day. I sent a photo of my tree as a response.
“Shut the front door. Are those parking tickets??”
Yes, yes they were. On Christmas day, two of my aunts called to talk to my family, and before signing off, yelled, “Send us a picture of Kara’s tree!!” After my parents left, I didn’t have the heart to take it down, so I left it up through the Near Year. While my friends pregamed at my place on NYE, they said, “You have to look at her Christmas ornaments!” to each person who walked in.
My tree made me happy. Two thousand dollars would have made me happier, but that ship has sailed.
I once flew to Germany and toured seven countries on less than two thousand dollars. For general sanity and morale purposes, I never look at my bank account and my parking ticket scrapbook on the same day.
Part of me (mainly my calves) wants to cry every time I flow into a downward dog. My soul dies each time I think how many roads I have single-handedly funded to be repaved. But if I don’t make a joke of it and at least try to laugh at it, I’d probably burst into tears every time I pull up PNC.com.
Plus, it makes for a much better story.