Just the night before I was at the track, running surreally through a fog that settled over the soccer field. It was cold and misty that by the time I’d stopped, my hair laid limp from sweat and the damp wind, my muscles heavy from both the run and its attempts to generate more heat as my breath came out in puffs of air.
But now, in the heightened temperatures of this large wooden room, my body slows to a hum that finally stills itself. Everything tight from the cold would unfurl itself in all this welcoming warmth. All I would have to do is let it. No pounding, no pushing.
So I’d stopped. It wasn’t hard to dismiss leaving, the odd thing was even the people who’d practiced alongside me then seemed just as lost and angry. It was too easy to look at everyone and everything, like the surface of who I was then was polished blank as a mirror and all I felt was a restless churning behind it. I’d begun to think of it as one of those things I had to try but really found nothing in.
THAT was just unsettled youth. But then more years came, and by that time, peace just seemed well, irredeemable. Over a solid period of devastation, it was pretty much sod yoga, what I needed was an exorcism. And maybe the same guys who put humpty dumpty back together again.
But last year in early September, I returned to yoga in earnest. I’d been going for massages every month and every month without fail, Lala the little Thai lady who worked on me would tsk-tsk her way through every body part. “ Is too tight, Anjil! Too much muscle stick together,” she’d exclaim. “Shoulders like block, here,” she’d push an elbow in hard to make a point, “you need relax, you need happy!” I’d wince because it was the only expression available to me as she tried to unknot everything.
It was the fore runner to my last entry, when all I could write was a horrifying admission of losing my own hope, which no matter how much I believed in as a necessity and still do, I’d found myself qualifying with the words, “for others.” Not for me.
The crossroads. The nearer I inched to hopelessness, the more my body changed. I hurt less it was true, but I also felt less of pretty much everything. An ex-colleague visiting over lunch glibly asked, “So hey, what about love, eh?” He’d always marveled how he never met any of my beaus and suspected I simply had too many. I stuck my fork in some meat and didn’t even blink to answer without thinking, “I don’t feel anything about love.” If it weren’t for the hush that cloaked the table after, I may not have even realized I’d said it.
Considering how much of this blog is a reflection on love that was disturbing. I was still mute here, privately writing, rewriting then mercilessly scrapping everything. It was being 14 all over again, when I’d spend the summer writing volume after volume of stories only to pile them all up into a bonfire before school started. My best friends got to read them once, but never again. They’d wistfully look at each other as they handed each volume back after the go around, they hated knowing it was destined for kindling.
Back then the hopelessness was about writing in an environment where no place for that existed. Another crossroad. “Business school,” my Chinese father argued, “or Computer Science, both better.” He meant than this. You lose your voice when you are something in a somewhere inhospitable to that. You just can’t articulate. Was that what happened? Was I thwarted by the very thing I wrote most about?
Ever practical, I decided in early September that while love was not around to redeem my rapidly woodening heart, I was certainly unwilling to have the rest of me turn into a creaky relic. Ergo yoga.