What attracts me to teenagers who enjoy my company is that they are prone to listening to you without posing too many questions that in effect merely echo their insecurity about what they do, and whether what they do corresponds exactly to what others who are their age do. Such imitation of others without an ounce of reflection behind it bores me to death. So what if you're a teenager and you're insecure? If you want to know things, go ask people who have experience and their wits about them, and that includes your parents, than merely imitating the nearest 'cool' idiot simply because others do it. So, I always make sure that, say, when kids and I travel together – which is not very often, as I don't know that many – I completely disregard their thinking – especially if they are boys - that spraying ourselves with half of the perfume stock at airports is unusual. I often go quite irrevocably when sensing their anxiety: “get over this nonsense,” and then suggest that it is not all right to entertain the idea that such an activity as playing with smell is only reserved for girls. “In this household,” I say, “we do not, and I repeat, we do not sanction the voice of patriarchy.” After the perfume, we play musketeers or jedi knights, yet I also make sure that the roles assigned are clear: “I will not,” I say, “I repeat, I will not be the damsel in distress.” When such pronouncements are articulated, and which go beyond settled negotiation, they often elicit this response from the kids in question: “Fair enough,” as a result of their accepting that, indeed, there may be other states in between what boys do and what girls do exclusively. And if “fair enough,” is followed by this rhetorical comment: “you won't play the damsel in distress because you have other things to be grateful for?” you just know that your day is made. My nephew, Paul, a 15 year-old, delivers such statements, and I am always astonished at his perceptiveness. My sister says he takes after me in his obsessive reflections. As far as this goes, I'm still out there deliberating on whether such heritage is good or bad. Yesterday I announced that it was high time that the two of us will soon have a Bikram yoga session. “Paul”, I said to him, “next month we'll go for Bikram yoga,” and the only question that he posed without objection was this one: “we are?” “Yes, we are”, I said, and then I showered him with links to this type of yoga that everybody thinks is quite challenging, as you have to go through 26 positions in a heated to 40 degrees celsius room. “Nonsense,” I told Paul, as a way of anticipating his concern with such toughness, and then I explained something about the value of having the feeling that you can touch your own entrails as you sweat through your consciousness, and as you can imagine that you hold your own brain in your hands, raw and beautiful as it really is, thus invariably implying once more that if you think that you can't do it, then it's only because you can't imagine yourself doing it – which is too bloody bad and boring. Now, while others may think, “how gross,” Paul, who sees me almost becoming one with the machine I'm typing on this information while we skype, goes: “Oh, I see, it's like going into a Mac store and relishing touching and turning on all their facets all the pieces they have there on display.” Exactly. Bikram yoga, here we come!


thooumak said…
I don't know ...
but there are so many schools of yoga.
Which one to choose?
I prefer the chinese Tai chi ..
Camelia said…
Always go with what your temperament can accommodate. I do Iyenagar yoga, as I like to sit in some positions a long time, and as it doesn't require special rooms or others around. I also like to blast a good Bach while at it, which I am pretty sure would bother others if I had company. Bikram yoga, as far as I'm concerned, is for when I need a shot of excessiveness. Though, of course, if there was a studio closer to my home, I'd make more regular visits. If I were younger, I'd try tai chi, or tango, for its elegance, but as things are, I'm afraid that it is only in my head that I can be a master.

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