Thursday, March 11, 2010

Muscle Memory

Last week, my yoga teacher quit unexpectedly. She was less than six months pregnant, but in less than two weeks she'd ballooned out and she was physically unable to do most of the poses for basic yoga. She informed us after the class that she'd expected to make it to eight months, as she'd done with her first child, but this one was a different story.

I overheard her speaking to one of my fellow yoga-goers after class, and she was saying that she'd asked her doctor why she'd swollen so much during the second pregnancy, how she got just so big so fast. The explanation? "Muscle memory." Her body remembered what it was like to be pregnant, so it just went to that place where it had remembered being, before her mind could adjust.

Really, it was her mind, having trained her muscles to stretch and accommodate, to move and react in a certain way that was calling physical manifestations into actuality--but her conscious mind was still telling her that she'd be able to do yoga, just as before. All this stuff was happening in her head and body, and she wasn't ready to admit it until it all was just like, "Oh no you don't do those twists no more! You're having a BABY, remember NOW?!"

Muscles and subconscious jumped the gun, and now I'm out a yoga teacher.

I was thinking about this idea. About how our bodies can remember things, and can force us to action long before our conscious selves catch up.

Something triggered a reaction in me, so that the last six months, I've gotten by on about two to four hours of sleep per night, waking up each day, hardly groggy, full of energy, will power to clean, dance, do, watch, etc, etc, etc. I think my body was automatically over-compensating based on what my past mind had experienced. It was powering me through some kind of secondary experience of trauma, but it totally jumped the gun. Too much. I think that time is over now. My mind has quieted, I am finding more clarity, and with it, unexplainable, uninterrupted sleep.

Last weekend I met up with my ex-boyfriend. He'd moved back to the city, and seeing as it is a very small city, there was no point practicing some wholly contrived avoidance (avoid-dance). I had a picture of us rotating around each other for months like one of those science project solar systems. There's a whole universe around us, and our orbits are totally dinky, spit out with some help the night before. Why not have coffee or something? The worst is over.

Except then, muscle memory. Open door, put water on, pour tea, drink, laugh. We were sitting and talking and it all felt so normal, until my mind caught up (this time way faster than before) and said--hey, this isn't normal, you don't know what to feel about this! But it was ok. I wasn't sure what to feel about it, and I was ok with that. I knew I didn't need closure, need to see him, need to "get something off my chest." It was just, like, ok, I'm going with this. You hurt me, we know that, there's no point in avoiding it or dwelling on it for that matter. I'm not bitter, and I don't think you're a bad person. This is just a Saturday in my living room, talking to you, whomever you are now.

Hug, hug again. Door open, door shut, door lock. Rinse out some mugs, answer the phone. Talk. Lay.

My mind will catch up eventually, or maybe it's already there.

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