oct 23 2020 - falling exercises

on returning to running and biking and ~my body~

dear slushee pals,

I just couldn’t last month cause, you know, fall hustling, free falling, falling apart, falling over myself, "falling” as a somatic exercise, but not the kind you have to or even can do slowly, fall breathing and leave crunching, practicing how deep I can “dance fall” before catching myself at the last minute, falling in and out of small feelings, big feelings, falling into my bed—you know, the things.

among everything people have been saying, rather vaguely but not uninspiringly, about this pandemic necessitating a new world order (huh, let’s see about that…), being a portal (Arundhati Roy), etc. one of the most tangible things for me to “track change” (I kno I kno, don’t) is how I deal with being in my body all day and then trying, usually unsuccessfully, to sleep before having to wake up and be in my body all over again.

sometime last month, I walked by the track in my neighborhood and felt compelled to run. I always hated running in PE. I hated running in a circle and getting dizzy at the scale of 400-meters. boring. why loop around yourself again and again just to see how fast you can propel your body forward? remember the pacer? running back and forth in a cramped line. “faster is better” blah blah capitalism, etc.

[ID: me at the track, wearing the much-adored puppy fleece, and a blue mask with roosters on it, made by pal Angie Chuang]

but now, the thrill of my phone stopwatch (plz, nobody recommend me a real watch, I won’t) and seeing what my body can do, how much air my lungs can squeeze through my 2-layer cloth mask and folded coffee filter, the pounding (which I usually hate! I am fragile!) of all my weight on my legs, I am so grateful to feel and feel how it’s different than running 10 years ago was. I have more core strength, I have less cardiovascular stamina, I have a deeper understanding of “alignment” or whatever, so I am more self-conscious about my running form being probably not good.

the first lap I ran (and I only ran one that day), I nearly choked on my mask and my coffee filter was fully damp. on days i’m not wearing contacts (i.e. most days), my glasses fog up but all I feel is my silly body pushing against the wind and it doesn’t hurt as much as it used to (might have to get real running shoes and not ratty, paper thin sneakers, ugh) and ugh, maybe i’m just trying to compensate as efficiently as possible for the 22 hours a day I spend in my room lol, maybe pounding on my body hurts kind of good at this frequency.

today, I ran 2 (two!) consecutive laps for the first time and felt dizzy (from seeing the same landscape again, as if I hadn’t just been there) but also felt the sky so big and this was a FEELING, I am a changed person.

~*~*~

a couple weeks ago, I also procured a bike. I said I would never bike in this city—partly because of all the horror stories, partly because I had thought my body had forgotten how to ride.

the first few pedals I make when the light goes green must still look frightening. I swerve, my complete lack of confidence or control on full display for the car drivers who wish I were not on the road. at one stop light, a car was needlessly fully stopped in the bike lane. I hesitate between getting off to walk my bike through the narrow gap and just cruising straight through, so of course I topple into the median a little bit and scuff up my left leg. a part of the scab stayed black, more than the usual dark purple, for about a week and I worried (as I did when a heavy door closed on my finger and it popped open LOL, DM if u want the photos) about infection. but as I had to be then, I was patient and waited for the scab to rise and for me to pick it off, revealing tender, sensitive skin beneath. yikes!

in my 3-mile rides, i’ve been surprised by how quickly my legs tire of pushing me on, how my legs carry less brute force than they once did but now, more ankle stability and tactile responsiveness from bounding and changing direction and absorbing—fun physical skills to activate while “dancing” or whatever but largely useless to me just trying to pedal uphill.

since that scrape, i’ve already begun cruising confidently enough to commit to sailing between impossible gaps that I never had to consider growing up biking in suburbia neighborhoods. I make it through without fall fall falling but not so much that I can’t feel the straight path of my bike wheels wavering, just slightly, as I skirt between paths i’m not “legally” meant to create for myself. but if the light is red and if (and only if) there are no pedestrians, why then, I just—

next, we’ll see if my iliotibial bands (of all the parts of my thighs, really, does someone know why?) can withstand 5 miles or maybe more, if not for senseless pace and distance and accumulation, but the thrill of more and more and letting my legs relax while gravity and momentum send me onward, not in the lazy narrative of progressivism, but in the inevitability of time passing in its way and me in my body finding how to move through it at my pace, in my directions, against linear time but towards…. *gestures vaguely at* … idk

[ID: me wearing a lite blue and gray striped t-shirt, pink helmet, pink mask with horses (again, by A/C Space)]

any who, cheers to parenthetical statements, they are the syntax of ~today~ LOL jk I know I know

also cheers to this very slushee project, which is now 2 years old - thanks for my oldest readers and my newer readers for slurping and scrolling past all this extra content. and to my future readers, welcome to the archive

if u’ve made it this far, plz hit the heart button and tell all ur friends how brilliant and UN-annoying these slushees are to receive, cause u know, idk, algorithms and garbage

xoxo benedict

xtra slush / links that typically have low click rates :(

plus content made by pals! can barely keep up with everything everyone’s putting out but glad it’s out there

some albums / EPs

but also

  • a bunch of dear artists sharing work with Estrogenius this wknd! Kim and Shi! Rebecca! Joya! Jasmine and Marion! etc.

  • my friend Sima’s tinyletter - here’s an out-of-context excerpt from a recent missive:

I noticed that folks new to the gesture had all their energy in and around the box, so that their backs and pelvises and thighs and feet were somewhat forgotten. This is what fixation does--it banishes the rest of the body.

***did I forget to include ur recent work ?! send it to me and I’ll include next time xo

plus, some things i’ve worked on

  • ceev @ BAAD on june 26 2020 - w/ work by Malcolm-x Betts and Ogemdi Ude + Stephanie George

  • Sonic Gathering XXII on sept 16 2020, performance with ME and dear Brandon Collwes and Alexandra Jacob plus John King, Gelsey Bell, Conrad Harris, Pauline Kim Harris, and Lester St. Louis, musicians. performing King's composition "hodos - sappho-carson," a "micro-opera" featuring the voice of Anne Carson reading Sappho fragments in Ancient Greek and her translations in English]

  • SAVE THE DATE ~ The Last Moon in Mellowland on nov 20 2020 at 6p EST, a film by Jordan Demetrius Lloyd w/ collaborators Breeanah Breeden, Ariana Speight, Tiffany Lloyd, + dramaturg/aforementioned pal Stephanie George and more TBA ;)