We are a cluster of surly women here at the yoga studio. Not a word spoken. But, then again, it is Boulder you know. I defer, like a sunny-perky trained Iowa girl (full of Libran angst) does when she’s in a group of strangers; simpering, demure like a ninny-fool; wanting to feel steady and sturdy in my doggie pose. I get surly myself after I’m shouldered by a tall, aspen-slender glam-stud positioning all her deluxe gear like a gone-wild she wolf setting up camp. Observing the batch of sinewy Venusian muscularity and labor-intensive perfection, I notice there is only one squat as a toad, thickset woman here; and I knew her from years before. A former graduate student of mine; sharp and kind, but prone to unquestioned dogma; duty bound to a history that has hog tied the masses into a borg-like somnolent stupor.
Ingesting deceptions and fabricated doses of fictive folly does, I believe, contribute to all matters of intestinal and diaphramatic distress which eventually can (and often does) lead to the uncooperative conditions of the insides, inflaming the fine wiring of self veracity. A battle, a conflagration in the gut ensues; a titanic clash in the asteroidal mind/body belt between what the soul delights in and how one is expected to behave in daddy’s house; systems of restraint/control purpose themselves on all forms and manners of containment of the fire element; rage, the clamoring voice of umbrage, indignation (hating on women is encouraged in these systems) doused with pseudo-moral parables meant to dull the blade of lucidity. A conflict of self-interests, one could say.
Valiant Joanna, here amongst the flawless consorts of babas, lamas, and yogis, hiding away near the closet, barely able to see over the summit of her breadbasket to her toes. Though, I think to myself as I feel through my solar plexus the strained tautness in this well fashioned yoga studio (a tension one feels in a gynecologist’s waiting room) if I were to sit down for lunch and a glass of pinot blanc it would be Joanna I would prefer to lunch with.
I myself, here today at the Being There and Here Now Yoga Studio feel like a dowdy dumpy straggle of what I could have become; if only I would have veered away from probing, investigating subterranean conspiracies; listened to NPR and CNN with the ear and brain of a zealot; adulated the Dolly Lama; coffee cleansed my colon; arisen with the mountain chickadees; eaten more dandelion greens and turmeric root; weight trained with Remy; affirmations before bed; emulated the divinely feminine; took yoga workshops in Bali and Peru; participated in online prana cleansing classes with Shiva Rayflay Shaktimarastein. But No. I swilled wine when I should have been prostrating; I read Mary Daly (incessantly) when I should have been saluting the sun; paced about the house in a panic as I imagined the worst possible outcome of living now nearer to toxic dilations from fracking, and rocky flats uranium fillings perhaps being carried in rainwater pooling up around the front entryway when I should have been juicing carrots and ginger and polishing my skin with a sugar macadamia nut butter scrub.
I was a sinner then, in the grooming days of childhood, a clashing misbehaver (catholic trained you know) and I continue to confess daily to myself all the ways in which I have gone headlong into the catclaw acacia; recalcitrant and thorny. Here among the gluten-freeers and conscious cleansers and anti-agers and stoner-toners, I am an outcast, by my own description and proscription; I blame no one and take full responsibility for my fall from ornamental perfection, feminine tractability, organ agility. Someday, perhaps, I tell myself as I stack my stretch pants according to size, I will get into those Gloria Vanderbilt jeans again; how they fit; figure hugging- when I was clear-cutting my way to acceptability by employing a regime of routine reticulation; striving for the grid work formula; back bending, scissor splits, headstands. I could do it all, Shivala Shaktiki Shavasananny. Not today though. For the last (shameful amount of time will go undisclosed) I’ve been researching the history and programming of serial killers (generals, colonels, presidents, prime ministers, bankers included); death by gardasil; mind control in media; coal ash being sprayed in the air. How the behind fans out when one is glued and strapped and haunted by one’s own harnessing devices; the concerns for humanity have me on a short leash-demanding scrutiny; but, on days when the chemtrails are muddying the sky I question my reasons for devotion; who and for what purpose may this serve?
Yet, I ferry my bottomless Self here, to the Being There Here and Now Yoga Studio; amidst the lovelies of dailiness; decocting decorous gentility. We all quietly place our mats on the floor and try not to look at each other. Clandestinely, while in a forward bend, I strain to see bare feet on down the line; lithe, supple, supernal pupils with feet (all, it appears from my position of surveillance, except poor tubby Joanna) like finely contoured gravy boats; elegant as porcelain; polished and shimmering feet; oiled, toiled over with fine brushes and violet scented pumice stones by Taiwanese ladies in grandiloquent frocks.
This new era of surveillance has made of me, to a greater degree, a sleuthing voyeur. Checking feet; looking for the strangely large feet on a small body; toes stubby and cubed; pretzled and long; carbuncles, knots, warts; twisted, scaly, supple, beautiful; neglected, pampered, pedicured, bejeweled. But, oh, the many ways the modern woman is availed by the makers, shapers, and keepers of the divinely feminine to purify, refine, express her inner power, to take hold of her authority, to radiate her alluring feminine expression. Hail to the Nail Lounges; saving women from uproarious mental sagacity, which could, if left to their own devices, result in a fetid, disfeminine, repugnant revolt of the pornographic possessing endeavors of the neurotic nest keepers; the demented crackpots who are obsessed, possessed with the debased desire for unrestrained, unchallenged peeking, prodding, poking, stealing; dominating individual propriety, inducing fear and shame; occupying the corporeal and psychological body and mind.
The masses, I notice, while in airports, slack in line with the gaggle of human specimens waiting to be frisked, foraged, and felt-up have become inordinately compliant and frighteningly unresponsive; shocked I am at the alacrity to follow orders and cues from the idiots who have been placed in positions of humiliation and power; bedraggled looking low-waged plebeians, dressed as jailers, ordering (with an air of degenerate glee) as if we are all convicts, the removal of slacks, shirts, lace up boots, and belts; or creating a spectacle of embarrassment and panic as the useful halfwits rifle through the handbag of an old woman sporting a cane, feeble and shrinking; many of the serviceable idiots of faux-security delight in belittling. And, how keenly I am aware of how this is trickling down in to our society; bullying, humiliation, indignity as a psychological operation to create breakdowns and malfunctions in human relationships. Yet, an analysis of the sad, foul situation is far more uplifting than merely fidgeting in fright and dread as one stands bare or stocking footed in long lines of docile, tractable detainees. The critical thoughts (I must continue to commit my principles to this reality) carry a force field of alchemical induction, perhaps, having some measure of influence in the dream realm, penetrating into the region of the collective cerebrum.
Oh, how I long for more flinty and daring, radically exploratory, plucky and gallant feminists to share my observations, indignations, grief; heartbreaking the situation is; we have been driven out of the temples, dismembered on the streets of Alexandria, banned from university, declared diabolically dangerous at cocktail parties, disgraced at the mention of our (thou shalt not say the F word) lineage; shamed and cursed.
As hopeless as it may seem, the eyes/I’s of our coven will continue to persevere regardless of double-crossing depositions; continue we will to preserve our covenant; in corners, lines, boxes and circles we, the castigated-into-nonexistence ones, will continue to see what we see; feel what we feel; the mind jolting with piquant diagnostics, the voice alight with be-spelling librettos, we will carry on, in airports, yoga studios, and other undisclosed locations.
It is time to roll up the mats and return the bolsters and straps to the closet wafting of patchouli; and a little altar is set up there with votive candles and photos of various crimped headed, pot bellied males in towels, skirts, and shawls. I’ve worked the kinks out and am breathing deeper into my belly; I’ve expanded my aura, in the best sense of the word. I stand silently in line, tranquil as a Heron on ice as the pushy ones in their Hard Tail and Pink Lotus attire (often quite tall) shoulder their way into the closet. There is talk of a pole dancing class in the evening; a colorful flyer is passed out of a lithe seductive woman wearing a designer (it is Boulder, after all) bikini mounting a utility style stanchion the length of which one would observe at the Lincoln memorial, with a wide waving American Flag festooned at the top. I feel, as I have felt in the sheep herding runways at airport surveillance, exceptionally short amongst these polished and proficient yoginis (and did I mention quite tall?) I will confess; this awkward inhibition does have its advantages when one is a counter-agent of the surveillance state; one who is looking very closely, closer to the ground (and feet) can see without being seen in return.
Oh, it is a crafty position but not without its loneliness. One can operate below the radar; as one who is viewed as short and female, and very ordinary looking, can become an inconspicuous instrument of forensic feminist intelligence; one can, when dedicated to the all seeing eye/I, like a stealthily trained ninja, seemingly disappear into the ethers while gathering data on the human condition; delivering it with wit, candor, and intellect in tact; all while stationed in the downward dog, lifting the core towards the spine, rolling one’s eyes to the back of the head.