Originally written September, 2013. Republished now with minor changes because it’s still so relevant. In fact, she and I still fight at yoga.
She and I got into a fight at yoga yesterday.
The instructor told the class to do this horrible toe-crunching thing and she was like, “I hate this. Stop.”
And I was like, “Cram it. You and I have been together for decades, and I take you to the gym a few times a week even though neither of us want to, specifically so that you can be awesome. Suck it up and do this toe thing.”
And she was like, “This hurts.”
And I was like, “It’s good for you.”
And then the instructor finally showed both of us some mercy and sent us into downward-facing dog.
The more I age, the more I feel like Krang from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Despite the fact that I’ve been connected to this defiant little chassis for 37 years now, I still sometimes have trouble manipulating her. She does things like sprout random grey hairs, or her boobs will change size or shape overnight for no reason. I tell her to do 99 percent of the things she does, so when she does things without my permission, it’s particularly unsettling. She’s like a teenager who was my baby for so long, who needed me to do anything so far in life, and now she wants to go off and do her own thing.
I don’t think she realizes how much she needs me, but I know that I need her. I couldn’t write this without her fingers. I don’t know what I’d do without her. I would mourn the loss of any part of her. It sickens me to picture a life in which I couldn’t have her pick things from the garden, to eat for her own benefit. (I don’t need that shit. I need chocolate and pizza. She needs the veggies.)
I’m so in love with her and so proud of her that I just want to do everything I can to help her be the best she can be. This is, of course, somewhat selfish. After all, the longer she hangs around, the longer I do, in general.
Sometimes we work so well together. We’re best friends when we play music (even though every time we mess up, we each blame the other).
I love to buy her things. I love to put her in dresses and jewelry. I like to use my own creativity to put new colors on her face. I stretch her, I relax her, I challenge her. I try to find foods that she responds well to. I try to keep her hydrated, but all she does in return is tell me constantly that she has to pee.
I take her out for walks, to sweat fests at the gym, and out dancing (although I admit dancing is for me, too). I change her hair constantly in a desperate attempt to get her to look more like me. It never seems to work exactly like it should, but we bond over it and have a lot of fun doing it.
She gets mad when I stab her with new bits of jewelry, but I won’t tell her that if I had my way, she’d probably have several more piercings. I was born with a nose ring, but she didn’t get hers until we’d been together 20 something years. At least I let her wait a while. She doesn’t know how good she has it. Maybe someday I’ll get her a tattoo or get dragged to a barre class. Then she’ll be sorry.
I want to do my best for her because when we’re doing everything right, she has the potential to be so pretty, and I just want to tell her I’m so proud and give her a hug, but I can’t without borrowing her arms to do it. Sometimes I take her over to a mirror and think, “Well look at you. We’re doing all right, aren’t we? Go team!” Other times, I put her in front of the mirror and I don’t recognize her. I just sigh and think, “Oh, honey. We got work to do. You ok?” So I fold her hands and request a transfer.
But for better or worse, for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health (for both of us), she and I are in this together, until death parts us.
At the end of practice, as we lie on our yoga mat with her eyes closed and the lights off in the room, she breaks the silence. “I’m sorry I got mad earlier.”
“Me too. I didn’t mean to yell at you like that.”
She sighs. “It’s okay. You were right. It is good for me. I feel better now. Friends again?”