I was in the crowd at a concert and a 22 year-old called me That Older Blonde Lady and I heard her 22-year-old upspeak sitcom twang in my head for two weeks. That Older Blonde Lady? I was like, WHAT—EVER?
One night this kid on the street took our picture and when we teased him a little he recoiled, visibly shaken, and we teased him a little more, asking his age, and he said Nineteen. I was nineteen before he was born. I didn't say it. I only thought it but he recoiled again and snapped back What are you guys, like, THIRTY?
He laughed meanly, satisfied, and we laughed and I don't know why. Trading looks. And he read our laughter wrong and cringed, figuring that he'd just crossed some kind of line, because it's like, totally overboard to call a bunch of women, even old ones, THIRTY, and he apologized.
KATE HUDSON REDEFINES HOT IN BREAST-BARING RED. SAME DAY: GOLDIE UNRECOGNIZABLE.
I look like that most of the time. Not the redefining-hot part. The unrecognizable part, except it's most of the time, so it's all flipped backwards. Sleeplessness, sadness, bloat, or some other ordinary crap fog that anybody gets. Cold sore + preschooler midnight bed-sandwich + four days without a single damned drink of water + $20 chewy sushi + That Older Blonde Lady = unrecognizable. Or maybe none of that. Maybe I just took a nice long shower the night before and woke up all warm and clean and had nowhere to be, so I tumbled onto the floor and into my grandpa's curling sweater and bagged-out leggings and a toque pulled down over overnight dreadlocks because why brush? My office is nine steps from the kettle. It's nice to slum sometimes. Makes it that much nicer, when you choose, to do otherwise.
I stared and stared at that picture of Goldie Hawn. I'd like Goldie Hawn. I'd pretty much do whatever Goldie Hawn told me to do because she's Goldie Hawn. She doesn't owe it to me, you, or anybody else to appear fabulous because there's nothing wrong with her, other than maybe a cold sore and bagged-out leggings.
I miss watching What Not To Wear, though, because the most persistent things in life never add up.
Sound it out. Say the sing song slip-slippery loveliness. (Eight limbs of ashtanga: relationship to others. Self-purification. Postures. Breath control. Sense withdrawal. Concentration. Meditation. Contemplation.) I wrote out the very same thing this time last year and only just realized it: wrinkliness, douchebag tonsils, tinsel, yoga porn. A panicked, apparently annual declaration at year's dusk, like making a significant life change in November and it turns out to be a tax bonus. A status that applies for twelve months despite the significant life change having only been six weeks. As though if I commit to something—a front-page niyama blitz with a hot pink starburst and a daily primary series—2012 could count, just under the wire, as A Year Of Doing Something Different.
I whisper while stirring, practicing, breathing it in and out, because one point among others is drishti: correcting your gaze to direct energy and focus. The punctuation after the work of breath and muscle. True wellness instead of fleeting hotness. You can't ski with grace, either, without leaning head and shoulders aggressively into the downhill. The body knows how to follow.
What makes you recognizable? Unrecognizable? Does it matter? If it were as simple as correcting your gaze, where would you look?
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