So here I am. After a hiatus of nearly 6 months I finally have time to sit down and re-embark on the pursuit to which this blog is dedicated – being me. Sorry! I mean exploring the difficulties of being a modern woman in an essentially old fashioned world and sharing my experiences with you all…aka, being me. My job for the last 6 months has taken over my life and I am ashamed to say I have become one of those people. “Would you like to meet up for a coffee Janey?” “Sorry, I’m busy.” “How about going out for a drink?” “Far too busy for that I’m afraid.” “Why don’t we catch up on the phone?” “I don’t have time to make a phone call!” Gawd I hate me right now. And I hate people who say ‘Gawd’.
Which is why…drumroll please…I am excited or at least hopeful about re-discovering nicer bits of me during the next month, which will officially be known as:
*a month of me*
Right now I am in the incredibly fortunate position where I:
- have finished my work contract,
- can just about afford to take a month off due to not having been out for 6 months (apart from a few times when I got so disgustingly blind drunk that I too ashamed to even share the stories here),
- my friends and family are pretty much healthy both physically and emotionally so they don’t need me,
- I don’t know what’s going on in the world having not read a paper for 6 months so am not too depressed about that (but I intend to find out and try to do more than sign endless petitions about awful regimes/benefit cuts which you are never sure actually go anywhere)
The general plan is to do lots of yoga, lots of writing, lots of visits to all the free things in London, lots of cinema, a bit of therapy maybe, a bit of dating maybe (not at the same time), and a general cleansing of all things physical and spiritual. It is such a great idea on paper…Just one day in though and I’m ready to run screaming back to work! Let me explain.
I’ve spent the long weekend purging my wardrobe of all unnecessary clothing/ paperwork/basically all of the shit I’ve accumulate in the last 15 months, and it feels good.
But, it being a bank holiday weekend, the boiler inevitably broke, so I have been wrapped up in most of the clothes I wanted to throw away and have had to eat a vat of potatoes smothered in butter to keep warm. But that’s ok, because it was pre-April.
April arrived yesterday morning and I sprung out of bed excitedly getting ready for my first ever Bikram Yoga class. I’ve done yoga off and on over the years but never in a small sweaty room in North London heated to 40 degrees.
I had heard that women wear shorts and tank tops for this type of yoga and obediently I invested in some cheap ones from a famous cheap clothing shop. No point in spending money until I know if I like it right? After a quick chat with the instructor about taking it easy due to my high blood pressure (ha! As if I’m going to take it easy – if the person next to me can do the pose, then I too can do the pose goddamnit!) we got started. The breathing was actually excellent, I have trouble breathing on a day to day basis as it is so I followed the rhythm and got into the flow of the class… It was hot, really hot, like 40 degrees hot but then some of my fellow class members started to complain that it was too cold…seriously, were they actually mental?! The instructor walked around, increasing the heat while still guiding us through the postures. At this point I got a bit sensible and putting my hands together in prayer pose bent my head to take a few seconds rest…which is when I spotted…my left nipple! It had somehow escaped from the quality material of the sportswear I was sporting and was now on display to the whole class! The new girl showed her nipples! Rearranging myself I tried to carry on…but that was just the beginning. It was then that I became aware of the rest of my body.
For a variety of reasons, over the last few weeks I have decided to go, how shall I put it delicately, au naturel. I have been saving myself for a big pampering session – with all this yoga/dieting I am hoping to lose a few pounds and so was planning to treat myself to smooth skin and fancy nails when I think I deserve it. Twisted logic maybe, self-esteem issues maybe, but so be it. Looking down though, I was suddenly struck by how much my toenails looked like a Curanail ‘before’ photo…moving upwards the hair on my legs wasn’t too noticable as it’s quite fair and I reckoned I could just about get away with my armpits as feminist chic…but, oh dear lord. I don’t know if I mentioned that the boiler broke? Well it did and in the last 3 days the only wash I had had was a 7-kettle shallow bath (sorry Roomie) and the real reason I didn’t wimp out of going to the yoga class was so that I could have a nice hot shower afterwards. Having glimpsed the showers on the way in, and realising that this was the kind of hippy yoga place which wouldn’t have looked out of place in Camden in the 80’s, I knew there would be no cubicles. In short, there would be nowhere to hide my massive muff.
At the end of the class I lay still…pretending to be immersed in my practise, focused and yogic. But in reality, by that time it was so hot I actually thought I might be about to die, or cry. I got up slowly, preparing to face the music. On entering the changing room I caught a glimpse of my face in the mirror…beetroot coloured and dripping in 2 day old mascara…why did everyone else just look glowing? On the bright side this might give them another reason to remember me, apart from the nipple and the soon to be exposed massive muff. Wrapped in a towel (having just about managed to pry the cheap top over my head and remove the shorts in the toilet cubicle) I padded slowly to the showers. Peeling back the curtain there were 2 women and 3 showers. I walked to the empty one and hung my towel on the wall. Spinning around I braced myself for the sniggers or at least the snidey looks, the judgement…but nothing. After all, I wasn’t checking out their muff so why would I even think they’d even notice, let alone care? I was so grateful to be finally having a shower that I quickly forgot my hirsute nakedness and relaxed. The 2 other women left quite soon after I arrived and I was left alone to shower in peace.
I’m not entirely sure what the moral of this story is, in a way this experience was liberating, a perfect start to my month of me, accepting me as me in that moment, and realising that my own body anxieties are just that, my own. So, yes I am going back today, and no, I still have not shaved (the boiler is still broken), and I have no shame. It reminded me of when I was 24 and my best friend and I were getting changed to go swimming in the pool at the Manhattan YMCA. Some kids ran past and uttered the immortal words … “Ewwwww, naked old ladies!” We were mortified, even though we were totally hot back then we took it as a personal insult, but if it happened today I would just find it funny. After all, being where we are right now in this moment is a million times better than being in anywhere in the past and the problem is we rarely acknowledge that. Anyway, it’s not as if we have a choice. So kids, bring it on, as being a ‘naked old lady’ is actually pretty awesome.