Now that I’ve beaten down the traffic gods and made my way to yoga class, I hurriedly gather my belongings like a nameless forest creature scurrying to avoid getting eaten by a bear.
While other yogis have fancy mesh and recycled hemp bags slung across their backs like Katniss Everdeen, my yoga bag is a third generation camping backpack better suited for last minute dooms-day survival in the woods than serving as a sexy post-work-out satchel. While it does the job, the three-foot metal frame is often hard to cram into my tiny cubby hole. I often find myself cursing loudly in the silent locker room as I violently try to jam my survivalist backpack into the confined space. “Screw you backpack! Don’t make me late to my class that’s going to calm me the hell down! Get! In! There!” I grunt as I fist-punch the edges of my bag into submission.
The irony of taking yoga is that it’s supposed to be this mental and physical escape from the rest of my day-to-day woes. But it’s hard not to notice the blaring elements forcing me to examine my place in the world, and my pantless place in a locker room full of perfectly shaped, glistening naked bodies.
I have a feeling this particular studio, which rests in the heart of Hollywood, attracts a certain ilk. Both the women and men look like they’ve been carved out of butter and Formica; polished, chiseled, and ready to have a steak cooked across their abs.
I watch as the other women slide their perky butts into matching leggings and criss-cross bralettes plastered with images of the solar system and rainbow tigers, resting harmoniously against their tattooed skin covered in angel wings, Chinese sayings, and numerology.
I then climb into my off-label soccer shorts. A sentimental carry-over since college, I would wear them while hanging out on Farrand Field in front of my dormitory. There I’d watch boys play guitar while I’d tap along in my Birkenstock shoes, singing and making bracelets out of blades of grass. Back then, those shorts gave me the look of an androgynous, sporty, hippy-girl going through her, is-she-or-isn’t-she-gay phase.
Today, they are exceptionally practical to wear, considering the room is heated to 102 degrees and kept at sixty percent humidity. In these classes, you sweat. And I mean, everywhere. Like, from your eyelids, behind your ears, in between your fingers and from every nook and cranny north and south of your belly button. So I wear these shorts because the idea of sweating like a football player in my crotchal area is neither sexy nor practical and wearing suffocating tights seems absurd and possibly hazardous. That, coupled with my flesh colored sports bra and 1997 neon orange hair scrunchie, make me look like a woman who when you see her you think, “I bet she owns a lot of cats.”
Or, “I bet she’s a hoarder.
Or, “I bet she takes a lot of baths.”
Or, “Ooh (with a sympathetic tone) I bet this is all she has.”
It’s like junior high all over again. The cool kids have the stylish clothing and I’m still wearing the imitation designer clothes my mom claimed, “fell off the truck”. I remember when my mom scored a fancy-ish pair of “Guess” jeans for $20. The trick was to not look too closely as they weren’t Guess Jeans at all, but “Gass” jeans. When we called her out on this, she responded with, “What’s the letter “a” among friends? Also, no one should be looking that closely at your tushie! So wear your “designer” jeans proudly.”
That mortified me at the time. But today, being an uncool adult is fine by me. Someone has to represent the underrepresented weirdos. And at this place, I am the equivalent of a Kroger brand yogi. Less flashy, but certainly reliable and always visible front and center. My packaging may be bland and lacking fancy font, but you know I’m going to be around for a very long time. My top knot may be sideways and drunk but I’m determined to yoga my ass off.
Suited up and proudly wearing my Nykee shorts, I enter into the sweaty oven, ready to get my yoga groove on.
Photo Credit: https://unsplash.com/photos/3wVZhqOL-ZQ