Sunday, April 17, 2011

Back in the USSR

Well, folks, I think it's safe to say that this blog won't be winning any density awards this year. When you're away for a while, it's a little scary to just jump back in, but here I am again, and I've brought stories!

Shortly after my last post, I received some disagreeable news: the wisdom teeth had to come out. All four at once. Starring needles, pain, and the possibility of dry socket! Once I got past those horrors, my next thought was, "How will this affect my practice?!" Many said that ample doses of Vicodin would keep the pain at bay but would also leave me comatose in bed for days. I guess I'd have to take the good with the bad, so I put on a cowardly face and got on with it.

My first piece of advice: get good and sedated. Stick your arm out and tell the surgeon you want Midazolam or you're outta there. All the perks of general anesthesia and none of the choking on your own saliva! I'd never had an IV in my adult life until this procedure, and the heart monitor spiked as I became aware of the needle. But then so quickly and painlessly I was lulled into complete oblivion. What seemed like moments later it was over. No immediate pain or swelling, no affect on my speech. Just a little disoriented and high as a kite.

A few hours later, after the anesthesia wore off, it was time to tear into some Vicodin. The first dose did put me to sleep -- a comfortable, bloody, gauzy slumber. But the next two went down like good coffee. And so did the following day's. By the third day, I was ready for yoga on a controlled substance. This is where I don't want to get arrested (or kill anyone, sure), so I have to advise against practicing on the meds. But I had a grand old time. Flexibility was through the roof, and my usual good mood was even gooder. Great success!

The next challenge was in no way less nerve-wracking, but infinitely more awesome. I finally taught Half Moon. The first time was during a small weekend class, but I was scared as hell. I could barely keep still throughout the entire breathing -- it was like a countdown to doom! Just like the surgery, it was over very quickly and I remember nothing. Except my shaking left calf muscle -- that I vividly recall. Supposedly I got the dialogue verbatim, which is comforting for a crazy over-preparer.

The second time was during a packed-in-there-like-pickles after-work Monday evening class, featuring a sea of new and familiar faces. My leg was calmer this time, but I was still a ball of nervous energy. It was pretty sweet to look out onto an array of bodies moving in unison to the sound of my voice; now I understand why teachers appreciate full classes.

I foresee two primary non-physical personal challenges at training: (1) calming the nerves, and (2) finding my dialogue voice. Currently, my dialogue voice sounds like an insecure automaton. Public speaking has never come naturally to me, and I'm constantly trying to distill my written voice. I'm grateful for the pre-training practice and look forward to kicking these doubts in the balls. For now, though, I'll just default to my favorite public speaking quote, brought to you by that lovable cheese-ball, Jerry Seinfeld:       

“According to most studies, people's number one fear is public speaking. Number two is death. Death is number two. Does that sound right? This means to the average person, if you go to a funeral, you're better off in the casket than doing the eulogy.”


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