Don’t mess with me

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The snarl’s gotta come out sometimes

I’ve felt the need to curl my lip lately. Mostly, it sneaks out when I’m driving and by myself.  It’s not like I even think about it, but then that snarly feeling makes it’s way out and ends up right there on my face.  And it’s not just the face.  When the curling lip happens, out comes attitude and grit to go with it and it’s almost like I’m looking for some terrible injustice so I can go yell about it.  I guess whatever this snarl is needs to get out there. I’ve known this to happen after a long bout of “life is so amazing and I love everything and it’s all so beautiful.”  It’s not like that love feeling isn’t still there, but there’s something else inside of me that won’t be forgotten. Part of me wants to be able to still snarl and get pissy and yell.

With this snarl comes a lurking desire to hunch over a table and scrawl things into it.  Boy, do I want to scratch shit into a wooden table with the tip of a pocket knife or a dead ball point pen or something sharp… like an icepick.  I also have a need to be around decomposing things, like blue cheese.  Blue cheese is disgusting and also one of my favorite things. I eat a lot of it, daily, but I can still see it is also a moldy stinky dairy product which is kind of gross, and that’s what I like about it. I’m fascinated by it, really.  Decay is this process of slow death that comes to one thing because another thing (organism, bacteria, maybe yeast) is growing on it and breaking it down.  It’s death happening because life is taking it over.

It used to be that this stuff would bubble up from deep inside and I’d start to snarl and then I’d get stuck in it for a long time.  It would come over me and overwhelm me and that overwhelm could eventually wear me down and I’d end up sadNow, it can show up but it doesn’t take over. I don’t fertilize it quite as much.  This is one thing that my yoga practice has really helped with.  I don’t get stuck quite as easily or for quite as long.

I still find love and beauty in the things and the relationships and this world that I’m engaged in, but I find that there’s a good dose of the anger and the fear and a fascination with the disgusting mixed in with all the love and beauty.  It’s all in there at varying percentages and it’s all a part of life.  When this comes up for me, I think it’s really helpful to take a good look at it and wonder  “Why?” and “Where’s it coming from?” And “No need to be alarmed.”  It’s also good to know that I don’t have to feed it and let it  take over. Sometimes it is close to the surface and sometimes it’s deeper, but it’s always in there.   It just is.  I am very engaged in this spiritual practice and I take it very seriously but that doesn’t mean that I won’t still get all pissy and messy.   And honestly, I don’t really want everything neatly contained and managed and tidy all the time because there’s all this other stuff that is very much a part of life… it can have a purpose and sometimes it needs to come out.

*****

I like to document my quiet obsession with rotting food dead things and bad smells.  (Smells are the most difficult to capture.) Here’s a brief photo journal of some of the things I like to think about and to be with.  It’s one of the ways that I remain present with the beauty in the disgusting and the breakdown and the stink.

Raw milk solids that have separated from the whey

decomposing fruit

egg yolks and bacterial growth

rat trapped

window incident

drowned lizard

Kombucha scoby-- bacteria and yeast

raw milk solids at the bottom of my coffee

yeast growth on the surface of Keifer culture

kombucha scoby forming on surface of tea

Old scoby, new scoby

yeast and bacteria growing on surface of keifer culture

Maggots on the kombucha scoby

SCOBY

kombucha scoby

tar bubbling up out of the earth at La Brea tar pits in L.A.

hairy mold growing in my compost bucket

sometimes I feel like this.

blue cheese. yum?

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12 thoughts on “Don’t mess with me

  1. Good point (and read) …when you know just how stinky and nasty something can get/be, it makes it alot easier to find, and appreciate the not so stinky and nasty. Here’s to “snarling” back at ya 😉 Laurie

  2. 2 things…
    1. your house is probably pretty interesting, and…
    2. why do we think that the moldy, stinky stuff is the bad stuff and the new, sweet stuff is the good stuff? It might be interesting to intentionally spend a day reversing the usual sweet=good/ moldy=bad concept and see what happens. Admire the chewing gum on the bottom of your shoe; enjoy the accretion in the gutter; find somebody ranting on a street corner and give a deep bow…

    I’m not going to do this, mind you, but it seems like it might not be too hard to put you up to it. In fact, you’ve probably already done it! You have a beautiful mind, Amanda. Seriously.

    1. I’ve been experimenting with fermenting foods and milk and tea the last year or so and that, along with the compost bucket on the warm counter makes for some really weird and wonderful smells and growth. I think it’s very interesting. Sometimes my girls wonder…

      And I love this invitation to reverse the sweet moldy good bad things that we usually have going on. I started this morning with the dead cockroach I found. Do those little brown bugs actually spread a lot of disease or do something disgusting other than eat and crawl around on things that you’d prefer they not? Research is coming.

      Thanks reading and for your comments, Bharat. I always look forward to them!

  3. “It used to be that this stuff would bubble up from deep inside and I’d start to snarl and then I’d get stuck in it for a long time. It would come over me and overwhelm me and that overwhelm could eventually wear me down and I’d end up sad. Now, it can show up but it doesn’t take over. I don’t fertilize it quite as much. This is one thing that my yoga practice has really helped with. I don’t get stuck quite as easily or for quite as long.”

    I LOVE this paragraph Amanda! This is how I truly feel and just today I was talking about this to my students. Everyone needs a personal practice:) All that muck becomes less and good thoughts take over the bad:)) THANKS BAD ASS YOGI !!!

    1. Right?!! This really happens — slowly but surely, we can learn how to influence these patterns of self talk and moods so we have yoga-tools to help us recover and self-regulate. I bet your students loved your class, Nina.
      🙂

  4. Yeah. I mean, we hardly know each other, just from blogs and stuff. But now that I know what’s in your fridge and on the kitchen counter…

    Echo your comments on what Yoga has done. I don’t get angry in traffic. Little things don’t get to me as much, and even if I’m going there, ie: “I’m angry and I’m not going to take it any more,” I’m aware I’m going there and I don’t have to let it take me there if I don’t want to.

    1. The kitchen does have some sort of experiment going on…these days I prefer that to actual cooking. 🙂

      I can totally relate to your yoga experience and isn’t it great that the journey continues!

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