I don’t like stuff other people like

Published on October 3, 2012 by      Print
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By Mary Rains

I have always been a brat about what everyone else thinks is cool.

It’s been that way since Catholic school, when all the girls wore headbands, because it was the only way to be an individual, what with all those plaid uniforms and red ties. About the twelfth monkey in, I decided to plaster my head with bobby pins. Same with the white-chapel-veil to church. Instead, I wore my dead aunt’s black Addam’s family-looking veil. I was, of course, a freak with no friends.

I never plastered yellow smiley face stickers on notebook covers; sported dirndl skirts, gaucho pants, or leg warmers. When everyone was feeling the burn with Jane Fonda exercise videos, I did a hundred sit-ups a day. When running became the thing, I rode my rusted Schwinn—and that was before cities had designated bike lanes.

I don’t even pay attention to my Facebook account now or drink coconut water, and I gobble up sugar, trans fats and gluten-laden food as if a world famine is right around the corner.

The thing is: I don’t know why I do this.

Because sometimes I really want a Starbucks, but the brat in me ends up drinking cheap coffee that tastes like it’s been brewed in a rubber tire all day.

I got married and my husband became fixated on tango. Did I want to dress up in fishnet stockings, the requisite black dress and killer heels and sport vampire lips? You bet your ass I did. Because I wanted to love what he loved, I really did, even though tango, it seemed, was everywhere. One night, after watching all the women look longingly at my husband’s dancing (which was elegant and sexy) I decided to try it out myself in that brothel get-up and heels. But heels that high make me dizzy. After the introductory lesson, in which I was trying to catch on while the seasoned dancer ladies checked out my duds and poor form, I waited (as is customary) for someone to ask me to dance. It felt like sixth grade. My husband did an obligatory dance with me, and then there was the guy who had eaten too much hummus for dinner. That dance led to a sprained ankle, several broken wine glasses, and denying the great guy on the dance floor was my husband (for his sake.) I should have known. I am a klutz, so how did I think the most expensive push-up bra I could find would change this?

But more than that, it led me back to my old ways: rejecting things that everyone else likes.

So I let my husband do his tango thing alone, until that obsession was eventually replaced with yoga.  I do need to say here that I was the first one of us to take a yoga class about twelve years ago. It was a drop-in beginner class, near a place we were staying while on a business trip. I donned my sweats and went in, and I loved how the atmosphere ironed out all my psychologically bunched-up places. The teacher didn’t make me feel like a dumbass because I wasn’t doing my warrior pose correctly. She just spoke kindly to me and adjusted my wayward hips. No one in the class seemed to notice or care. It was so perfect. I was moving my body but it wasn’t like going to my friends’ exercise classes, which felt oddly like a kind of chemotherapy: it just about kills you but you’re told it’ll make you better in the end.

Then, I bought some Rodney Yee DVDs at Target and did them sometimes. I would often say to myself, “Gotta do that more often.” Because you know how when you go bowling and you get a strike and all the pins are down, and then this sweet machine just picks them all up and places them quietly right back in order? Well, that’s how Yee and his on-the-beach yoga made me feel.

Fast forward to some years later, and my husband — after a particularly stressful week — borrowed my mat one Saturday morning and popped in Yee, and that was when he traded tango for yoga.

He travels a lot for work, so it became all about this yoga place and that yoga place in this city and that city. I really wanted to love what he loved, I really did, even though it seemed yoga was popping up everywhere. But when I went to one of his fave places, I realized what he loved was a kind of guerilla yoga. There was an actual DJ, and sweat-your-ass-off physical activity, to music that bunched me up psychologically. God, everybody seemed so into it. I tried, until I tipped over doing an amped-up version of the sun salutation. I lay there on my back and wondered what the masters would say about disco-ball yoga.

At which point, then, I decided not to like yoga.

 About Mary Rains

There is no clever way to say that Mary Rains is like most everyone else (if you ask them to be honest). Nothing ever really goes the way she plans; she tries like crazy to visualize what she wants but gets weird stuff instead. She thought her age she’d be more, mean more and have a retirement account. She just recently realized that it is totally true what they say: your nose does keep getting bigger as you get older. But, her feet are shrinking. No one ever told her this would happen. She doesn’t like it, because these feet still have to take her to some places. And size 5 ½ shoes are tough to find.



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  1. J. Brown says:

    It’s not yoga that you don’t like, just that particular class:

  2. Louie says:

    Is your husband still loving his yoga?

  3. VQ2 says:

    Yay, you!

    Yoga changed so much because whole hordes of people like your graceful, athletic husband were looking for just another pastime/exercise program with a bunch of bells and whistles and external benchmarks and comparisons (“SO important”) and not a way to become calm and deeply centered.

  4. Renee - Blacksheepyoga.com says:

    Mary, I just mainly wanted to say you’re a great writer! I’m totally the same way — I prefer to stick out than to blend in, and am massively uncomfortable with trends…. unless I can start them….

    Loved your piece! I like the quieter, introspective yoga, but I’ve liked the disco ball yoga as long as people know they are doing disco ball yoga. It’s hard to pay attention (though not impossible) to your inner guru with so much noise.

    Keep writing,

  5. Simon says:

    10 bucks says your husband was banging one of the other Tango students when you did not go back.

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