Why I Feel Extra Murder-y Sometimes and How You Can Avoid Feeling the Same Way

me feeling murder-y


There was a day last week when I felt extra murder-y.

It started early on. Like, within the first few minutes of waking up. After that, I spent my entire day with a permanent scowl on my face, my head throbbing, my fingers clenching, my skin hot. I had zero patience for anything and felt that, at any moment, the smallest thing could set me off and I’d be all:

via GIPHY

Sure, there was the usual juggling act of work and motherhood, with an extra dash of my-daughter-is-a-whiny-threenager-and-has-decided-potty-training-is-the-hill-she’s-going-to-die-on thrown in. But on top of that, there were the two industry events I’d attended the past two weekends in a row, which had left me exhausted because I am an introvert with moderate levels of social anxiety. I felt run down and stressed out, and that combination had me on edge.

In the distant past, at a time when I felt way more murder-y way more often, I leaned on Xanax and Lexapro and talk therapy to at least dull the more overwhelming emotions.

Then, about five years ago, I tried yoga and meditation instead. And that’s what I’ve been using ever since.

Except that, when I’d spent the past two weekends at those otherwise-awesome industry events, I’d missed my regular yoga classes.

Oops.

At the end of the day during which I felt extra-murdery, my husband practically pushed me out the door on my way to yoga. When my teacher asked each of us how we were feeling and what we would like to work on, I reported my mental state and requested that we do something that would make me feel more grounded. As we closed our eyes and focused in on our inhales and exhales, all the bad shit fell away. I spent the next hour and 15 minutes thinking about nothing but breath and body and movement.

Of course, we all have the power to take our yoga practice home with us. Where we stumble is in giving ourselves the time and/or the permission to give all of our attention to ourselves. Here are some tricks I sometimes use, when I actually have the wherewithal to use them:

  • gently wake myself up first thing in the morning with a series of sun breaths
  • gently rock myself to sleep right before bed with relaxing stretches and movement
  • open up one of the five billion meditation apps I downloaded onto the phone and do a guide 2-, 5-, or 10+-minute meditation
  • take a few moments to focus on my breath, allowing myself to slowly lengthen out every inhale and exhale
  • lie down and do a full body scan, allowing each body part to soften as my mind’s eye rests upon it
  • place my hands on my belly, focusing on the physical manifestation of my breath as the belly rises and falls

If you’re not convinced, I invite you to attend my 1.5 Hours to Inner Peace workshop next Sunday (October 1, 4 – 5:30 p.m., YogaCentric). I’ll be filling the time with gentle movement, stretches, breathing exercises, and meditation, all tools you can take home with you afterward.

I’ll be donating 60 percent of the proceeds to the Southern Poverty Law Center because, while this workshop is about bringing you inner peace, I’d like to promote some outer peace as well.

Here’s to feeling less murder-y on a regular basis.


(image by Megan Tedrow Photography, via Flickr)

There Are Things I’m Supposed To Be Doing Right Now, Aren’t There?


Life can often feel like a series of things you’re supposed to be doing: Go to college. Get a corporate job. Buy pumps and blazers. Work your way up the corporate ladder. Earn regular-yet-adequately-spaced-out promotions and raises. Get married and have babies. Eventually conquer the corporate world. Die.

Even when you step off that path and do something idiotic like become a freelance writer, there are things that are…well…expected of you. Mostly, they involve building the giant Jenga tower that is your platform, eventually becoming so cool that publishers pay you to write books on the regular, and then—I don’t know—ascending to a higher plane of coolness that involves a lot of literary readings and a-line dresses?

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Sometimes You Need Gentle Yoga But Sometimes You Need Beer. And Sometimes, You Need Both

(image by Chris Costes, via Flickr)


I was sick recently because of course I was. I’m allergic to everything (except food, thank god) and when I let my allergies go unchecked (which I always do), I turn into a sniveling, sneezing, snotting, coughing mess. For, like, ever.

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My Writing Allows Me To Be Just Slightly Braver Than My Typical Wussy-Wuss Self

(photo by roanokecollege, via Flickr)


In the hours leading up to my very first self-defense class, I worried about everything. I worried that my lack of coordination would be revealed within the first five minutes of class. I worried that there would be role-playing exercises, and that I’d make a fool of myself. I worried that, because of the nasty cold I’d had for the past week, I’d have a cough attack that I would be powerless to control. I worried that I wouldn’t find parking or that, because of rush hour traffic, I wouldn’t even get there on time.

Worrying. It’s just a thing that I do. It’s why I don’t do much else. Not anything outside of my comfort zone anyway.

Except when I’m on assignment.

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How Saying No To Everyone And Everything Ever Can Leave You The Space To Say Yes

SRS Photography, Sara Stadtmiller, Yoga, Yoga on the beach, Ocean Grove, Asbury Park, yoga photography SRS Photography, Sara Stadtmiller


Does anyone else remember when this was me? A fresh-faced, newly certified yoga teacher substitute teaching classes at eleventy billion different gyms and yoga studios, eleventy billion different times a week? No? Me neither.

According to my records, however, it was only four years ago. By the time I walked away from it all, I was teaching regularly at three different studios, with the occasional workshop thrown in.

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TFW You Realize That Sharing The Details Of Your Sex Life With Thousands Of Perfect Strangers Is Way Less Terrifying Than Sharing Them With Those You Know IRL

[image by Alex Proimos, via Flickr]


Fifteen years ago, I came home from college with a trunk full of vibrators, condoms, and a riding crop, plus the beginnings of a sex writing portfolio. My dad made jokes about it. And my mom decided to operate under the assumption that it was just a passing phase. (Though she still made photocopies of my very first print clip—in Playgirl magazine—and passed it around to her friends and colleagues.)

A year later, I met the man who would become my husband. I often think that, if I’d married anyone else, my career might look very different right now. But Michael has been nothing but supportive of my professional pursuits, even when it’s caused him some small bit of embarrassment, or when it’s forced him to push against the bounds of his own comfort levels.

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When You Assume You Are Set in Your Bookish Ways and Then Everything Changes at the Age of 36

library haul


What I am about to tell you fills me with shame. It’s more embarrassing than that time I passed out during choir rehearsal back in high school and my choir director thought the risers were falling. It’s more embarrassing than the level of drunkenness I achieved at my bachelorette party. It’s more embarrassing than that time a yellowjacket flew in my car window and landed on my steering wheel, leading me to screech my way into the mall parking lot, pull diagonally into four parking spots, yank up my emergency brake before fully stopping, and run laps around my car.

Sigh.

Here it is.

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I Have Become Obsessed with Feminist Comics and It Is the First Thing to Approach My Deep Love for All Things Horror

These women are my heroes. [photo by Pat Loika, via Flickr]

I was wandering aimlessly around my very first comic book expo, rocking my custom TerrorVision tank top, the first volume of Hellraiser in my giant purse, trying to look like I knew anything about anything. “Are you the sidekick accompanying the comic collector?” asked a guy who happened to be one of the co-organizers of the expo, referring to my buddy from my writing critique group who actually knew what she was doing.

Apparently, I wasn’t blending in at all.

It was unsurprising, though. I had never really been into comics before, at least not before five months ago. I wasn’t into the tights-and-capes crowd (except when directed on the big screen by Joss Whedon, for the most part), and I thought that was all comics were.

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When You Engage in Some Good Old Literary Citizenship Because, Really, You Just Want New Writer Friends with Whom To Bitch About Publishing

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I was at my very first HippoCamp last year when I told Lisa Romeo my hopes and dreams, because she was the only person there that I knew, and so she was stuck with me. I told her I wanted to find the New Jersey equivalent of Girls Write Now, a mentoring program for teen girls who want to write, because I love the work they do and would get involved if only I didn’t have to cross into NYC in order to do so. I also lamented my lack of local writer-friends. I knew there were other writers in the area. But where were they? And why weren’t they friends with meeeee???

Which is how I found myself at the Montclair Literary Festival last weekend, working the children’s room at the Montclair Public Library as a representative of the Writers Circle.

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I Went in Search of My Dharma and Found I Was Already Living It

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Last month, I traveled up to the Kripalu Center for Yoga & Health to take a workshop on dharma (in this instance, defined as “life purpose”). The workshop was an offshoot of the presenter’s most recent book, which I had read and loved because I can never resist a good excuse to examine my life choices under a microscope and draw up endless to-do lists’ worth of course corrections.

I spent the weekend taking sunrise yoga classes, eating silent breakfasts, meditating, listening to lectures on dharma, and putting together lists (a thing we’ve already established is a hobby of mine).

Lists of the things that light me up.

Lists of the things to which I feel duty-bound.

Lists of the things that are often seemingly in opposition to each other.

In drawing up all of these lists, what I discovered is that I was already following my dharma.

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