Thursday, January 12, 2006

falling down, and trying too hard

if they take my cube away, my soul will shrivel and die.

i listen to Mozart and i imagine what it must be like to conduct those symphonies and operas and concertos… standing in front of an orchestra, that sublime, playful music going through you straight from the instruments themselves. (did i miss my true calling in this life? well, it wouldn’t be the first time i’ve wondered.)

i listen to OPM and i feel the need to dance – but i can’t, of course, here in the fishbowl. people would think me odd. (imagine that.)

i listen to gran torino and i feel a deep physical longing for the live bass line thrumming through my hips and thighs, the irresistible pull that got me dancing again after years of living in a body frozen stiff by self-consciousness.

i listen to the live version of solsbury hill and i just turn that shit way up and try not to jump around too much.


rb and i have committed to doing yoga every day this week, just to see what it feels like. i love running (once i get warmed up, that is) but part of me still dreads it, especially when the weather sucks. yoga, though – well, i can see how people devote hours to practice every day – even while i wonder if perhaps they have a tad too much time on their hands. we’ve been spending about 45 minutes a day on a basic yoga practice. it’s interesting to see the progression. some days one pose will go better than others. some days one side will be better than the other. some days i’ll fall down, some days she’ll fall down – and some days i have to pull back because i realize i’m trying too hard.

of course that’s something i have a problem with in general – perfectionism has been a defining aspect of my life for as long as i can remember. but right around Christmas, i had to let go of it if i was going to stay more or less sane and healthy. ok, if the pie crust doesn’t come together, we’ll eat the filling out of it and call it good (thanks to my husband for that tip). ok, the sweet potato casserole top didn’t turn out quite like i expected – that’s fine, scrape the topping off, add some butter, put it back on, and bake it for a while longer. geez, this gravy thing is a little weird – i never imagined that just a little bit of turkey drippings would make so much – and i guess i’ll need to add a bit more milk to thin it out a bit. oh crap i forgot to make the mashed potatoes. well, what the hell, i’m only cooking for three and a half, and there are six other dishes to choose from.

constant tiny adjustments – the lesson being that you don't ever get it right the first time. (the perfect pumpkin pie was insanely labor-intensive, to be perfectly honest.) and that’s ok – things doesn’t have to be perfect, and neither do i. i don’t have to throw myself into everything i do and excel at everything – i do ok just floating along, but i forget that more often than not. trying too hard has caused more problems than i care to remember. in yoga, this is a self-defeating behavior and can result in injury. in interpersonal relationships (like, say, my relationship with my father-in-law) this can be pretty disastrous.

i had a small but important revelation over the weekend. see, i’ve been approaching this whole situation with skipper as if it were the worst possible scenario – that this living situation is permanent. now, if i have to live with someone for the rest of the foreseeable future, my priority is to create a close, nurturing relationship that is mutually beneficial to both parties. you know – like my marriage. (don't laugh, i'm being serious here. *snort*)

come to find out (after a friday night conversation) that i was the only one who was laboring under this impression. i wasn’t getting any help at developing this relationship with skipper because he doesn’t see this as a permanent situation. as far as he’s concerned, he’s still a guest in our home. his priority is to stay the hell out of our way so he’s not a burden or an obstacle. and here i was trying to be his best friend, trying to incorporate him and his needs fully into our household, and wondering why he kept dodging me and putting up walls.

sheesh. i don’t have to be his best friend, and he doesn’t need to be mine. my responsibility is simply to be courteous and to help create a friendly environment. forcing a relationship is just as much an act of violence (albeit a small one) as forcing a yoga pose. things have been a lot easier for me since this shift in my perspective.

yesterday i was doing the reverse plank and i noticed that i was trying so hard to get my toes to the floor that i was actually clenching my teeth. er… i don’t think that’s really the point of yoga, you know?

ah, well. at least i noticed it. will have to back off from that one in the future.

we’re planning to try a more challenging dvd today. we’ll see what happens, but at least i know i don’t have to get it right the first time. or the second, or the third, or the hundredth. and it might not be the time to bump up to a new routine at all, in which case i'll send mr. yee back to netflix and get an evening routine instead.

and now i suppose i’ll have to try harder at not trying so hard. *wink*

gran torino beckons, as do the last loose ends in calibration for this month. and an audit report. and… well, you get the idea.

here's hoping for peace in my small circle and in yours (because honestly, hoping for peace in pat robertson's circle is perfectly insane.)


Krit said...

Just stumbled on your site, very interesting post. Alot of your insights were good reminders to me- don't force relationships especially. I want to befriend the world too and it doesn't always end up well because some people are just not good matches.

I noticed your link to Pat Robertson and I have to say, as a Christian, I hope he doesn't seem like a representative for us all. I know the Bible addresses many issues and some won't be popular but it does say over and over again the importance of LOVE. Kindness and love goes a long way.

Circles of friends and people of common beliefs overlap and extend beyond the inclusions of similar interests. I am a Christian but I don't support the War (though I do the soldiers), I don't vote for Republicans just because they profess their religion, and I believe in treating everyone with dignity. Wish I could say the same of my fellow believers. I suppose we all are individuals and have to be tolerant of that.

andi said...

Dear Krit,

Welcome - always happy to see a new face, especially in comments - thanks!

i don't for a second assume that pat robertson represents anything other than his own viewpoint. unfortunately there are a lot of people who still watch his show for guidance, and i would hope that those folks make their own decisions. and i'm sure it's possible that not everything he says is as odd as his latest outbursts - i've been known to say some really stupid stuff, too.

as far as your religious choice goes, it's great that you can make a choice at all. i've been wandering between faiths for so long that it's become a constant journey in and out of traditions - and that work fine for me. my dad's side of the family is methodist and my mom's side of the family was wesleyan fundamentalist (she was a rebel, to say the least.)

you're very right about taking each individual on their own merits.

oh and as far as the pat robertson comment, i just picked the craziest person i could think of off the top of my head. it could just as easily have been tom cruise. ;)

hope you come back soon!

Krit said...

Tom Cruise is CRAZY- but at least he's interesting (and seems to be having a good time of it).

Thanks for your comment on my Dad's blog. Hang in there with your family situation, you're a smart cool chick with lots of strength! Glad you liked the Halloween pics- I LOVE holidays, kids make it so fun!

HeyMomYoMom said...

Hey Andi,
I guess it's about time that all of us realize that being perfect isn't all it's cracked up to be! Why place so much pressure on yourself? Who cares about the topping on the sweet potatoes, or when you cut the first slice out of a pie and the filling oozes out into the empty space in the pan? (Isn't that why the spoon was invented?) The fact is, you try to create a loving home for your family including the extended. You work, you are a mommy, a wife, as well as a daughter-in-law(close up)! You juggle your schedule and make attempts at something most don't even try. Enjoy your perfections when they happen and equally celebrate your slight imperfections, but don't look at them as failures! Perhaps your are too critical of yourself?
As for Pat Robertson; he needs to do something that most seem to forget to do before they speak and that is: THINK! It often scares me as to what so-called religious figures believe is rightous under the guise of Christianity!

oldwhitelady said...

I'm glad to read that about the Skipper. It probably is the best way for him to cope with the situation, too. Now that you realize how he's thinking, it will be a lot easier, fingers crossed for you.

andi said...

heymomyomom -

you're absolutely right and it's a lesson i have to re-learn on a regular basis.

oldwhitelady -

yeah things are somewhat better but i did manage to piss him off over the weekend. he's not feeling too well lately and i picked on him a little bit while his sense of humor had gone around the corner for chinese. anyway, nothing's perfect, right? i think he's forgiven me by now. we'll see.