Clean and Elegant

Clean and Elegant

Wednesday, 28 December 2011

Year-end Review: I Toot My Own Horn

Since it is the end of the year, I feel compelled to write an entirely astronomical post as a Final, Magnanimous, Culmination of 2011's victories and catastrophes.
For about five minutes, I was paralyzed at the beginning of the second sentence, but thanks to the generous inspiration from the Big Black Dog, I am able to resume.
Big Black Dog, Magnanimous Source of Inspiration
I would like to point out the both 2011 and 2010 concluded with Relatively Astronomical Cold Sores (RACS).  It is comforting to observe such consistencies as the years go by.
The Boatman with his Oyster-Sized Cold Sore acquired in the Future, February 2012. Thank you, the Boatman for magnanimously sharing your cold sore with the interwebs.
In other consistencies:

A) I am still practicing Ashtanga Yoga.  I am still looking for all three bandhas.  At the end of 2010, I was just getting back into second series since I had to drastically modify my practice in the summer due to a broken arm.  I have continued with second pretty consistently throughout the year, although there have been intermittent periods during which I've experimented with going back to Primary, since I have been working through an injury around my left SI joint and hip.  This injury has not yet completely dissipated; however, I have returned to intermediate. This proves to be un-disastrous as long as I exert thorough caution during backbends.

B)  My hair is about the same.  Large and unruly.  And I twirl it all the time.
C)  I am about the same size.  Same height, same weight.  It was not supposed to be my intention to lose 30 pounds in 2011.  And if it was, well, that would have been stupid.  I don't think I hate my thighs as much as I did last year.  Some of the most amazing yogis have abundant thighs.  Plus my thighs are turning out to be more important than I expected.  I hope that they are absorbing some cosmic love.  Last spring, I spilled coffee on my left thigh and now it has a permanent purple mark.

D) I still have not finished my novel Two Spines.  I pulled it out on two occasions this year, each time for a couple of months.  Both times I stagnated around page 50.  I think that there is enough love inside of me to bring this project to fruition, but I guess something is still holding me back.
This probably marks the end of the year's consistencies.  A whole bunch of things changed this year.  Even my name changed twice.  Voilà a summary of changes:

aa)  My Name.  For a brief period I had a blog in which I named myself Erica S. Natch.  My father pointed out that this probably wouldn't help my employability so I deleted it.  On Facebook, I became Exuberant J. Bodhisattva and so far Mark Zuckerman or Mark Zuckerberg or whatever his name is hasn't cracked down on me. 
bb)  I went from being pretty much unemployed to working approximately three jobs twice.  Money remains an elusive concept, but certainly not as elusive as this time last year.  This time last year, I had just quit a job that entailed stopping people on the cold streets of Montreal and trying to convince them to donate money that was supposed to eradicate child poverty and prevent female circumcision in developing countries.  The pay was ten dollars per hour.  Every day around lunch time when yet another person on the street didn't want to talk to me I would look at them with a Sad Pathetic Expression and they would ask me what was wrong and I would cry.  So I had to leave that job.  In January I was so broke that I couldn't afford to take the bus and I would walk from one unlikely employment opportunity to another, wearing unmatching mittens that Simon, my boyfriend at the time found for me on the street.  Fortunately, life picked up and became less destitute.  Looking back on times like these, everyone always says that they wouldn't have been able to get through it without the support of family and friends.  It sounds cheesy, but it's true.  Thus, a heartfelt thank you to my family and friends, especially my sister, the founding members of the Down-and-Out club, and Fern.

cc)  I quit puking in my mouth and in the toilet.  The puking-in-your-mouth phenomenon is slightly nauseating and confusing for most people.  I wrote a little post about it here:  Day 69 of Not Puking in Your Mouth. Feel free to read it, or not. What's really important is on March 18th, after years of trying so hard and then failing, I made a pact with another friend with an eating disorder, and together we renounced our puking endeavours.  This changed everything.  

dd)  I took a fair number of long breaks from drinking.  I don't consider myself an alcoholic, but I'm not sure my drinking choices have always been in my best interest.  So I've been taking many breaks, and overall, alcohol seems to be losing its appeal.

ee)  I fell in love twice.   And out of love once. See ff) and  hh).

ff)  I stopped sleeping with Simon.  We wrote a book together, and that was amazing and unregrettable, but No More Sex With Simon was essential to my evolution.

gg) I finished two books.  An epistolary novel I wrote with Simon called The Little Savage and the Hermit, and my very first self-help book I Let Go by Erica J. Schmidt.  We are still looking for a publisher for the Little Savage and the Hermit, since so far, Mark Zuckerberg hasn't expressed interest.  For the self-help book, a dear friend from the former Down-and-Out Club is going to illustrate it.  We're planning on self-publishing early in the New Year.  Thank you to James Altucher for suggesting that one can produce a self-help book in such a short period of time.  And for the great advice on self-publishing

hh)  I went to my friend Fern's wedding where I met the Boatman on a boat.  Now I live in Halifax with the Boatman and his Big Black Dog.  Maybe this was impulsive, but I am at the age when Impulsive Things are allowed.  I miss Montréal, especially my friends and the old yoga studio, but overall I feel like I am the happiest I have been in a Long Time.

ii)  I started teaching yoga more than I ever have in my life.  In one of his blog posts, Tim Miller shared a quote about how for the first couple of years of teaching, you should probably pay people to let them teach you.  So far nothing horrendous has taken place in my classes and I certainly accept and appreciate payment, but it's a useful quote to remember.  Thank you to everyone in the Halifax yoga scene for welcoming me and helping me learn.

 jj) I got some articles published on Recovering Yogi and Elephant Journal.  The one that got me the most famous was a response to a bunch of blogosphere criticism against Kino Macgregor, who I admire and adore from afar:

Unfortunately, in the process I made a bad-woman of a fellow Ashtangi blogger who is actually a wonderful and entertaining writer, if somewhat opinionated.  Perhaps this renders me unsattvic and/or hypocritical.  But I thought that Kino needed to be defended.  

kk)  I started this blog.  I have thoroughly enjoyed my introduction to the Ashtanga Blogosphere and I religiously read Nobel's (Nobel in the Dragon's Den) and Claudia's (Earth Yogi) posts.  My own blog lacks a bit of direction and drishti, but it was always meant to be a low pressure activity.  I don't usually force myself to write everyday, just when I am inspired to share something.  I find that whenever I turn something into a Project with a Clear Purpose and Intention and Anticipated Results, I become remarkably distressed.  See here for the day I almost died writing a self-help book:  Yesterday I Almost Died Writing a Self-Help Book.  Immensely and Devastated are two frequently used words when it comes to discussing writing projects.  Thus, it is with caution that I embark on Projects with Clear Purposes and Intentions and Anticipated Results.  But despite all of my creative angst, if I am objective,  this year has been one of the most creatively productive years of my life. Thus, as I advise all my readers in my self-help book, I should just let go...  My only Official and Specific Writing Goal for 2012 is to learn how to use the word magnanimous properly.
Poetic Pause.
And it's over.

This, my friends, sums up all of the year's Immense and Mammoth Victories and Immense and Devastating Catastrophes.  My Magnanimous Post is over.  I am finished Tooting My Own Horn.

I invite you to toot yours! 
Much love, EJB.  XOM.
The End.
Me and the Boatman, gazing at the Magnanimous Sky Friends

Twitter: @mypelvicfloor
I Let Go, by Erica J. Schmidt
2013: An Ecstatic Year for the Exuberant Bodhisattva
2014: Year of the Spiritual Pants
2015: You No Look Back

Monday, 28 November 2011

Yesterday I Almost Died Writing A Self-Help Book

It was supposed to be about my nine compartments of gurus (COGS).  I wanted to tell everyone about my gurus.  The sky friends and the vegan life coach and Darby and James Altucher. says that Guru is a math equation with a plus sign.  
Gu + Roo=Guru.  

“Gu” means "dark gooey attachment."  Attachments are terrible things that make you steal hair elastics from Loblaws and not recycle your peanut butter jar.   Fortunately, there is also a roo, which means “a (liberating) ray of light.” puts brackets around liberating.  That’s probably because you have to choose for your gurus to liberate you.  Or not.  Take the brackets off.  Or leave them on.  Find the eternal and internal spaciousness of your pelvis.  Or forget about it.  Steal the hair elastics.  Or pay for them.  The peanut butter jar has a similar story, but it involves a sink and a clear blue recycling bag. 

Yesterday, I must have left the brackets around the liberating because all I could see was the goo around my pelvis and I couldn't write a thing.  The goo was so hideous and abundant that me and the dog and the Boatman almost drowned. 

I didn't want to resort to stealing hair elastics or throwing away the peanut butter jar, so I emailed James Altucher.   He was supposed to be in the guru self-help book that I was supposed to write in 3 to 7 days.  I got the whole idea from James's book "I was blind, but now I see." (P.S.  I have noticed that very successful people are very prompt in responding to emails. I put brackets around this observation, but I could quite easily take them off.) I told James about the goo, and James was very empathetic and told me to focus on what I had to do for the rest of the day.  "That's all there is." 

Some days are really terrible for writing about gurus.  You'd do much better to make hummus.  So the Boatman and I went to Canadian tire,  and we picked out a blender and that's what we did.  Tomorrow's another day for liberating rays of light, but for now we have veggies and dip.  

The End.

The book got written! Hurray!
I Let Go by Erica J. Schmidt, illustrated by Sara E. Enquist

Exuberant Bodhisattva on Facebook
Twitter: @mypelvicfloor

You Cling To Things Until They Die
I read Choose Yourself by James Altucher and My Oxytocin Levels Increased Immediately



Monday, 24 October 2011

Property of Facebook

Preamble:  I used to hope that I could somehow transform my Facebook statuses into wonderful and engaging material. Then I could publish it and create a great scandal since Facebook apparently owns everything I post.  So here it is.  My poetic lines, compiled.  Enjoy!  I look forward to the imminent lawsuit.

Property of Facebook
by Erica J. Schmidt 

She can only find eight ways of looking at a goldfish.  Now she is learning about low-frequency words.  Today, we get out of jail free.  If you look, you might find the joy of sex in your school bag.  Enjoy everything in moderation, except for yoga and protected sex.  Ensure that you release your groins and do laundry before Ricky Bennet and Jesus Christ have birthdays.  Hurry up, or else you’ll miss out on the immaculate conception.  Tis the season for kidneys and bladders.  Urine, not tinsel.  Falala. 
Now she is giving her garbage can a shower.  In the meantime, she wraps herself in straps above her traps and under her crotch.  Stopping at the kitchen, she facilitates sex between cabbage and kitchen appliances. 

Liver, she says, take rest with the merry gentlemen.  Despite this, she wonders what all the cool people in Montréal are doing for New Year's, with the hope that they’ll ask her to participate.  She wants to make a bake with a bean in.  How very cool.  She wants to bake a cake with a bean in it AND prepare her relationship with consonants.  That’s what she  imagines the cool people are doing, but she could be very, very wrong.
Today, it seems she must run away before her fertility turns to mushrooms.  A cartoon about a pinball is teaching her how to count to twelve.  With rhythm and song.  She peaked at ten and stagnated at eleven.  She stagnates in Mushroomland. 

Listen to the voices of psoriasis.  The ulcer potion tastes like tree.  Brew piss in your bed.  This friend is false.  False friends.  If nobody understands, then nobody wins.  Trevor Fraser wins dandelion tea.
The dormouse said, Feed Your Head and you forgot.  Notes may have bodies, and still be of no help.  Mushrooms cannot be inundated.  No more clenching her asscheeks.  Or his.  Hereby, she solemnly declares.  Here, she plagiarizes a man who has not yet killed himself.

"The afternoon passed as slowly and as painfully as a walnut sized kidney stone."

Mushrooms cannot be inundated.  Once she dreamt she hopped like a crocodile, but it was in outer space and there were clouds in her coffee.  She wanted it to go on.  She wanted to go commando.  Then she maxed out on self-indugence and hence did not elaborate.  So much depends upon sewers and REM sleep.  A queer erotic thesaurus.  Temporary can last a long long time.  Longer than it takes to move beyond Mao with breasts.  Many people never move beyond Mao with breasts.  Or that’s how it seems.  Things may change after their unborn foetuses sweeps away their  fungus and digestive organs.  Someone tagged her as vegetarian abalone.  She stepped to the right of her left hemisphere.  Lu and J Dick to the end.  Unless some crazy tropical disease gets them. 
Two weeks later she returned from her right hemisphere trip.  In a dream, she hopped around like a crocodile, but it was in outer space and there were clouds in her coffee.  Twinkle, twinkle, little sweet.  Rest in peace in the land of Cud.   A brain is a mediocre commodity. Non-public-nuisance-fresh-eggs. 

Unlike, unlike, unlike.  Buckyballs are perplexing and non-addictive.  Thank you for your compassion.  It was better than the clap.  The J. Dick room is now open for practice.  Have a great lunch.  The head she fell on was the size of a sandwich.  The sandwich he ate was the size of her head.  All in all, it was an excellent lesson in non-attachment. 

Everyone is saying EPIC these days.  1000 folded red napkins.  1000 grams of fibre.  1000 years of Chaturanga.  I am yours til the pelvis tilts. Art Deco and Delicious Psoas. 
Hip, hip hurray!  She caught the bouquet!  Does anyone know of a reputable hypnotist?  His raincoat could be less attractive, but then it probably wouldn’t smell as bad.  R.I.P. blender.  Every morning, groins are different.  Welcome to a Domestic Holiday.  No papaya seeds are necessary.  The groins display unlikely stoicism, but the voice eludes them.  Legs up a tree. 

Shit went up the drain and she felt the need to evacuate.  Bad Lady.  This has been a short-lived, inefficient vocation, with questionable hygiene.  With Great Conviction.  Too invincible.  Uninvincing.  There’s infection in the forks. 
Ring-a ding-ding.  It was a five-star day at a two-star hotel.  The beautiful and charming can be physically physically dyslexic and forever alienated from 103 million deep breaths.  Worse things have happened in On-terrible.  Patents, trademarks and smoked salmon. 

There are dead pigeons everywhere. The kapots are kaput. And every time you go swimming you release two teaspoons of urine into the water. Every time. Whether you want to or not. Happy Labour Day.  Happy Labour Day to the Hawks and the Kapotasanas.  Spank a needle fish in Marshallese.  The pigeon looked up, the pigeon looked down, the pigeon ate bread and turned around.  Chloramines form form when chlorine combines with urea and/or fecal matter.  Sniff.  Someone should make the yamas more practical.  Knowledge isn’t a contest. 
The drain is fixed and now she’s  back.  She’ll never wear pants again.  Pas de pantalons.  Someone should also buy her more pantyhoes. Hos? How.  Outside her apartment, there are still dead pigeons everywhere.  Although they possess wings, they luxuriate in gravity.  One of them has an open wound.  She could obtain a free lunch, but the Buddha wouldn’t approve.  As a rule, the Buddha does not approve.  But the Buddha is always right.  Stevie Wonder too.  Mrs. Vanden Bosch, sometimes. 

Ninety Minutes of Weekly Anonymity.  During this time, she breaks it down, trying to be a real, funky lov-ah.  Unfortunately, God didn’t give her the right face.  Fortunately, everyone can benefit from the vibrations.  She is fucking neurological pathways.  The joke is old, but the benefits are eternal.  Her overhead costs are over her head.  She subsists on Lice and Rentils. 

Party Time.  Lice and Rentils.  The people in this room have several pink elephants on the go.  They are waiting for Santa Claus. If he doesn’t show up by nine o’clock, they’ll begin to make collages.  With the right attitude, she can feel fortunate and prosperous.  Despite his nipples being bigger than her breasts.  It’s important to be unfacetious at times.  So that not everyone on Earth will bring immense pain. 
You can't spend the rest of your life with the tip of your tongue stuck to your alveolar ridge. You, I or she.  Hence, she employs her pulmonic egressive airstream mechanism. Cleansing the nerves, before the kitchen.   Complete liver function is useful whilst dropping back. 

Life may not be the party we had hoped for, but while we are here, we may as well decorate mason jars.  Doing so will change your life as much as the diva cup. 
Schoolwork is like dirty diapers.  Although shitty, you’re better off dealing with them slash it.  Naomi has learned to make Brussel Sprouts.  Nothing can ever take anything away from you, but just the same, you may as well let it all go.  She is still changing diapers.  Some dis-equilibrium is self-perpetuating. 

Strapped into Supta Baddha Konasana reading, "Comment faire l'amour avec un Nègre sans se fatiguer." Only six pages to go. Anything Is Possible When You Skip Linguistics.

The End.

Twitter: @mypelvicfloor


Tuesday, 4 October 2011


by Erica J. Schmidt

When I was a little girl, my favourite game was dress up.  The dress-up box sat underneath the pine bunk bed that my father had built.  In it was the white clown suit with polka dots that my sister had worn to the hospital two days after I was born.  To go with it was a rainbow wig of curly haired clown hair that my grandmother wore to her chemotherapy 20 years later.  Also stored in the old trunk were my parents’ wedding clothes-my father’s dark beige corduroy suit and my mother’s seemingly patchwork purple, black and yellow baby doll dress. 
“I just loved that dress,” Mom would exclaim when my sister put it on.   “I can’t remember why.”  The material flowed out from my sister’s hips, circling her ankles on the floor.  I had seen pictures of my parents’ city hall wedding.  My sister had been the flower girl and worn a mauve jumper.  I was underneath my mom’s dress, which stopped just above my mother’s knees. 

“I wish you’d worn a pretty white one,” Amy-Louise complained. While Mom was taking her nap, Amy-Louise told me that Mommy hadn’t had a fancy wedding, because she still loved Amy-Louise’s Daddy who was funnier  and didn’t yell.  My sister visited her father every other weekend.  When she returned on Sunday nights, she cried and screamed because her daddy was nicer than mine. 
I liked it when my sister went to her dad’s.  Then I had the whole dress up box to myself.  Otherwise, Amy-Louise made me wear something ugly like Great Grandpa Meier’s gardening overalls or Great Aunt Lotty’s itchy woollen red bathing suit. 

The best costume was the fairy princess dress which was silky, shiny and pink, with bits of material that draped down the skirt, like petals.  Every time I put on the dress, my chest filled with pride and I felt like the most beautiful woman in the world.  There was something extraordinarily special about me and the whole world knew it.  I was barely 4 years old. 
On some Saturdays, my parents made me play with Darcy.  Darcy was four and a half, but I already came up to his nose.  Like me, he had blonde flowing, curly hair that ended at his chin.  Darcy’s father also had long hair which I didn’t understand.  In my parents’ wedding pictures, my Dad had long black hair, but he also had a beard so that everyone that knew he was a man. 

Darcy and I began each of our dress-up sessions in our underwear.  Squatting beside the dress-up box, Darcy cupped his face in his hands and watched me as I slipped the princess dress over my head.  I slid into my mother’s navy blue pumps and took a few clunky steps until I knew with absolute certainty that I was the most beautiful woman in the world.   Digging through the clown suits and wedding clothes, I came upon Darcy’s costume of the day. 
“You wear this,” I ordered, throwing Aunt Lotty’s bathing suit at Darcy.
“That’s for girls,” Darcy whined.
“ Boys don’t have long hair.”
“Some boys do.”

“Not pretty ones.  Now put this on.”  Reluctantly, Darcy slipped into the bathing suit.  The shoulder straps hung loosely and the wool billowed around his crotch and abdomen. 
“We’re going to beach,” I announced, dragging him by the hand across the hallway to the bathroom.  Our house was so old that the bathtub had claws, no shower and individual faucets for the hot and cold water.   I turned both faucets on full blast. 
“Get in,” I told Darcy.
“My undies will get wet.” 
“Too bad.  You’re a girl.”  I meant that he wasn’t allowed to take his underwear off, because then his penis would show and it would ruin the effect.
“So are you.”
“But I’m a princess mother.  It’s better.  Get in.”  Darcy stepped onto the wooden bench that my father had made us and climbed over the edge of the bathtub. 

“Sit,” I ordered.  He sat and as predicted, his underwear got wet and Aunt Lotty’s bathing suit grew soggy and even loser around his pelvis and middle.  Darcy whimpered and began to kick his legs as though he we pinned to the bottom to the bathtub and was trying to wriggle himself free.  I looked down at him with disdain and mimicked my father when he was speaking to my mother.
“Christ, Darcy what are you doing?”  Darcy whimpered like a dead cat.  “Crying won’t help.”  Bubbles formed behind Darcy’s buttocks.  It smelled wet and foul like diarrhea.  “You better not pooh,”  I warned.  
Next time, stand up.”
“You said sit,” he said.
“What are you, a dog?”  I dragged the bench to the sink so that I could reach above the sink to the medicine cabinet.  Inside was an open package of my mother’s pink disposable razors.  I removed one from the package, removed the plastic cover and clicked back to the bathtub.  I wanted to slide the razor along Darcy’s skinny legs like I’d seen my mom do.  Clutching Darcy’s handles, I pulled his leg straight and brought the razor to his skin.
“Hold still,”  I said.  Darcy ay on his back and kicked the razor out of my hand.  It fell into the water next to Darcy’s thigh.  Seizing the handle, Darcy stood up and lashed the blade at my face, pushing it down hard so it broke the skin on my left cheek.  I screamed and rushed out of the bathroom.  As I ran downstairs barefoot, blood dripped on the puffed sleeves of the princess dress and I wet my pants. 
We wore our regular clothes to the emergency but Darcy refused to borrow my underwear so he didn’t wear any.  In the emergency room, we sat on orange chairs and I  held a washcloth on my bleeding face.   At the end of our row of clothes, an old bald man was wheezing heavily.  His right pant leg was rolled up and his purply veiny leg was draped along the chairs beside him  Across from us, a tall, pale, emaciated lady with stringy blonde hair was shaking her hands, neck and feet as she spoke to the fluorescent lights on the ceiling. 
“How are you, Sheila?  Are you having a good day.  No I’m not.  My colon is bleeding.  Bloody colon.  Bloody colon.  Not a good day.”  She stood over, pulled down her pants to her thighs and bent over, mooning the lights on the ceiling. “Bloody colon!”  Now she was yelling.  She place one hand on either ass cheek and spread them apart.  “Bad day.  Bad day.  A security guard came up behind her, pulled up her pants and led her away.  My mother stared, fascinated.
“Every time I come to a hospital, I just wish I’d finished my nursing degree.  I just wish I’d finished it.”  She was a piano teacher.
On the way home, my mother decided to raise her voice briefly.  “I’m really mad at you guys,” she declared.  Darcy started to cry but I remained silent and solemn.   The doctor had said that the cut wasn’t deep enough to need stitches and taped it together with a fancy band-aid.  My mother washed the princess dress by hand, but I could still see the blood stains.  Just the same, a few days later, I slipped it on with my mother’s blue pumps and waited for the beautiful, extraordinary I’m so special feeling.  I crossed the hallway to examine myself in the mirror in my parent’s bedroom  Suddenly, the magic dress appeared too shiny and too pink.  Plus it was way too big for me.  I knew that the special and extraordinary feeling that I used to have didn’t match my face, which was round, fleshy and of course, punctuated by the band-aid on my left cheek.  My unruly curly blonde hair hadn’t been combed or groomed and its knotted frizz stuck out in a different directions.  The image was so devastating compared to the way I had imagined myself.  Everything I had thought had been a lie. 
I didn’t stop playing dress up, but I never wore the Prince dress ever again.  Also, I decided it was a bad idea to look in the mirror if there was any hope in rekindling the spectacular sense of unique beauty that had once arose so easily. 
Then one summer afternoon, I found myself in front of a mirror in an elevated chair in a hair salon.  My hairdresser’s name was Terry which I thought was confusing.  With her broad shoulders, fat chest and thick legs, she could have been a man or a woman.  She dug her nails into my skull and ran her fingers through my curls which almost came to my shoulders.
“Curly hair’s so cute when it’s short,” Terry said. 
“And it will be so much easier to take care of, sweetie,”  my mother gushed.  “Your first haircut at a real hairdresser!  How exciting!”
I did not feel excited.  I looked down at the floor so that I would not see my round, sad, unspectacular face with the scar on my left cheek.
“Hurry up,”  I said.  “I want to go swimming.  Twenty minutes later, I looked in the mirror again and saw a bowl of tight curls jutting out from my head.
“So  sweet,” my mother exclaimed.  “Thank you Terry.
I refused to go swimming that day.  I couldn’t wear my blue and red bathing suit with the dolphin on the tummy.  Everyone would look at me funny because my hair made me look like a boy.  I announced to my parents that I was a boy now and I needed new clothes.  They bought me a pair of blue shorts and green swimming trunks with sharks on them.
In August, my cousin got married in Manitoba.  My aunt wanted me to wear a frilly blue dress with flowers on it.  I couldn’t because it wouldn’t match my hair.  They tried to convince me that it was just like playing dress up, but I remained adamant.  Finally, we agreed upon blue trousers, a white dress shirt and suspenders. When Darcy came over to play we played doctor, cars and cops and robbers.  When I went over to his house, we played with his guns, even though my mother didn’t want us to.
Darcy and I went to different kindergartens since Darcy’s parents believed that children should be educated according to a theory made up by a man named Mr. Walnut.  My teacher’s name was Ms.  Strotman.  On my first day, I wore my blue trousers from the wedding and a red t. shirt with a yellow praying mantis and the words “Party Animal” on it.  My sneakers were navy blue with light blue Velcro.  My hair had grown out a little bit, but my mother had taken me to Terry for a trim on the weekend.  Now it fell a few millimetres above the tips of my ears.
“You’re so pretty,”  Terry had cooed from behind the chair.  I disagreed.  I looked like a boy.
All the other little girls had to sit on their heels or pull down their frilly flowering dresses so that the little boys couldn’t see their underwear.  I sat in a comfortable cross-legged position next to Ms. Stroman’s rocking chair.  Ms.  Strotman had long shiny wavy brown hair that went down past her shoulder blades.  She was wearing light beige Capri pants and a dark purple 3 quarter length shirt with sparking designs on it  I thought that she was very beautiful but I was shocked that she didn’t have to wear a dress on the first day of school. 
“Good morning girls and boys,”  Ms. Strotman greeted us.  I wondered if I had to wait for my hair to grow back before I could be a girl again.  I wanted to be a girl, like Ms. Strotman. 
We stood up and pretended to sing along as Ms. Strotman played Oh Canada on the piano.  Afterwards, she gave each of us strips of construction paper with our names on it.  My strips were red and orange.  The first one was for writing practice and the second was to put in the Helper of the Day box.  Ms. Strotman reached in the box and pulled out a long green strip of construction paper.  Consequently, the Helper of the Day was Ben.  Ben stood up.  He was tanned with rosy cheeks, blue eyes and wavy brown hair that was just a little shorter than mine.  Ben got to turn the weather wheel and determine whether it was snowy, rainy, cloudy and or sunny.  He selected the day of the week out of seven rectangles of Bristol board with bold, illegible letters printed on them.  Ben knew that it was Tuesday.  Ms.  Strotman had to help him with the month and date.  Still, I admired his choices.
At playtime, I saw Ben in the Kitchen Corner where there was a Fisher Price kitchen set, as well as a box full of dress up clothes.  I gazed longingly as Ben rummaged through the costumes and pulled out a police hat and blazer.  Tentatively I approached the kitchen set.  I removed the plastic egg from the frying pan and replaced it with the piece of plastic French toast. 
“Hi,” Ben said.  I’m the police.  I say you wear a tutu.”  From the box, he procured a tutu with a light blue silk body suit and a dark blue lacy skirt.  It was beautiful, perhaps more beautiful than the princess dress ever was. 
I stared at Ben in shock.  Didn’t he know that I was an ugly boy and that I couldn’t possibly  belong in a tutu.
“I’m the police,”  Ben repeated.  Too stunned to be delighted, I slipped the tutu over my trousers and party animal shirt.  Ben took my hand, opened the dishwasher and found a plate.  He removed the French toast from the frying pan and we ate it together.
Playing with Ben was the closest I ever got to retrieving the sensation of being extraordinarily beautiful, that I’d lost when Darcy cut me in the bathtub.  Every day at playtime, Ben at I met in the house corner.  He was the policeman and I was the blue ballerina, with trousers for leotards.  By December, most of my hair had grow back again.  Ben and I were partners in the Christmas pageant.  Ben wore the policeman uniform and I wore the tutu.  At the end, Ben bowed and I curtsied.  Backstage we kissed on the lips.  . 
My parents finally split up when I was twenty.  While I was helping my mother move I found a framed picture of Ben and I.  We are holding hands under a tree.  There are pink flowers at out feet.  I am wearing a long white dress with tiny burgundy blossoms on it.  I have bangs and pigtails.  After kindgarten, Ben and his family moved to Australia.  His mother helped him write me a postcard.
Ben says he loves you and misses you and wishes you were here.”  LOVE BEN was scrawled in enormous angular underneath Ben’s mother’s writing.  That was the last I heard of him.
Our family moved to Perth in grade one, so we didn’t hear much of Darcy either.  I always kept the scar from when I made him wear Aunt Lotty’s bathing suit.  My Dad said that Darcy had a hard life.  He took a lot of drugs and didn’t get along with his parents.  My mom said that that was because he was a test tube baby.
I wear dresses all the time now.  And my hair is never cut shorter than my shoulders.  People tell me I am beautiful, but when I look in the mirror, my reflection never comes close to the image of beauty, I believed I’d exuded as a child.  If I take of my dresses and sit down, admirers would see my thighs spread out into what they really are.  Mammoth.  Grotesque.  Inside, I feel fragile, like a broken, ruined delicateness.  The part of me that matches that is Darcy’s scar.  It will live as long as I do.  Last weekend, my dad called me to say that during his sleep, Darcy had asphyxiated on his own vomit and died in his girlfriend’s arms.  He was 22. 
I just got a job modelling luscious wedding gowns next to handsome grooms who look like the kind of men that Ben must have grown up to be.  At each makeup call I close my eyes as the assistant tweezes my eyebrows, and covers my face with powders and blushes and skin coloured face paint.  Maybe, if she does a good enough job, when I stand beside the groom, the dead wonder of the princess dress will come back.  When I open my eyes, I can’t see Darcy’s scar in the mirror anymore.  I get up and walk out to meet the groom.  But before I even get through the door, I know that the wonder won’t come back.  It is too late.   It has been too late for a very long time. 

The End.

Twitter: @mypelvicfloor

Monday, 3 October 2011

The Verdict

I apologize for the delay in rendering the Verdict of my Lululemon Interview.  As fate would have it, I have not been busy folding pants.  My potential for transcending mediocrity has been assessed and Lululemon did not call me back for a one-on-one interview.  This is somewhat disappointing.  I was looking forward to discussing my long term goals with a seasoned and elevated Lululemon educator. I thought that that my ten-year health goal to quit coffee and alcohol was very measurable and realistic.  Some things take time.  For my fifteen-year health goal, I'm hoping to even out my pelvis.  I'll let you know how that goes.

The End.
Exuberant Bodhisattva on Facebook.
Twitter: @mypelvicfloor
I Let Go, a self-help book by Erica J. Schmidt

How I will elevate Lululemon
The Group Interview
Mythological, Unconditional Love

Saturday, 24 September 2011

The Group Interview

Yesterday-Interview Day- began in an elevated fashion.  I awoke at five, caffeinated, and biked to the Ashtanga Yoga Shala.  In honour of the sun who is planning to progressively disappear over the next three months, we did 108 sun salutations.  I concluded the practice with some backbends, a forward bend, a shoulderstand, a headstand, and a short, tripped out savasana.  Then I rushed into the shower and began my ten-minutes-to-hotness routine.  

When I am a Lululemon educator, I will know the difference between the tata and muffin-top tucking features of my hand-me-down Lulu getups.  But for now, I can only describe my clothing choices as very short black shorts and a black tank top in which it is very difficult to breathe in, even for people with very small tits.  (If I were in charge of the tank top names, I would call it the CITTA:   the Chaturanga Inflicted Ta Ta Answer .)  I wore my bright blue, five-finger vibram shoes.  Besides being chronically infused with foot odour and athlete’s foot bacteria, these shoes make me look like a bright blue, stretched out ape.  I wore them anyways because they are an excellent conversation starter. 
The Outfit and the Shoes
Yoga Pose = Chaturanga with Grimace
Conveniently, Lululemon is located right underneath the Ashtanga Yoga Shala so once I completed my extensive grooming routine, I didn’t have far to travel.  There were ten other candidates at the interview, all girls, all wearing a unique combination of thigh-loving, muffin-smashing, tata-constricting goodness.  We sat on yoga mats, arranged in a hexagon, underneath the men’s rain gear.  (You never know when a torrential downpour might burst onto your Downward Dog.)  The two store managers welcomed us and explained that this hexagon represented a safe place to share and be open. Within the yoga mats, we need not be afraid of speaking with intention, and expressing our emotions.  They went on to introduce us to the grassroots and values and culture of Lululemon.  Turns out that Lulu is all about culture and not so much about pants.  This is a relief, since as we’ve already established, I know nothing about pants.
For our first interview question we were asked to describe our background, our passions and what we hoped to gain in working for Lululemon.  I listened with as much intent and compassion as I could, beginning in lotus position and switching to modified cow-faced legs when my vibramed feet went numb.  Since the yoga-mat hexagon was a safe and confidential setting, I cannot tell you about the candidate who began to cry whilst speaking of her crushed Olympic dreams.  When it came to my turn, I did my best to be brief and speak with intention.  A friend of mine who had already undergone the interview process (and been rejected) had advised me to refrain from saying anything dark and sarcastic.  These guidelines left me pretty quiet and inhibited. Unfortunately, a few unfiltered one-liners may still have escaped...
Cow-Faced Legs.  I always wondered what part was the cow's face.
I became mildly uncomfortable about an hour into the interview when the managers brought up the topic of goal-setting.  With joy and enthusiasm and hope, everyone else described their dreams of becoming doctors and losing weight and climbing Mount Kilmanjaro.  My lotus legs got increasingly achy.  Goals stress me out.  Typically, my goals have been vague and unachieved.  I rarely write them down.  If I don’t get hired at Lululemon, this will be why.  I feel like I don’t possess the insight and wisdom to accurately envision what will make me happy.  I explained my situation to the store manager.
“You know in twelve-step programs, when they say, ‘life won’t give you what you want, but what you need?’”  Realizing my mistake in mentioning a twelve-step program, I quickly added, “I mean, not that I go to twelve-step programs.  I just find them interesting.  They’re my passion?”
I switched my legs from lotus to cow-face and looked to the ground.   Maybe I should have been honest and told her about the time I went to a twelve-step program and quit puking in my mouth.  Maybe not. 
The last interview question dealt with our “opportunities for elevation.”  Lululemon culture celebrates strength, but it also rejoices at the prospect of reducing mediocrity in its employees.  The process is apparently intensely satisfying. 
Likely the best opportunity-for-elevation goes something along the lines of: 

“I’m entirely committed to achieving the highest level of greatness that I can and often my friends feel inferior to me.”
“I’m so giving and selfless that I never take time for myself.”

Unfortunately, by the time my turn came along, these excellent answers were already used up.  Digging deep into my vast supply of elevation opportunities, I came up with:  
“Um, yah, I never ask for what I want because I don’t think I deserve it and then I cover up my dissatisfaction with chronic self-deprecation and sarcasm.” 

The blonde store manager wore a bright fushia shawl that announced the Lululemon Manifesto in bold, white handwritten letters.  “Mediocre is as close to the bottom as it is to the top, and will give you a lousy life,” the Manifesto proclaimed.  The blonde store manager asked me why I didn’t believe I deserved what I wanted.  There was a long silence during which my usual sarcastic brilliance eluded me.

“Uh, I don’t know,” I said.  I felt like something exceedingly awkward and embarrassing was about to happen.

“Maybe there was a situation from your childhood when you asked for what you wanted and didn’t get it?”  No, this wasn’t true.  I’ve discussed this very same matter in twelve-step meetings.  My childhood was shamefully un-traumatic.  The awkward and embarrassing moment was now nearly inevitable.  Shifting out of cow-faced legs and into lotus, I articulately shrugged my shoulders. 

“It must be really difficult for you to develop close relationships if you’re sarcastic and cold all the time,” said the blonde manager.  She was right.  It was intensely difficult.  Nobody liked me.  I was far too obnoxious to have any friends. 

I looked at the blonde sales manager with desperately wide eyes.  The awkward and embarrassing thing had taken place.  I was crying and there was no traumatic childhood or shattered Olympic dream to justify it. 

The sales manager congratulated me for finally making eye-contact after an hour and a half of standoffish one-liners. She consoled me by confessing to crying last night while watching Grey’s Anatomy.  Without regaining any composure, I nodded, released my legs and sat on my knees like a normal person.

Tomorrow, I’ll receive an email stating whether or not I’ll be called into a one-on-one interview where we’ll further discuss my elevation potential.  Before we left, the managers reminded us that rather than taking it as a rejection, those who fail to make the cut should view the outcome as, “not now.”  We were encouraged to apply again and again, using each attempt as an opportunity to elevate ourselves further and further away from mediocrity.  I’ll be sure to keep this in mind.  

The End.

From Luon to Watermelon Shirts.
The Group Interview on Recovering Yogi

Exuberant Bodhisattva on Facebook
Twitter: @mypelvicfloor
I Let Go, self-help book by Erica J. Schmidt

How I will elevate Lululemon
Why I am like Jane Fonda
Be Your Own Best Friend