Are you here for all the things that I don’t have” was my relationship with my mother. Not that she withheld things from me; they just weren’t there to give. That was sort of a sad but interesting thing. A story. My mother had killed herself, and one year later her younger sister killed herself. Their mother, not surprisingly, went into a depression and had electroshock therapy, which helped, but which knocked out some of her memory. So my grandmother called me and asked me to help her remember the “good times” with my mother. In fact, I didn’t have any. So instead I called on things I liked about my friends’ mothers. I gave them to her as though they were memories of her daughter. At the moment she asked me to do this I was fully aware of what an amazing thing was being presented to me. So I was there for all the things she didn’t have. And my grandmother wanted all the things I didn’t have, the good memories. That’s where that came from.
Did you know in ancient Rome
priests called augurs studied
the future by carefully watching
whether birds were flying
together or alone, making what
honking or beeping noises
in what directions? It was called
the auspices. The air
was thus a huge announcement.
Today it’s completely
transparent, a vase.
…trying to describe how three years of sitting naked before strangers and feeling their empathy run like a current between you as they draw—this changes you. Gradually, it conditions you to feel that you need never prove yourself to anyone, or hide anything about yourself. (I have heard this from other art models, too.) And I took that feeling with me wherever I went, clothed, yet still unhiding. There was so much peace in that vulnerability!
If you have a negative tendency and you deny it, then you’ve doubled it. If you have a negative tendency and you look at it” — which is, in part, what the process of writing allows — “then the possibility exists that you can convert it.
Well, it’s not a best of list. It’s never comprehensive. It signifies nothing. But I love the exercise of waking daily, remembering the big songs that made the year substantial, worthwhile. Same game as last year, same caveats. I picked more than 31, I think. Sometimes I couldn’tchoose. I thought there would be very few guitars, but in fact there were some. I went to the gym as ritual every day, so I feel that is why there were so many more loops than usual. I love loops. I wrote a fair amount too, so there were characters, creatures, architectures that visited me. I lived the most during the summer, though at the time I felt bogged down by responsibility, work, professional impotence. I loved anythinganthemic. Many lyrics stood out and did nastylittletricks.
2012 was a strange year. I hesitate to call it bad; it laid down seed. Music pushed the old girl through, as always, as ever, and on. Whereas last year there were big album releases, this year I seemed to love the single-serving track. Actually, there was at least one album that I would slip on like a huge sweater on these last cold months. I respected and fought with traditional pop song structures. Some things stirred in me at the thought of one woman perfecting the old ABABCAB art in one album’s time.
During my first marathon, my quads gave out at mile 16. Mile SIXTEEN?! You never forget that mile marker. You have 10.2 to go. How. Do I. Move. Body, we had a deal.
I managed to run-run through mile 20, at which point I “cheated” and put on my iPod. I needed something, anything, to get me through some of the toughest six miles of my life, run-walking, walking, jogging, not-dying. I’ll never forget that this was the song:
“You’re gonna suffer. You’re gonna make it.”
And I did, both. As then, now.
Problem: So many. I had an interview that went well for a job I’d really like in a field I’d really love to bust into. And now? Now we wait. Good lord this is painful.
Solution: Cardio intervals on the AMT. Trying to take it easy while my right leg figures out some stuff. The weights yesterday were intense (though they were very easy movements- rows and deadlifts and such), and I was actually a bit sore. I am NEVER sore! Finished with abs and an extended stretch, especially with my calves. They’ve been acting up recently. Weird.
Result: REALLY HOPEFUL, Y’ALL. Not hopeful and stupid, though. I made more connections today with more fantastic-looking jobs. Something big is about to happen. I can feel it.
JAMZ: Look. You want there to be more than the TNGHT album and I am like HAHAHAHA, no. You will only lift to TNGHT. Situp/plank/swiss ball pike circuit track of the millenium:
(Just when you think you are going to die, the highest payoff of the song comes in. THANK YOU.)
Problem: Found an apartment. Can we talk for a minute about how expensive being an adult is? Like, remember your 20s when you could seriously call a friend and they would be like: oh yeah, please take this room in our house. We have 9 people living in three bedrooms with one bathroom but we’ve pimped out the closets and you can have this futon half rolled up in the attic for $400/month. No security deposit, everything’s fine. And now you’re an adult, and you have standards. Those standards cost 8 million dollars. For a roof. For a roof over your head while you contemplate unemployment, loneliness, and your eventual demise for fucking two months- this makes no sense. Why do we even do this. Why isn’t the bank open today. Why can’t this just be done and over with.
Solution: If there ever was a day for cardio death insanity, it was today. HIIT and some steady state on the AMT and elliptical while I waited for a treadmill to sprint on. That last sprint was slower than my ush, but I practically blew a hole in my throat. From breathing. Amazing jolt into the present moment if there ever was one. There will be some runner reading this who will understand how awesome that is. Please say hi.
Result: I have managed to relax into the evening. I did very little. Tomorrow the job hunt begins all over again, I know. But I’ve done the work. I’ve put in the time, and now I’ve had the sweat and a bit of rest. Love it.
Jamz: Another banger for my five minute run sprints. It’s one of the only times I still tolerate jungle MC’s.
Problem: Woke up late. I mean, usually not the worst thing in the world but when your dedicated “job hustle” time is between 5 and 7 and you wake up at 7:15 (and it’s 0 degrees F outside), it can be tempting to just crawl right back inside bed. But I had work to do. And my time with Gym Crush is limited. So we HAD to make it to the gym.
Solution: Arms circuit. The workout has been 4 full circuits with a stairmill sprint in between each, but I really only had time and energy for 3. But I did it. And I got my harmless flirt on, for the 5 minutes we were in the gym together.
GC: So what is the deal? Are you going to NYC or what?
Me: You still have me for 5 weeks.
GC: Ok good, I got an extension on checking out your bum.
Me: Yep, enjoy it while it lasts.
*proceeds to do bent over rows*
Result: Much better. Is is just me or does a good workout just warm you up for the rest of a cold day?
Problem: Dentist appointment. Seven cavities, and a pretty hefty bill. Also did not get the job I interviewed for on Friday. Quick turnaround on rejection we have here.
Solution: Leg day to begin. A lovely circuit care of Muscle and Fitness Hers. Finished the day with a sweaty 90 minute vinyasa class. It had been too long. I’d even lost my Foursquare mayorship of the yoga studio!
Result: A bit relaxed actually. My teeth are throbbing but I believe I’ll be sleeping soundly through the night. For once.
Problem: Well, I was merely overwhelmed until I was on the elliptical and I got an email that said the apartment I was SURE I was going to live in in March was unavailable. And then all my positive thinking kind of got eaten up.
Solution: Pumped up my cardio workout. Added a mini ab circuit between machines. The order went: AMT elliptical intervals, abs, stairmill intervals, abs, 30 minutes of moderately steady state elliptical, strettttttttch. It made things a heck of a lot better.
Result: Still overwhelmed, but satisfied knowing that it probably just wasn’t the perfect place right now. Two leads on places have fallen through in the past week, but I am confident there will be some clarity in this arena soon. No really. I believe things are going to open up. They have to.
Problem: Oh you know. I asked the universe for help making a choice: Do I stay the course at my current gig and stay in Boston, city that I would happily do without? City of brick walls and turtlenecks and endless date-free Friday nights? City without a home. City of spiraling-out-of-control rent and salaries that hurt to look at. Or do I move to the big cities that I’ve never lived in but I feel a spiritual home in? And the universe answered. Hard. Making the decision easy, but nervewracking. No job yet. No home yet. The one thing I know: I won’t be in this town on March 1 unless something dramatic happens. No more drama, please.
Solution: Well, all week I’ve been tackling this circuit routine from Muscle & Fitness Hers, which is barbell heavy and delicious. I’ve been lifting heavier than I usually would because it feels good to exert more energy right now. I like it a lot. By the fourth circuit of the upper body day I feel like Linda Hamilton in Terminator, and that’s the goal for life anyway.
Result: I have to say I’m not sure I would have gotten through the week without my fitness routine. It has made me feel powerful and determined and reminded me of my strength. Next week a grand return to yoga, which I certainly need. I am as surprised as you are to have a smile on my face.
JAMZ: My weight workouts are ruled by the TNGHT EP. Bench press/Deadlift anthem here.
Problem: Mentioned my list of resolutions to someone the other day and she hit me back with some real talk that spurred nothing short of an identity crisis. Realized (again?) that I’ve given most of the past decade of my life to work and school to please other people and while those pursuits haven’t exactly been fruitless, we haven’t exactly sprouted an orchard either. In the end, it will be a sacrifice to be creative, to do the meaningful things in my life. And that’s great. But how? And when do I start? Do I start this very second? Because I can, but I am exhausted/beaten.
Solution: An hour of moderate-heavy lifts with extra-heavy flirting. Good lord, the laughter alone is a calorie boost. Oh right, it was my favorite lift day: barbell single-legged deadlifts, kettlebell swings, cable face pulls. (DUDES PLEASE STOP HOGGING THE CABLES. I promise I am in and out in less than 8 reps, guy.)
Result: Amped up. Ready to be inspired. Ringing in the new year with some vinyasa tonight and I couldn’t. be. happier.
Jamz: Of course he made his boldest move yet while this song was playing because OF COURSE HE DID.
Problem: I’ve put everything I can into getting what I need from the world. The past few weeks have just been waiting. I am getting more impatient than I want to admit to. I want to be a saint. I am being the opposite.
Solution: Lifting! Always lifting. Today was the day with the 40 Swiss ball rollouts. Good lord I hate them. Good lord are they effective. Then I went to a core-focused Vinyasa class with my favorite instructor.
Result: GODDAMN. But for two reasons. Endorphins #1, with that tingly feeling they usher in indicating change. (Something has to change.) And then gym crush #2, who I suppose is my new BFF. And really hot. And free flowing with the compliments.
Jamz: When it’s not the JETS mix I posted last, I am pretty much lifting exclusively to one half of the group JETS. Unsurprising. Probably over-listen to this guy when I’m not wearing spandex, too. This one comes in with a flood of happy brain chemicals.
Problem: Let’s say that the Christmas season is fraught with stress, not because I care about running around and getting the perfect gift for everyone (I try to get these things out of the way ASAP), but because by 10AM on the 25th, I am spent.
Solution: 50 minutes of medium-heavy weights, followed immediately by a 90 minute vinyasa. Everything I needed. Legs are jelly.
Result: OK, Christmas. You have me for about 30 hours. LET’S GO HAM ON THIS SHIT.
JAMZ: Still rocking that JETS FACT mix. I almost never listen to one mix all the way through a weight workout. Perfect intensity.
Problem: Dentist appointment. Impending holiday exhaustion. Nervous about the professional choices I’ve made over the past week. Hoping for the best, of course. Knowing I did my best. And still, so nervous about that which is out of my hands.
Solution: Cardio day! My right hip did not want to play nice today so I decided to play it safe and stay away from the treadmill. Intervals on the AMT, steadier state on the elliptical.
Result: I was fine at the dentist, even when they gave me the bill. Also I’m more at peace with the idea that I put all the good into this current professional manoever that I could. I think it’s going to turn out great one way or another as a result.
Just keep putting the work in. We’re surviving the holidays. How is everyone else doing?
(Giving you this as an audio post so you can enjoy the Jamz. I’ve been a bit de-jammed of late.) Problem: Frustrating day yesterday, which featured guest appearances from a mouse, a gluten free cookie, and missing yoga pants. Solution: Moderate weight workout. All the hits. And? And? And? Gym Crush was there again today. That was fun. Result: What cookie? What mouse? Let’s do this all again tomorrow! JAMZ: This mix made my workout much, much easier. Very fun.
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