Clean and Elegant

Clean and Elegant

Thursday, 11 June 2015

How I am violent, by Erica J. Schmidt

Since May, I have been taking an online course called, Embodying Ethics and Vows. It is with Michael Stone and Elaine Pierce. This week, our assignment was to write about how we are working with the precept of not causing harm (ahimsa) in our lives. Here's what I got:

How I am Violent, by Erica J. Schmidt

Instead of non-violence, I am thinking about violence. This makes me think of my relationships, especially with Simon and with my body, but with the Boatman too. Everyone saves their violence up for someone, for something. Actually, I have no idea what everyone else does.

It is hard not to tell the same old story over and over again. The story of Simon, my ex-boyfriend who I fucked at the Granola Party, on the biodegradable yoga mat. I was really drunk, and he wasn’t. Perhaps this should have been the last time. Instead, there was a big saga of alcohol, vomit, both passionate and ambivalent sex, and name calling. We wrote all this down in letters that were supposed to be published in brilliant books that were supposed to allow me to quit my three and a half low-paying jobs.

Simon used to say that I was like an eight-year-old sore loser tennis player. And I was always losing the match and so being with me was unbearable. He didn’t understand how the Boatman was able to stand me. Simon was probably more right about this than I was when I wrote,

Sometimes I think that it would kind of be ideal for you to die.

Then our book would be a huge success.  I could feel somewhat sorry for myself, because a guy I fucked died and that is always traumatizing.  Everyone would look at me with odd sympathy. Especially if you committed suicide.  The sympathy would be immense.  Oh poor poor, Erica.  You slept with a sick and twisted soul.  Scarred forever.  How terrible.

Highly mediocre writing, and unkind. This was from the second volume of the Little Savage and the Hermit. I wasn’t really into writing this book. Simon wanted the plot to be about how I finally got an orgasm. I felt like this was a dumb plot.

I am not the reason Simon jumped off his apartment building. I can just hear him say, “I would never jump off a building for you, you stupid fucking cunt!” His voice carries a tinge of love.

Simon’s most recent girlfriend gave me pictures and memorabilia from the funeral. When I first put the pictures on my meditation alter, I told myself that after a week, I was allowed to take them down. It has been awhile. They are still there. One of his photos is in a disposable coffee cup that is covered with the stream-of-consciousness poem I wrote during my French Literature Class in 2009. Simon kept this cup all the way until he died.  Those cups don’t biodegrade.

The alter, with spectacular lighting.
Simon once said that based on a study they did on rats in the 1970’s, I will never ever get cancer. The rats who expressed their stress by freaking out didn’t die or get any diseases. At this rate, I will live until I’m 98.

Not every day can be fulfilling and lucrative and productive. Some days are for melting down. Yesterday was a meltdown day. It was the first time I had woken up at 5 a.m. for a while. That could have caused the meltdown. I also don’t think I ate properly the day before. All the trivial and banal things tend to matter. Alas. I was stressed because I had this assignment to write, and Thursday is also blogging day. I thought that maybe I could combine the two activities, although I wasn’t sure whether or not the world should know that I told Simon it might be better if he died. As a creative practice, I have vaguely committed to myself and my four and a half fans that I will blog every Monday and Thursday. It started off being fun. Now I am starting to crap out.

Writing, with all its potential for redemption can also be violent.  Same thing goes for meltdowns.

My favourite person to have a meltdown with is the Boatman. No one can console and contain my eight-year-old sore-loser-tennis-player-self better than him. Plus I don’t really want to really want to impose this self onto anyone else. Some friends say that I should limit my contact with the Boatman. Otherwise, how will I possible get over him, move on. The idea of getting over anyone is so silly.  How can we possibly get over anyone?

Well, I suppose I am over the Vegan Life Coach. God bless the Vegan Life Coach, and his spirulina powder.

The Boatman and I talk once or twice a week. I try to make sure each time is not a meltdown. I try to ask him about his life. That was one of my goals when I began the ethics course. To ask people about their lives.

Yesterday, I called the Boatman in tears. “I can’t keep calling you like this. I will keep doing this forever.” For the rest of my life, for the rest of the world, I will compartmentalize myself to resemble a manageable and acceptable human being. Then when the eight-year-old tennis player appears, I will excuse myself to call the Boatman. I’ll be eighty years old, forty-nine years into a marriage, with seventeen grandchildren. Some blogging drama will emerge. “Excuse me, honey,” I will say to my geriatric husband. “I need to melt down to the Boatman.” The Boatman will be eight-eight.

“It’s okay,” the Boatman told me yesterday as I fretted and wept about my lack of meltdown autonomy. “You can just call me.” Maybe they can make a special Boatman Meltdown App.

As for my body, well, I cannot believe the violence I have imposed upon it. Sri W. Ham Wrap was right. My yoga practice was super violent, and  I cling to things until they die.

People always say, “My poor body,” and/or “My body is not happy with me,” and/or my body is angry with me. I know what they mean, but I wonder who they are talking about.

Or what about, “my back was killing me?” My back was killing me the day I went to meet Simon’s girlfriend. Earlier I had spent two hours on my bike, to visit a friend. Now I was walking. I felt that if anything in my clicky, crooked eighty-year-old spine were to shift .035 mm the wrong way, the whole thing would surely collapse. Someone would have to wheel me and my body away.

"Jesus," I thought. People think about Jesus when their backs hurt. I remembered listening to Ashtanga teacher Tim Feldman talking about his herniated discs. He could barely move, but he thought about his guru, Pattabhi Jois, who said, “You taking your yanus.” So Tim started squeezing his anus like nobody’s business. Somehow this helped. Seemed a bit simplistic to me, or rather, perhaps too complicated. But what else could I do? As I walked, I brought my awareness to my anus and pelvic floor. I didn’t squeeze, I just thought about it. I considered how it was all connected to my feet that were touching the ground. And how my sitbones were also somewhat connected to my nostrils. And how the crown of my head sort of balanced on top of everything. There was still pain, but by the time I arrived at Simon’s girlfriend’s house, it felt like maybe things had shifted 0.035 mm away from me being in a wheelchair.

It is a good idea to try and keep your body happy.

This afternoon I’ll be taking a stab at my dream job. I am going to help a three-year-old learn how to use the potty. Very little is more grounding than helping someone else to take a shit.

The End.
The cup with the biodegradable poem on it
Follow me on Twitter: @mypelvicfloor
Exuberant Bodhisattva on Facebook

My name is Erica, and I love coffee
Simon Girard, 1979-2015
The Benefits of an Ashtanga Yoga Practice, Part Two
Not Separate From All that Is 
The Real Me 

Michael Stone Teaching


1 comment:

  1. Keep writing on Mondays and Thursdays! These writings are great, Erica! Your 5.5th fan.