I’ve written out and deleted about thirty sentences today. What I really want to write about is how my core is sore. My abs, that’s what Self magazine would call it. But I like to call it my core because it reminds me of an apple, and makes me feel like a yoga teacher. Some days I don’t feel like a yoga teacher. Now a days when people ask me what I do, I rattle off my list of odd jobs and yoga teacher usually comes last. I don’t know why. It used to be bigger. Yoga used to be everything. I’m not sad about it. I’ve just changed. I still practice, I still love it, I still teach and love doing that too. It’s just less of my identity. Climber seems to be the hat I wear now a days, at least, the one with the most sequins on it. Some days I don’t feel like a climber either.
Yesterday my core was sore, like a million sit ups sore, but today it’s tight. Like the moment after you think someone is breaking into your house but you realize it’s just your roommate coming home early. It’s still there, it lingers. Sinks its fingernails into the middle of you and holds on, relentless, wraps around to your back even.
When I got a massage for my birthday last year, this large black woman who I wished was my grandma, or one of my best friend’s grandmas, worked deep into the muscles in between my shoulder blades. You’re tight honey, she told me. She had me flip over on my back, and she pulled the sheet somehow so my belly was exposed but my lady parts were covered. She took the heel of her hand and made big circles on my belly, clockwise, firm but not alarming, like a mom would do the stomach of her son who ate too much Halloween candy.
You’ve gotta relax your tummy, she said, slowing down the circles. It’s not good to have tension in the center of your body, no, that’s a place that should always be soft.