Monday, April 02, 2007

40 is an Ego Squasher

I just wrote a long, boring post about my impending mid-life crisis. I was picking apart turning 40 - again. It was excruciating and needed to be deleted immediately. You can thank me later for sparing you. I wish I could save myself, but I suppose the depth at which I'm taking this introspection is needed? WTF already. Does it all have to be so goddamn soul searching?

I will tell you about my new aerobics instructor though. I'm taking Step, actually, which is the aerobics of the 90's. Only a few of us are still in love with Step and the others have evolved to Thai Boxing and Pilates. I went to a gym to which I was a member in the OC but hadn't ventured to the LA branch yet. The gym was mellow, not a meathead in sight to my relief, and I spotted what seemed to be college students and struggling actors past their prime. I fit in fine. I set up my step equipment in the way, way back of the room and stared and examined all others that walked through the door. There was a mix; older, all nationalities, all sizes, three other steppers on the younger side. There was an older Asian man to my left with a comb over and heather grey sweat pants pulled very high who, before class, repeatedly did double pirouettes on two toes and landed out of it with jazz hands open. His wife was at the very front of the class, her riser behind the instructor's, and she paid him no mind. She wore a braided red head band, a leotard over her tights. Her calves were the size of ham hocks. The instructor walked to the front of the class and my heart leapt. She was about sixty years old and had had a severe face lift where I speculated if a new mouth had been created. She was a wisp of a woman, teeny tiny with shoulder-length ash blonde hair which she swept up in a scrunchy as she approached the ministage. She wore beige support hose, white leg warmers over white Reeboks and a sateen royal blue figure skating skirt. She looked as if she had shut down Studio 54 a few times back in her day, and I immediately loved her deeply. Her moves were Classic Aerobics 1980, a-reaching and a-stretching, grape vines and jumping jacks. She didn't shout in the microphone with bubbly vigor as I had anticipated, but taught the class smoothly and well, which made me wonder about her more. I can't wait to go again.

I've been sticking to that music-heavy yoga class. My regular teacher is a tall, reasonably handsome British man. His name is fantastically British --- something like Henville Greywood -- but he looks very California-ized; tan and lean, running/yoga shorts and tank. He laughs loosely all through class, at his own jokes and at the things we say. I quickly learned that yoga instructors have no concept of personal space, which surprisingly, is ok by me. Henville puts me in wrestling locks to adjust my poses and if he's ok with me sweating on him and my feet in his face, then I'm ok with it. Screw it. I have zero ego in this class and that's been refreshing. I laugh and lose my balance while goofily posing. I do try hard. Henville will say things in the microphone like, "Well, that was graceful." And he and I will laugh. The Serious Expert Types don't laugh, however, but that's ok because they are amazing and I appreciate just being able to see a perfect side crane pose from two feet away. Last Friday, Henville had a substitute. Serious Expert Types don't like that either I assume because the only two people in class were me and another beginner. The only possible way to describe this sub was that she looked like a goddess. She was 5'10" lean but not chiseled away. She had sun-streaked skinny dreads to her waist. Her arm tattoos of peacock feathers and sanskrit were barely visible against her dark skin and a flat gold nose ring shone every time she turned her head. She smelled of lavender. I blurted immediately, "I'm not very good." She said, "I'll help you." It is easier to get lost in a sea of students and struggle through your practice than the alternating attention the Goddess gave the other beginner and me. I did my best, and the Goddess leaned on me and pushed against me and pulled me through to the other side of stretches. While adjusting my triangle pose, she placed the sole of her foot against my hip as she pulled my hand towards her. With the pull and in the depth of the strech, I farted. It was an unexpected tight brreepp. There was no hiding it. Thank god the music was kind of loud or else the other beginner would have heard it too, maybe she did. I said, "Sorry," not really sure if you should acknowledge such things (I mean who farts in the presence of a Goddess) and she said calmly, "It happens all the time." I giggled through two poses though the Goddess had long moved on to more enlighteded things. During the rest of the class I prayed it wouldn't happen again. There's only so much of this Zero Ego I can take.

14 comments:

Smelly said...

Not to make light of the impending doom aka turning 40, but I am LaughingMyAssOff about the fart, I love it! It so totally does happen all the time, too....
I used to bust out laughing sometimes after a session, when everyone is all relaxed and quiet on the floor. A couple of times, though, I was wracked with sobs. My very handsome and 30-odd-years older-than-me instructor assured me this, too, was normal. To be so relaxed and OPEN. Crazy things happen when we're open, eh? His name was Carey, which is one of my fave Joni Mitchell songs.
btw, I no basically nothing about basketball, but GO BUCKEYES!!!!!!
Keep steppin' sister

madness rivera said...

Believe me, I laugh about it too much to my horror. Feh, oh well. It's natural! I eat high fiber diet which may mean I need to stay the hell away from yoga. So, Smelly that has been the other thing about yoga, during the naptime at the end (I haven't committed that word to memory yet), I kind of cry every time. I pull in the reins though because some how I'd rather fart loudly than sob in front of strangers, but thanks for telling me that that's normal too.

Go Buckeyes!

Z said...

Yeah, it is kinda hard to think which is worse - public crying or public farting. But neither should be since they are both natural, normal bodily functions. I'm all for zero ego...it comes with age!

acumamakiki said...

I cry big, fat tears everytime we do shivasana (sp?) and when we chant OM. Something wells up from the depths of me and the tears pour. I think that's why I'm not fond of yoga, I feel too vulnerable.

Rebel Girl said...

namaste mama!

Nicole said...

ah, madness - it seems to me that you hold forty peacefully in your hands, even if you fart during yoga poses. hehe!
my friend once fell completely asleep during shivasana and i had to wake her up when it was all over.
and go osu! holy shit... i can't believe i just said that. i am never supposed to root for the wolverines arch rivals, but here in this situation, i must, at least stick with the big 10.
okay, enough. back to the game.

Green Whale said...

Your sense of humor complements the soul searching marvellously, so...full speed ahead with both. And as for what yoga does to your body, it's uncomfortable, and even after years of practice I haven't quite gotten used to it. But what it does to my head compensates for it.

tina said...

I know "40 is the new 30" is a trite cliche, but it's also true--and nowhere more so than with you, Madness.

SUEB0B said...

One day in yoga, all women, we had a rather earnest conversation about, um, er, "vaginal air" that happens when you do shoulder stands and then suddenly descend...It happens all the time, apparently.

Marigoldie said...

Great post AND great comments...I am really just loving your step teacher a-reaching and a-stretching. The Grapevine is such a cultural institution. How can we get it featured in the Smithsonian?

LeS said...

Woman - you crack me up.
Breeep.
Hu huh.

(and I'm about six weeks behind your forty - we'll have to celebrate together :)

Ali la Loca said...

This had me cracking up. I wish I could find music yoga here. I'm totally not a fan of regular yoga - I need a little more rhythm and prefer a dance class - or even a step class - any day. Your instructors sound like such characters. And the fart? Priceless.

Kathleen said...

girl.
40 is amazing.
you will rock it!!!!!
farts and all. hee...

Collquest said...

First of all I love your writing. Love it , love it...
You speak of farting at forty...well, it doesn't get any better! I'm 50 by the way, and recently a customer came in to the business I work at to pick up an order when it was confirmed, I was standing in front our local gardening expert who has a local gardening show on television. I love this show...it's like crocodile hunter meets The Victory Garden. This guy is slightly goofy but heck he's a local celebrity and I told him "you're like a rock star to me!" He came unglued and blushed...I had succeeded in totally buttering this guy up. Well, when I got up from my seat to retrieve his order I farted. Not loudly but it was undeniable. One thing about farting at fifty is you don't care...as much. You find the hilarity in the situation and just say "what the hell."