Clean and Elegant

Clean and Elegant

Monday, 24 April 2017

Fat Days for Boys

My last two short-term sources of relative sexual gratification expressed a surprising amount of angst and insecurity over the ostensible body fat they perceived around their bellies. It turns out that this is a pretty excellent way to land yourself onto my no-go list, as is saying I kiss like an iguana, and as are baboon jokes.

The way I see it, I am the only one who gets to have body angst in a relationship. I win the Fat Day Monopoly.

You may have heard that on October 29, 2015, I turned 30 years old and cancelled all Fat Days from that day forward.

This was a nice thought.
In fact, I really try to keep my fat days to myself.  Because even on the days when I fail to get myself into the tiny Asian-sized tie-dye pants, the notion that I am at all overweight, is both ridiculous, and obnoxious and just shut up.

I only caused one hole
in these tie-dyed pants
and it's not
in the crotch.
Just shut up is what I feel inclined to say to my dude friends when they exhibit low-grade symptoms of Manorexia.
But just as my angst, self-loathing and food belly feel totally real, I’m sure theirs do too.
What the fuck should we do about fat days?
Last February I showed up in Mysore, India, ready to eat grilled cheese sandwiches. Triggered by a thali in Varanasi (the holy city of auspicious funeral pyres), 1.5 months of persistent liquid shits and an ensuing eating head trip had made a big chunk of me disappear. And there I was, Erica’s version of Emaciated for the 273rd time in my life. 

Here I am in Kerala
looking half dead
on a motorcycle.

“Achieving” my champion adolescent weight always comes with a bag of conflicting and tumultuous feelings.

Shame is there: Oh here we are again, 22 years since the first time I tried to burn calories by eating a single boiled egg for breakfast and counting six thousand and one steps as I walked the dog. 31 years old. Not menstruating, and an emotional fuck-job.

Overcome by backpacks
radiating diarrhea.
Photo by the Stunning and Exceptional Photographer, Maansi Jain

And then the quiet and embarrassing pride: Can you see me? I’m so thin. I both crave and abhor the attention I get at my thinnest: “Oh wow! You’re so skinny. What happened?” This one from a former yoga teacher: “I don’t think I’ve ever seen you this thin. This must really be your thinnest. Oh, but you look good!” How helpful, and thank you! Though I had kind of been hoping to evoke a cross between a Holocaust victim and cancer patient. Maybe throw in some AIDS. Damn these biceps, this baby face. Even sinewy and gaunt, they can’t pull off Concentration Camp.

In our culture, weight loss is so coveted that sometimes it feels as though nothing could be more riveting than the conversation about how someone got skinnier.


“She looks like she’s starving.
Our world often associates being an emaciated bone rack with glamour and sexy. I can only speak for myself, but countless unplanned studies have shown that for Erica J. Schmidt, dropping more than six or seven pounds under a certain comfortable window totally fucks up my already fragile set of precarious coping skills. And this is why I am somewhat of a strong advocate against anorexia or manorexia or any version of fucking up your eating. I can empathize with your manorexic belly angst, but let me tell you, it really gets in the way of the thorough and life-changing fuck we all need.
Leg humping with
a side of squishy belly
some of my favourite.
Mysore is an interesting choice of refuge for getting your eating back on track. In 2014, I spent three months in this birthplace and mecca of Ashtanga Yoga. For over seven years, I had devoted the mornings of my life to this highly structured, sweaty, dynamic and time-consuming practice. Ashtanga Yoga brought me deep joy, some serenity, a sense of accomplishment, community and belonging, and eventually some rather persistent and hideous sensations and noises in several of my joints. While my three months practicing with the Guru’s grandson, were beautiful and delightful, not long after the end of my trip, I felt compelled to quit just about every stable facet of my life:
The Boatman, my favourite ex-boyfriend,
and the former leading man of this blog,
(Who by the way does not have manorexia);
Halifax; and,
Ashtanga Yoga.
I was such a junkie,
This was really quite surprising,
But I honestly
don’t miss it
all that much.   
I am happy with the varied, flexible and creative movement practice and meditation I have been able to come up with; my spine feels almost wonderful, almost all the time; I enjoy more reasonable amount of sleep; and I now feel free of the OCD that tended to arise when I had the obligation of performing close to the exact same ritual close to every fucking day.

Having said that, in all their neuroses, Ashtangis remain some of my favourite people. Ernest, sincere, hardworking, self-deprecating, although they may be disproportionately committed to their cause, they are often quite fun, funny and lovely. I returned to Mysore for the friends, familiarity and trust that most of the restaurants would not cause cholera. Lucky for me, a beautiful long-term Canadian practitioner and excellent Eating Ally was in town.

One time over lunch at the Sixth Main, my friend was talking about the struggle to be a healthy role model for newer younger practitioners and the trend to take up radical non-eating regimes in the quest for lightness, purity and the breezy lithe body that seemingly bends and folds and balances with no effort.


Slurping up my bowl of noodles I blurted out, “I just don’t find weight-loss inspiring.”
“Thanks,” said my friend. “I’ll gonna make sure I remember that.”

Me too, I’m gonna make sure I remember that.

Upon returning to Canada, yet again, my cells bounced back to something stronger. This body, it never deserts me, and I am so grateful. Although I would not necessarily reward myself with a trophy for the Poster Girl of Liberated Eating Habits, life has brought me other lovely prizes, and I do feel entirely committed to cutting through the bullshit and arriving at a deeper love, for your cells and for mine.


Friends, your Fat Days, they are not inspiring.
Come on people, what else ya got?

The End.

In honour of this blog post,
I took a picture
of myself
with no pants on.

Exuberant Bodhisattva on Facebook
Twitter: @mypelvicfloor
I Let Go

Bodhisattva Business Ventures:

Deep Cleans by Erica J. Schmidt (@deepcleanswitherica)
Montreal Hippie Threads (@mtlhippiethreads)
Instagram: montrealhippiethreads

The Benefits of an Ashtanga Yoga Practice, Part Two
Are You Strong and Are You Skinny?
Finally, and undoubtedly, I feel grateful for my life

Friday, 21 April 2017

Three Quickies, including, I still wish I was Miranda July

I saw Vincent, Robbie and
the Married Man*
floating amidst
my mitochondria** and
Golgi Apparatus**

Some people they
end up
in your cells.
Who put them
Oh I think
it was me.

Asterixes from the Title:

*Also, I dreamt that the Married Man sent me a video of his hot and edgy wife with excellent legs dancing on a stage in tie-dyed pants with her (and the Married Man's) perfect and perfectly dancing children.
she's not as obnoxious
as I made her out to be,"
was what
the Married Man wrote.

**Two of the only parts of the cell I remember from Grade Nine Science class beyond the cell membrane and the nucleus. My teacher's name was Ms. Rumball and she called my mom to tell me how loved the cell model I made out of paper maché. It was all her favourite colours, purple, turquoise and teal.
I really really really
love purple too.

On Not Using Brand-Named Q-Tips

I composted
the clumps of
toilet paper
with ear wax.

I still wish I
was Miranda

What does it mean
to take care
of someone?
What does it mean
to be seen
All my life
is a physical outlet.
I still wish
I was Miranda.

The End.

Don't forget
there's a tie-dye sale

On the Yard Sale Strip
of Bernard
between Waverly and St. Urbain.
9ish to 4ish
Earth Day, April 22
Free Cookies.

Exuberant Bodhisattva on Facebook
Twitter: @mypelvicfloor
I Let Go

Bodhisattva Business Ventures:

Deep Cleans by Erica J. Schmidt (@deepcleanswitherica)
Montreal Hippie Threads (@mtlhippiethreads)
Instagram: montrealhippiethreads

Five Days of Creative Recovery
What I think about when I think about brand-named q-tips
Performative Crying in Alleys

Wednesday, 19 April 2017

Caffeinating and, Falling in love with some stranger's spine.

Caffeinating and,
Falling in love
With some stranger’s spine.
Falling in love
With some stranger’s spine
Is so easy.
My ears
smell like
Apple Cider Vinegar.
My whole life,
A Eustachian
I just learned
The word
and now
I’m showing
Makes me think
Of raincoats
a Mickey Mouse wristwatch.
And hyphens.
Most of our mothers
messed up potty training.
I’m pretty sure
mine didn’t
wrap my stroller
up in plastic.
Falling in love
With some stranger’s spine
Is so easy.
Wonder at
Their dissolving
ear wax.
I prefer
To avoid
Tight deadlines.
Soon the stranger
Will be leaving
With his spine
And his sneakers.

Thursday, 13 April 2017

Today is Holy Thursday, and Meditating is a Holy Hell of a Time.


Today is Holy Thursday
and Meditating is
a Holy Hell
of a Time


There are weeks and
of my life
when I have a total hell
of a time

Everyone knows I like to meditate while balancing, "Women Who Run with the Wolves" on my head. "Women Who Run with the Wolves" is the only hardcover book I own.

In fact, that is not true.

I have a small hardcover book written by Eric Emmanuel Schmidt which I found in the Mile End Armoire where all the hipsters leave their junk. Altogether I possess five books. This includes Ina May's Guide to Childbirth which I'm only borrowing. 

The novel by Eric Emmanuel Schmidt is not big enough to balance on my head.

I like to keep
French novels on my bedside table
in case that helps me learn French
while I'm sleeping. 

Matthew Sanford is a yoga teacher and paraplegic and he says that balancing books on your head has similar benefits to handstand.

Other yoga teachers are somewhat concerned about headstand's risk to the cervical spine. 

Headstands are one of the three things I know about my therapist Vincent.  Vincent is learning to stand on his head. The thought of this warms my heart. Good for Vincent.

The other two things I know about Vincent are:
1. He seems to like citrus and apples.
2. He is skeptical about cooking with a crock pot as he believes that excess moisture might disrupt potential flavour. 

It's possible that Vincent also plays tennis, but this I cannot confirm. 

I did not quite finish what I had to say about balancing a book on my head. 

While I was in Delhi,
I balanced Lena Dunham's book,
Not That Kind of Girl
on my head.

I meditated in the beautiful living room of my Cool Friend Fern's swanky apartment.
(I don't have a lot of experience
with the word swanky)
One time at my sister's house, I also balanced Not That Kind of Girl on my head.
(I wonder if Lena Dunham meditates)

That book was reasonably entertaining. I finished it on the train to Agra on the way to see the Taj Mahal and my billionth fort in two and a half weeks. I ended up giving Not That Kind of Girl to some fourteen to seventeen year old rickshaw drivers. I hope they made it to part about female orgasms being like a sneeze or like a seizure. For whatever reason, this was one of my favourite parts. I also liked the chapter about death. Just like Lena's brain, my brain is constantly permeated with the possibility of death and imminent catastrophe.

Me and Lena. 
Such kindreds.

In addition to our death fixations, me and Lena both like sex and have each had our times in the sun with psychiatric pharmaceuticals. Unlike Lena, I never had a boyfriend who left me with the unforgettable knowledge on how to avoid tangling up your headphones forever. None of my boyfriends have helped me with this. Alas, and alack, more or less.

What I do
when I'm having
a total
or holy
hell of a time
with Women Who Run with the Wolves
on my head:

Some people claim that to meditate for 30 minutes per day holds immense benefits. In many cases, this is true. One time on Facebook, I came up with the brilliant equation, 3+6+9+12=30. That is to say, you can meditate in chunks and do laundry in between. Everybody loved this tip. Today I did not bother with chunks, and bailed after fifteen minutes. I also did not bother to stretch my hamstrings or exert my ass muscles.

But here are some other tips, for you, or for Lena Dunham or for anyone else who wants to meditate:

1. Instead of sitting, lie down. Lying down is badass and radical.

You can stare at the clouds,
or the clotheslines, or the squirrels.
Or, close your eyes. Give the earth yours cells, and unravel, with tears, or without.

2. Think METTA phrases:
Toward yourself:
May I be safe,
may I be happy,
may I be healthy,
may I live with ease, and/or be free, and/or taste the perpetual and delicious goodness of lovingkindness as often as possible

Toward your roommates and/or your mother: May you + the above phrases.
For the whole world: May all and/or may we + the above phrases

3. I'm sorry, I love you, I forgive you, I thank you.

Simon, my ex-ex boyfriend the Hermit told me this one. You repeat it to yourself slash to your ego. Or to people who are driving you nuts. After two days of this meditation, Simon claimed he was cured. Simon jumped out of this world on January 4, 2015. He gave the earth all of his cells. By now his body has transformed into something entirely new. I was lucky to know him.

4. Look at yourself in the mirror and repeat, "I love you just the way you are," or some other version of this. You can use a full-length mirror or just look at your face in the circle of your cover-up's compact. Please refrain from this exercise if it feels oppressive. I first learned of this sort of thing while reading Louise Hayes' book, "You Can Heal Your Life" as I considered various options for healing toenail fungus. One of the first things Louise gets her clients to do is to stare at themselves in a compact mirror and whisper to their faces, "I Love You." Most people cannot do this without weeping. I believed Louise and did not bother trying for a solid eight years. Now it is 2017 and the approximate anniversary of when Jesus washed his apostles' feed. I have taken up painting my ugly toenails purple. And somehow I am able to stare at my face in the tiny compact mirror, and whisper, "I LOVE YOU, ERICA."

On Tuesday, April 11, while I was staring at my face, I plucked only one stray hair between my eyebrows.

Like Lena Dunham, as a child of the nineties, I suffer from odd eyebrow chunks, and arbitrary bald patches. There's me and Lena, once again. 

The last thing
I have to say
is about citrus. 

But the second last thing is about Holy Thursday
when the Catholics get together
and wash each other's feet.

When I was nineteen years old, I was a bit of a darling. And I signed up to live and work in a L'Arche home for people with intellectual disabilities. For two years, I attended some sort of Catholic function at least two times per week. Many of us have a deep aversion to anything Catholic. I get that. The homophobia, anti-abortion discourse, and priests raping children - these make for quite the buzz kills. And yet, in my two years of kicking around the Catholics, I found that this brand of Jesus people are some of my favourites. Especially the nuns. I met so many spectacular and generous and delightful nuns. These humble women embodied service more deeply than anything I'd ever seen.

Anyways, the first time I ever ended up at a Foot Washing Ceremony was rather astonishing. I felt shocked to discover that it wasn't a metaphor. We were actually gonna take our socks off.  Everyone washed someone else's feet and everyone's feet got washed.

Through the whole thing, the song they sang over and over again went,
"If I your Lord and Master, should wash, should wash your feet,
how much more must you, wash one another's too?"

I have often thought that as the baby boomers age, becoming one of those foot technicians who clips ingrown toenails, shaves off callouses and vacuums corns would almost certainly secure a solid income stream into this digital age, and beyond.

Now I will conclude with a short poem about citrus that was written on Monday, April 10, the Full Moon's Eve, and 2017's most beautiful day so far, on which I felt devastatingly oversized and rather weepy:

The world is in bloom.
I'm having a fat day.
I did not know
that worms do not
like citrus.
Once I brought a mason jar
of citrus
mixed with vodka
up the mountain.
Two minutes ago
I looked into the window
and saw white pieces
of citrus in my hair.

The End.
A holy hell of a time
to you.

Exuberant Bodhisattva on Facebook
Twitter: @mypelvicfloor
I Let Go

Bodhisattva Business Ventures:

Deep Cleans by Erica J. Schmidt (@deepcleanswitherica)
Montreal Hippie Threads (@mtlhippiethreads)
Instagram: montrealhippiethreads

Not That Kind of Girl 
We have no idea if the squirrels are happy/or/ if anyone is
The Lying Down Club

Tuesday, 11 April 2017

What I think about when I think about brand-named q-tips.

What I think about
when I think about
Brand Named Q-Tips.

Every time I clean out my ears with olive oil, I think of this training I did about how to take care
of someone with Alzeimer's. (In French they call training, formation, and I find this quite poetic.)
The training's presenter was a former nurse who made the commitment to live in a L'Arche home, I think in Trois-Rivières, where she shared her life and helped take care of people with intellectual disabilities. In her home lived a tiny woman in her fifties who had both Down Syndrome and Alzeimer's. Early Alzeimers is quite common for people with Down Syndrome, and for them being fifty or sixty is rather old.

The former nurse taught us about the best order for washing body parts. That is to say, feet, armpits and buttholes last, best case scenario, with many fresh wash cloths. As for Q-tips, these she did not recommend, brand-name or otherwise. Instead, she said you could stick a damp clean wash cloth inside the person's ear and gently faire la tour. Make the rounds.

I also remember her suggesting that you take the person you are caring for out for walks whenever you could. Some people need two extra arms on either side to help them balance. Others only need one. In any case, it is usually best to walk slowly.

"Ce n'est pas du cardio pour nous autres."
Not the cardio
for us. 

I never met the tiny woman with Alzeimers who lived in Trois-Rivières. Almost certainly by now she is dead.

But I can picture her, walking slowly, being beautiful, and not using Q-tips. 

What I think about
when I think about
Brand Named Q-Tips

The Drugstore Date
with my ex-love-of-my-life
The Boatman.

I invented Drugstore Dates in February of 2012. Drugstore dates involve going to the drugstore at any pre-determined hour, with your loved one, or by yourself if you're trying to master self-compassion and/or radical self-reliance. During the Drugstore Date, you can do romantic things such as take your own or your loved one's blood pressure. You might discuss your results with your loved one, or with the pharmacist. Try not to get to competitive about something that is always changing. After the blood pressure is over, take your time perusing each aisle. From podiatric health to Family Planning, each drug store aisle offers something potentially exciting. Be sure to make a stop in the row of greeting cards where you can read a festive and heartfelt message aloud, no matter what holiday it is or isn't. Almost always you will be able to find an obnoxious musical greeting card which will be thrilling and liberating to open in a public space.

No one should leave a Drugstore Date without making some sort of non-regrettable purchase that can serve as a thoughtful and non-regrettable gift, either for yourself or for the Loved One.

The greatest thing about the drugstore is that it abounds with items you won't regret purchasing. Examples are dandruff shampoo, a nail file, Grapefruit Perrier and Brand name Band-aids. In French they call band-aids, les pansements.

No one regrets buying any of these items. You will walk out of the drugstore with a full heart and absolutely no regrets.

On the very first Drugstore Date, the Boatman bought me some purple sparkly eye shadow. Maybe he also bought me some other contraption such as a nail file for my disgusting toenails. I know for sure, I bought him a large box of brand-name q-tips. I'm not sure if he stuck them in his ears. Definitely they were useful for applying cold sore ointment.

What I think about
when I think about
Brand Named Q-Tips

On Sunday, April 9, I saw a toddler lying back in his stroller and clutching a box of brand-name q-tips.

The fresh blue plastic-wrapped box,
his earnest clutching hands
evoked so much.
Gifted with brand-named q-tips so early in life,
this boy ,
I do not
intend to forget.

The End.

Thanks for reading.

Exuberant Bodhisattva on Facebook
Twitter: @mypelvicfloor
I Let Go

Bodhisattva Business Ventures:

Deep Cleans by Erica J. Schmidt (@deepcleanswitherica)
Montreal Hippie Threads (@mtlhippiethreads)
Instagram: montrealhippiethreads

The Drugstore Date
All the Lonely People, Rainbows, the Big Black Dog, and Sex

How I am violent, by Erica J. Schmidt

Tuesday, 4 April 2017

Mourning, Wailing, Yearning, Wake up

Wake up.

Vincent called me in September.
He sounded
quite sad
on the phone.

I thought,
"A sad therapist.
this will be easy."

I don't think
I have good
professional boundaries.
I'm also pretty sure
I want to be an artist.

What does it mean
to be an artist?

My goals in life are
long-term sources of intimacy,
long term sources of sex,
a strong mind,
a healed body.
What is a cervical orgasm?

Vincent's office
has no windows.
Hating myself is
part of my charm.

More therapists
than you'd imagine,
are actually
quite sad.
As they say,
this breaks my heart.
(Or maybe I
should become a therapist.)

I wouldn't mind being
a little bit famous
but I like
when life 
is simple.

For example,
I love you.
For example:
she weeps when
he enters her.

Mourning, wailing, yearning, wake up.
I really want people to see me.

My goals in life are
deep love for all my cells,
a cleared and clear and generous heart,

The government is always
running out of money.
After our last session
I cried in
the elevator.

All my life I've wished
I was tiny
and adorable.
Oh well.

I think I am tannée
of this eternal vow of poverty.
But I like
when life
is simple.

Last Saturday
I saw Vincent
on the corner
of Beaubien and Boyer Street.

I always wondered
what Vincent did on Saturdays.

He was walking with a small-sized woman
with curly hair.
I was listening to a podcast about orgasmic meditation
and considering how
the recent breakthroughs
in my life
rather tenuous.

Vincent winked and crossed the street.
I went
to the market
to buy apples.

The End.

My friend Jeff
invited me to his birthday party
I was quite pleased with how my outfit turned out.

Exuberant Bodhisattva on Facebook
Twitter: @mypelvicfloor
I Let Go

Bodhisattva Business Ventures:

Deep Cleans by Erica J. Schmidt (@deepcleanswitherica)
Montreal Hippie Threads (@mtlhippiethreads)
Instagram: montrealhippiethreads

The Permafrost is Melting in Siberia
I do not know how to fulfill my enormous potential
Hour of God on a Friday