"Your whole fucking culture alienates me!": On Yoga Playlists, Pt. 2

[This is an update on this post]


I love music, who doesn't? One of my favorite things to do is make playlists, especially for my yoga classes. I like sharing new and old sounds with people. I gravitate towards mostly women-identified musicians, and I didn't know this was a potential "issue" when teaching yoga, but apparently it is. 

At a former studio I taught at, I had to take a "workshop" on how to create a good playlist for a yoga class. I could have taught the damn thing, because in my teacher training, we had a whole day devoted to this--also, it's not that complex. 

The woman who led the workshop said that, by playing only women-identified musicians, I was potentially alienating my students. I tried to hide my eye-roll. Her suggestion was to switch it up--dude singer, grrrl singer, dude singer, grrrl singer, etc. That just seems forced, tokening, and unauthentic--everything yoga is NOT supposed to be. 

I didn't follow her suggestions. 

So when I'm told I could potentially "alienate" some of my students (men) if I only play music with female vocalists, the infamous Bikini Kill lyric comes to mind, "I'm so sorry that I'm alienating some of you/you're whole fucking culture alienates me!" Because, really? If I have dudes coming to my class and they're so offended by my grrrl-friendly playlist, then they need a lesson in feminism AND yoga--and probably life in general. 

If you really hate an instructor's music, chances are you'll just tune it out--that's what I've done. I don't think we, as instructors, should be so concerned with pleasing every single person who takes our class. That is impossible, and frankly, something I don't care to do. This city is not hard-up for yoga instructors. Students can find teachers (and their music) that they jive with. You don't like my style, my music, me? Well, lucky for you, there are more yoga instructors than studios here!

Anyways, here is a sample playlist of mine. I hope you enjoy it. Would it alienate you? Why or why not?


The Monstrosity Called "Dating"

I'm newly single, and getting myself "back out there" (ugh, gross, that phrase). Anyway, the caliber of cis, heterosexual men is... low, very, very fucking low. 

When I lived in Chicago, I met a lot of men through online dating. I moved there for graduate school, and because my program (Women's & Gender Studies) of course had no cishet men in it, I used the internet, and boy, was it a ride. 

Dating then was basically how I was able to eat a decent meal every weekend (sometimes even twice in one weekend!), because these dudes would most always pay for me, even if I was like, "No, really, it's cool bro, I got my financial aid money right here", they were like, "Nah grrrl, I got you." So I let them.

One man I met was in an open marriage (like, for real, his wife also had a profile online). Another guy showed up completely drunk to our first meeting, so that was interesting. He was a guy I ended up dating off and on for 2 years (look, I really wanted to get laid, and the sex was good, ok?) Then I met a man who called me a "whore" after he had asked me how many people I've slept with (typical first date conversation, ya know?) He yelled at me as I left the bar, and I ran all the way home, somewhat tipsy, but coherent enough that I hoped he wasn't coming after me. Then I met a dude who I made out with underneath the El in Wicker Park, and later found his mugshot online under possession charges. 

Back in Madison, I've done the online dating thing off and on. I dated a 37-year-old single father, who, though hilarious, definitely didn't know what he wanted, and the sounds he made while going down on me were... not attractive. Then I dated a major hipster vegan dude who called himself a "feminist ally" (hint: he wasn't). He wore glasses, was tall, bald, and shortly after we began dating got a vasectomy. We argued about that shitty Macklemore song "Same Love" (he thought it was great, I was like, no, shut up, who are you. He was real indignant about it). He broke up with me online after not having talked to me for a week straight.

Then I met the ex, and I saw stars... until I realized those stars were fake and he was a liar, a cheater, dishonest, disrespectful, etc, etc. 

And now I'm back to trying to date again. I haven't met anyone yet. I've met a few dudes online, but not yet in person. I am... needless to say... quite cautious. 

The thing is, I DO wanna get laid. I DO wanna be in another relationship (at some point). But I'm also trying to feel what I'm feeling--and not run from it. And at this point, how much of me would be just "using" another person? I think most of me. It's hard to sit and feel what we feel. It's hard to not want things to shift DRAMATICALLY. But I am trying my best to stand still in a culture that tells me I should probably be married and having my 2nd kid already (I am 28 and a half, after all). 

The best thing I can do for me (and for anyone at this point) is to GET LAID. No, just kidding, it's actually to stay still--to reflect--to move on--to meet new people and see what happens (without any expectations). 

It's okay, anyways--I have my Hitachi Magic Wand to keep me warm at night :)

My Ex Cheated On Me: This Business of "Oversharing"

I haven't written in a while, and this post isn't going to be about my cheating, lying ex-boyfriend. I don't have the desire nor the mental capacity to re-hash that shit now or ever. This post is about "oversharing."

Since finding out this new knowledge about my ex, I have talked... A LOT about it. Online, offline, to myself, to my journal, to you, dear reader. I believe in honesty, and I believe in what the goddess poet, Nayyirah Waheed says, "it is being honest about my pain that makes me invincible."

What is 'oversharing' and who decides this? You know there's a sexism component to this, too, right?

The dictionary definition is: "to disclose too much (personal information) or too many (details) about oneself." The example used is, "She overshared about her new boyfriend today, and we were both embarrassed." WTF. Way to gender this bullshit, dictionary!

I have been told I "overshare" when, to me, I am just being honest and open about my life. I refuse to be told what I can and can't talk about (when it comes to my own personal history and life). I call those shots. I make those rules. I decide what I want to share and what I don't. If it makes YOU uncomfortable, then that's on you, not me.

Women are constantly told to not share things. Practically everything that comes out of our mouths is deemed "inappropriate."

There is still so much we're not supposed to talk about: mental illness, sexuality, even political leanings. Rarely, do I hear people say "HE overshared." It is always used towards women. I'm sick of it. 

A friend posted this great Anne Lamott quote that made me think about all of this too: "You own everything that happened to you. Tell your stories. If people wanted you to write warmly about them, they should've behaved better."

And so, yes, I will continue to "overshare" and say that I just found out my ex-boyfriend had been cheating on me. You should have behaved better, boy :)


Unloveable/Loveable

Growing up with two family extremes was confusing. 

Whenever I would visit my mom's side of the family, there was no hugging; no kisses, no "I love you"'s. 

Whenever I would visit my dad's side of the family, there was endless, boundless affection. 

As a child, I would feel both unloveable and loveable. 

This difference was confusing for my little curly-haired self. I remember asking my mom at a young age, "Why doesn't Grandma/Grandpa hug me?" My mom would reply, "We didn't grow up like that." 

Luckily, my parents both showed me much affection (and still do) growing up.

I would ask my dad the same question, only about his parents instead: "Why does Nonno/Nonna hug me so much?" My dad, smiling as usual, responded with, "Because they love you!"

I was taught from a young age that love should be shown--not just assumed, or heard. Love should be loud. Love should be freeing. Love should feel like your heart is relaxed in its excitement. 

Both of my paternal grandparents are gone now. And it hurts, because they were the first two (outside of my parents) to teach me that I was loveable. 

Oh so loveable.