This one just sat empty.
That's misleading, though. I have learned a lot from the year-plus that I've been dating in Chicago. You can find the lessons all over this blog.
But I kept that draft for a reason.
Because, until now, I haven't been able to articulate the most important lesson I've been learning, in dating...and in yoga. (You can roll your eyes. This life/yoga thing is annoying for me, too. Sometimes I'd really just like to go get my stretch on and keep my back healthy without finding a lesson waiting for me. But, alas, I keep finding them in the same spot.)
The Most Important Lesson is something I talk about continuously on Gchat with my friend Ellen. It's the grueling work of continually staying open. Cultivating endless optimism that the next guy might be different or that, despite a string of lackluster second dates or premature arguments, it's not me. I'm not too stubborn, too liberal, too emotional, too affectionate, too complicated. That is, I won't be, for the right person. Because I am the right person for someone.
But that's difficult. To not get hardened. To not get frustrated. To not throw my hands up dramatically and proclaim that I'll only ever love chocolate labs and that's okay with me! To not get in my head. To not avoid, deflate, construct theories. To stay open, stay vulnerable, stay me. To cultivate what I like to call extended optimism.
I've been doing a six-week Bikram yoga run with my friend Rachel. Bikram is some serious business, people. 60 or 90 minutes in 105 degree heat, 26 poses, 2 breathing exercises that make you feel like your head might float away. You need to eat the right amount of food, at the right time, and drink ridiculous amounts of water, and that's only just to feel normal in the room--not panicky, fainty, or just plain weak.
(When you start Bikram, they tell you that your only goal is to stay in the room. That should tell you everything you need to know right there. Just staying in the room is considered success, because many people panic and think they can't do it.)
The next 60 or 90 minutes is spent in poses that are not unlike those you'd find in a regular class. As in, I can do them in a regular class. Not perfectly, but I can do them. Not so much with the sweat and the heat. It makes ordinary things challenging and challenging things impossible. I can't tell you how many times I've looked at myself in the mirror during the last six weeks and thought, Really, Bobbi? What the fuck are you trying to prove? I've nearly had some grade-A meltdowns.
The worst is extended side angle, because in regular classes this is pie for me. But in Bikram, it falls after a grueling "warm up" that gets your heart beating like you've just run a mile and literally covers your body in sweat. It takes everything I have just to stay in the pose. Everything. I. have, and sometimes I can't even manage it. That's the worst part. Sometimes you just have to lie down.
This is the perfect image for Bikram.
Because you're basically that close to the sun.
But, despite all the alarms in my head as I enter the studio, Rachel and I have been doing so with pretty impressive regularity. Back to the mat. Back to the sweat. Mustering as much optimism as I can that this time will be better.
Yoga teaches you that it's okay to fall, over and over again. That there is strength in trying new things, honor in not shying away. Yoga teaches you to be deliberate, to show up, day after day, even when you're sore or it didn't go so hot (ha. ha. I can't even laugh at heat puns.) the last time.
And so it is with dating. So-and-So never texted back? Not a soul in sight on Match.com that piques your interest? So what. It didn't line up today. Try again tomorrow. Give that cute boy at the bar your number and love up on life in the meantime. Just stay open. Just stay in the room.
I don't know what you smoke / or what countries you've been to
if you speak any other languages other than your own
I'd like to meet you
I don't know if you can drive / if you love the ground beneath you
I don't know if you write letters or panic on the phone
I'd like to call you, all the same
I would want to / I am game
I don't know if you can swim / if the sea has any draw for you
if you're better in the morning or when the sun goes down
I'd like to call you
I don't know if you can dance / if the thought ever occurs to you
if you eat what you've been given or push it 'round your plate
I'd like to cook for you, all the same
if you want to, I am game
if you walk my way / if I could keep my head
we will feel our way / through the dark
or maybe now we could shoot it down anyway
I don't know if you read novels or the magazines
if you love the hand that feeds you
I assume that your heart's been bruised
I'd like to know you
You don't know if I can draw at all / or what records I am into
if I sleep like a spoon or really at all
oh maybe you would do
oh maybe you would do
Lisa Hannigan, I Don't Know