Mad respect for the shark’s streamlined singular purpose, the cheetah’s Pilates-limbed booster mode, but the animals I am most enamored with are made of softness. A radius of pettable fur and ideally, selfishly, carrying a few more pounds than is advised for their species. I can’t seem to extend this love for my own mammal self, though. I fiercely eradicate most of my own fur and despair over the squish of my tender body for its refusal to transform into a more armored and aerodynamic shape.

Somewhere in the cave of my heart I want to be a round-bellied puppy, a gloriously chonky longhaired cat stretched out on her side, a young piglet happily rooting for who-knows-what, a well-fed quokka with a Mona Lisa smile.

The heart-cave is a hot mess, though. My god, have you looked in there? It’s more of an overstuffed attic filled with everyone else’s bullshit. You can’t get from one side to the other without being ensnared by some wiry tangle of bad programming.

You may have noticed, it is so very hard to get rid of.

My heart often gets confused by everything it is surrounded by and I forget that it is okay to be soft and to love soft things. There my heart beats behind a fortress of ribcage because of its own vulnerability and sometimes I want to be shut tight and water-sealed and hidden away from sight and sometimes I just want to crack wide open and let hot summer sunshine come pouring in.

Inside of me are five trillion stern sets of instructions that all lead to unyielding locations but all I want is the hand-drawn one, the paper-napkin treasure map written in crayon that’s all wobbly dashed lines and a great big X to mark the spot where the stubborn soft animal of me is held and maybe even cherished for its lack of predatory features.

A couple of updates on topics that likely weren’t particularly interesting the FIRST time around, but this is what I’ve got to talk about these days unless anyone wants to discuss the ongoing issue of a dog who routinely leaves a brown butthole-shaped spot on the carpet whenever she sits and scratches herself in a certain position, which the vet has assured me is not due to any sort of worrisome butt-related malfunction? I mean probably not, so let’s circle back on two things I was very enthusiastic about at the time: yoga and Beat Saber.

Historically my level of interest in a thing tends to go on a sharp decline after the initial obsession (see also: bullet journals, watercolor painting, food logging, committing to less mindless phone-scrolling, etc) but I am still going strong with the daily yoga. In fact, I honestly can’t see why I’d ever stop this routine outside of mobility issues, that’s how life-changingly amazing it has been.

Now, here I need to point out that when I drone on about how rewarding and strengthening and soothing I find this yoga practice, I am very specifically talking about Adriene Mishler’s flavor of yoga, which can be accessed via her YouTube channel and/or her membership-based site Find What Feels Good.

I would describe her yoga as gentle and extremely beginner-friendly; there are flows and holds that can get fairly spicy but overall the postures are uncomplicated and the pace is slow. When I first tried her videos I felt like it was … too easy, I guess? If the goal is laser-focused on calorie burn, which mine certainly used to be, all that stillness and deep breathing can feel like a waste of time.

I’m extremely, profoundly glad I found the ability to rethink what yoga could mean for me, and it’s entirely thanks to her channel. One of her monthly challenges just came along at exactly the right time, and I know the reason I’ve been able to stay committed to a daily practice ever since because of its peaceful nature, which offers respite instead of punishment.

It’s also become apparent that the most seemingly simple postures are in fact nearly infinite in their capacity to challenge the body and mind. But it’s always up to me: if I’m running low on energy, I can dial it way back, or I can push for those sizzle moments if I’m feeling strong. This works way better for me than a routine that demands max effort each and every time.

Lord help me I haven’t even gotten to Beat Saber yet. In short: I am now wholly devoted to Yoga with Adriene, I strongly recommend it if you are a human, I could go on and on about the many benefits both physical and mental but you’ve probably heard of yoga before so I will STOP NOW.

I figured there would be a good chance that my Beat Saber interest would also come with a fairly short shelf life, but you guys. You guys, I love Beat Saber so much. I play every blessed day, sometimes for a sweat-soaked HOUR or more. I’m fairly tired of the available songs at this point but I don’t care, the game is just too damn fun.

Also, it is emotionally important for me to document here that I have progressed to Expert Level on Beat Saber. This seemed absolutely impossible to me when I first played the game, like so far outside of the realm of my capabilities it was downright comical, and now I can play the shit out of that motherfucking mode. (Um, on certain songs, not the really really really hard ones.)

I realize nothing about this achievement appears to translate to the real world, but what if our planet is suddenly beset by an endless stream of square-shaped aliens which can only be defeated by slicing them in half, rhythmically? I WILL HEED THE BEATSIGNAL, that’s what.

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