Monday, July 11, 2016

Ex Parade

July Eleventh. Cue the Jaws theme song.

July Eleventh, my ex-wedding anniversary.

Last year was my first ex-wedding anniversary. For months in advance, I fretted. How would I get through it? I ended up spending the morning dancing to Bollywood with one of my all-time favorite people, Shelly.  She does this beautiful thing in her cool down where she asks us to scoop our arms upwards and into our hearts, and at the same time, scoop into ourselves positive energy. In the past, I'd have thought, how cheesy. That morning, I scooped with gusto, biting back tears. After class, she and I shared lunch and laughs.

Then I went to a close friend's wedding that night. Oh, didn't I tell you? My friend announced her wedding date as I announced my separation, July Eleventh. Life thinks it's so funny. So last July Eleventh, I went to her wedding, danced, social-butterflied, drank, drank some more. Only goal: get through the blasted day.

This year, when the Jaws music began sometime in June, I considered what to do for July Eleventh. Beach getaway? Writing retreat perhaps. Then a wise friend asked, "What would feel good?" I realized July Eleventh was a Monday, the day I usually teach Seniors Bollywood Fitness. That always feels good. I decided to stay in town.

Then the ex parade began. A painful conversation with a someone who had once been my best friend- another ex, at least for now. A very painful decision to stop teaching Bombay Jam because my foot is still in recovery and can't handle the high impact nature of that class. I had to give up something that brought so much joy for so many years- another ex, at least for now. A week full of exes. The twin shootings on Wednesday, the fear and grief for this country, its people. Simultaneous pain within and without.

Emergency Kit
I cried from Wednesday through Friday. You know the kind- where you wonder how one body can produce so many tears. When it becomes so routine, you can brush your teeth and cry at the same time and still remember to mouthwash. I spent Saturday on the sofa, blinds drawn- stupid California sunshine- alternating between a silly sitcom (which felt like literary gold at that moment) and the epic, Six Feet Under (because, of course, a show about death really lifts the spirit).

Hooray for Bollywood
Sunday I awoke to the sun streaming into my room. I was afraid of what the day would bring, how many more tears. But even before opening my eyes, I felt inside me that the storm had passed. I was still raw, still moved slowly through the day, but something had shifted. Life continued its hilarity by having me go teach Bollywood choreo to a bride-to-be. But it's hard to be morose when dancing to Lungi Dance, so once again, amen for Bollywood.

My therapist pointed this out: last year, July Eleventh was about survival. This year, it was about feeling it. Feeling the painhurtangersadnessguiltfear. Feeling, apparently, means moving through, which leads to moving past.

Feeling your feelings is hard. So hard, I can only use a pathetic understatement like "feeling is hard". Feeling is crying. Multiple time, multiple days, multiple years. Each feeling storm I find myself in it's the same pattern: crying, thinking it will never end, everything hurting. Then, inevitably, finding myself on the other side. Mind, body and spirit lighter, whether a fraction or a good chunk.

Today, July Eleventh was one step closer to being July eleventh. Today, without too much planning, my day filled up with nourishing and pleasurable events: time with my dear seniors, extra therapy session (obvs), and a conference call with my yoga training group.

It is important to note (to actively seek it out, in fact) that even during an emotional hurricane, there are things in life that are rooted, grounded. Things I can reach out through the tizzy of emotion and catch a hold of, anchor myself, slow down, rest.
Do you love this?

As I trace this trail of exes, I can't help but note that despite all this loss, there is new life. All around. Or maybe it's because of all this loss. Sometimes things need to be let go of. Despite how much we want to hang on.

And so, as July Eleventh moves to July eleventh, I find myself winding down the day alone in my (stunning) apartment. Spending time writing this blog to honor this moment. Honor it, and let it go. At least for now.