Sitzfleisch and Other Obsessions

Oh, look, it's 8:04am, and I've promised myself to blog from now until 8:30am, when I shift to writing.  Nope, can't think of anything to blog about that I haven't covered already.  Maybe I'll just sit here....

Sitting.  I am sick of sitting.  I spend my life sitting.  According to one study, that means I'm probably going to die younger than I would have otherwise.  If, for example, I had spent my life the way my sister does, running every day, doing yoga, riding horses, moving.  I sit.  Definition of "professor": someone who spends eight to ten hours a day sitting.  And not just sitting.  Reading.  I read.  Who is Professor F.B.?  A reader.  Why doesn't that make me happy?  Anything gets old once you do it for too long.  Like eating too much chocolate.

Yes, I'm going to try fasting from something this year for Lent.  I've been thinking about making it sweets.  Not because I think sweets are bad for me, although I suspect they are, but because I like them.  Although, oddly enough, I have also been trying a new way of thinking about food the past month or so.  Whenever I feel like eating, I try first having something real, not candy or ice cream or chocolate.  Then, if I am still hungry, I can have the sweets.  It's not that I am not allowed the sweets, I just want to give myself the chance to eat food first.  It does seem to be helping, sort of.  I feel like I am eating more real food than maybe I did a month ago.  But I'm still fat.  Still fatter than my sister.  Still fatter than I would like to be.  Not to mention stiffer.

Have I mentioned that I have completely given up on my yoga?  I haven't been able to do downward dog for the better part of a year, not since I fell during (of all things) an epee bout and hurt my left wrist breaking my fall.  And no downward dog means no sun salutations.  Which means no warm up.  Which means I've basically simply quit.  But there's also the problem that I don't believe in yoga anymore.  No, I don't think it's bad for you.  At least, I suspect it's probably okay.  But it's a crock.  It's just stretching with woowoo added.  And it's not going to get you to nirvana or anything like that.  Thanks to the history of modern yoga that I read back in the autumn, I can't now see someone on her way to yoga class with her comfy clothes and her mat and not think, "Sucker.  I used to believe that doing yoga would change my life, too.  Now I know that it is just gymnastics to music."  It's sad how cynical I've gotten in my old age.

And I do feel old.  Even before my yoga disenchantment, I was getting stiffer.  Despite doing my regular practice every morning.  Despite not eating meat for twenty years.  I eat meat now (for reasons other than the Y.D.), so I'm sure that's not helping.  But I'm walking a good three miles a day with the Dragon Baby whenever I go to campus, which is most days.  Somehow or other, it simply doesn't help.  My sister, my sister is never going to grow old at all.  She's an Elf.  I'm not even sure I'm a woman most of the time, so confused am I about my body image.  I certainly don't look like those "women" in the magazines and never have, even when I was younger.  Not something to worry about, I know; the photos are all photoshopped, everything is a lie.  But some women do get to spend their lives healthy and thin, just not most of us.

Why is that?  Why should beauty be rationed in this way, only a little of it available in the world?  Except that it all depends on the way you see.  Calvin would say that every human being is equally beautiful because every human being is made in the image and likeness of God.  Even Nazis.  Even the guards at Birkenau who oversaw the murder of millions.  Did I say I spend my life reading?  It is certainly better than spending it in a concentration camp or in a factory or out in a field picking the blueberries that I had for breakfast this morning.  Why should comfort be rationed in this way, only a little of it available in the world?  How dare I complain when there are other human beings living in poverty?  How dare I spend one minute unproductively when I have been given so many opportunities in life?

Except isn't the life that I have the one that the people in the concentration camps lived to regain, a life with comfortable furniture, lots of books to read, enough food to eat, and meaningful work?  Even if I gave up all of these things, it wouldn't guarantee that nobody else suffered, otherwise it really would make sense for the whole world to become monks.  Except that it wouldn't, otherwise everyone would have, right?  No.  I'm just thinking now of how monks and nuns have themselves been criticized, even as they live lives of relative discomfort, for being selfish and thinking only of themselves, not going out to serve the world, like the friars.  Except that even the friars have been criticized, in the middle ages for wandering about, in the more recent past for wanting to teach people about God.

I want to teach people about God but I don't really feel like I have anything new to say.  See, God loves you.  That's it.  That's the whole message of salvation.  Believe it and you will be saved.  Ha.  I can't even believe it.  Not quite true.  I do know it, accept it more or less rationally.  I just don't feel it.  Not, at least, in a way that gives me confidence to then write or talk about it other than indirectly.  Oh, look, it's 8:28am.  If I'm going to start writing on time, I'd better do the labels for this post and then publish. Oops! Now it's 8:37am. Gotta go.


  1. Well, at least there's a solution for your sitting problem:

  2. LOL! I have heard of people working standing up, but as my father (the surgeon) died of complications from his varicose veins (a pulmonary embolism following a stroke, quite possibly caused by a clot from his truly astonishing varicose veins in his legs), I'm not convinced this is the answer. Moving, that's what you want to be doing, not sitting or standing still all the time.

  3. Are you sure gymnastics to music can't change your life? It's still a chance to be quietly in the moment while doing something with your body. I hardly ever do sun salutations, because of my shoulder problem; when I do, it's one or two at a time. There are other ways to warm up. But if you just wanted to feel grumpy today, I'm the last person who would try to cheer you up, because I'm a big grump myself.

  4. Partly I just need to feel grumpy--I have been very sleepy the past week or so with the ongoing healing of my eyes and nothing looks quite the way it should. But I am also grumpy about my yoga because I feel like I have lost something important after so many years and I can't seem to get it back. For years, doing sun salutations in the morning was my principal spiritual practice, and now, what with one thing and another, I don't have it any more. It changed my life--and then left me. Perhaps this is grief?

  5. Sounds like grief to me. Change is hard.


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