Wednesday, August 24, 2016


I have to be careful in what I say I want to do. I need to actually want what I’m saying I want, not just talking to make noise. Because without my mentioning wherever or whatever it is again, Jim will go and make it happen, and if it wasn’t something I was actually interested in, I end up with a grand experience that I’m only marginally excited about yet he’s delighted to offer.

There are two factors at play here. First that Jim lives to make his people happy. He really is like that. My friend and I were talking the other night about how great my mom is, how she just serves and serves and gives and it seems to feed her. Jim is like that too. He’s a giver. He wants me happy. The other factor is that he’s in it for the experience. Let’s go do something new. Let’s try that. He’s always down for an adventure.

I love So You Think You Can Dance. Out of the blue he worked his connections to land us at a taping. One day I mentioned in passing that I’ve always wanted to go to Wait Wait...Don’t Tell Me! A couple months later, there we were in a San Francisco amphitheater, watching Peter Sagal and Bill Kurtis live. Adding the cherry, the next morning I found myself in a wharf diner in front of a pile of the prettiest fruit I’ve ever eaten, across the table from Bill Kurtis, listening to a discourse on grass-fed beef. (My life has its Dalí moments to be sure.)

Sometimes the fun things we do come by way of me going along on his business trips. He had a meeting in Traverse City, Michigan, back in June, and since it’s not convenient to get there and it’s, you know, Michigan, we decided I’d opt out this time. But our Hannah convinced him otherwise—she has to go!—because it’s beautiful or something like that. I’m so glad she sold us. The forests around that area are the prettiest ones I’ve ever seen. The couple days we had driving around finding tea and Meyer lemon vinegar and chocolate and darling houses and field after perfect field giving way to maple stands were worth whatever trouble it takes to get there.

For his part he loves having me along because I’m self sufficient. On that particular trip we assumed that with Über I could go and do as I pleased while he did work things. So our first morning there he went to his meetings in the hotel downstairs, and I picked a few yoga studios to investigate, packed my yoga bag, and opened my Über app to discover no cars nearby. Curious. We were in the biggest hotel in the area and there were no hovering drivers? Oh well. I went down to the lobby to catch a cab. No cabs. At the front desk they were confused by my confusion, which was quickly mounting to irritation. Why would they just have cabs waiting? Uh, so I can take one and get to yoga? I ended up taking the hotel’s shuttle to the airoort to rent a horse and buggy, or at least that’s what I was sure I was going to to end up with. Toyota Yaris. Same same.

At dinner that night Jim was a broken record of surprise and pride at the fact that I went and rented a car all by myself. Being the follow up act to a codependent first wife is some of the most fun I have. Surpassing that standard so thoroughly that I look like an effing superhero takes little more than getting out of bed and going to the grocery store solo. You think I’m kidding. I still think I’m kidding. He assures me I’m not. I take my car to get the oil changed and he looks at me like I up and grew horns. Wait. Maybe that’s because my car doesn’t have an engine. And it doesn’t have oil to change . . .

I kid. I kid. I never did that. But it really is simple stuff like that—booking a flight properly without help—that gets him seeing me as the World’s Smartest Woman. I don’t even have to employ my above-average intelligence to impress my husband. This can be a problem as it leads to intellectual atrophy which leads to the death of whatever self esteem I have left, but that’s a personal problem. I’m working through it.

Being able to go along on business trips is one of the reasons that I quit my job selling life-saving medications. (See what I did there?) In our case, it’s good for our relationship for us to spend time together, especially when we go out of town, so if our relationship is more important than me having a full-time job, then it made sense for me to make myself available for stuff like that in a way that keeping the job wasn’t allowing. (Also the job was becoming one of those things that made me a miserable, crazy bitch, so it was migrating from the asset column to liability.)

His job goes through phases where it requires travel. The places he goes are worth visiting. All places are, really. I can at least find somewhere to take yoga class. So I go along. And when he’s not in meetings we find places to explore, like a chocolate factory to tour, a waterfall to visit, and a fruit stand that only sells asparagus. What do I want with a bunch of asparagus? I wanted to eat a flat of strawberries while we drove to the next town, you fools. You’re a fruit stand! Sell fruit! My fruit. I don’t care what’s in season! I care what I want!

Because he likes to do things at the spur of the moment and I like to be where he is and—cautiously—try new stuff. I may wake up one morning with plans to take class that night but instead end up face to face with a giraffe. It’s not uncommon for me to find myself throwing things in a bag to run off to wherever one of his clients needs attention. I'll suddenly end up in San Diego (on that trip he pulled an entire key lime pie out of his suitcase when we got into our hotel room; a good story for another time) or a Giants game or ballet. My big first world problem is that I have to make sure that my wardrobe is diverse. Hey, let’s go to a Cirque show or two in Vegas tomorrow. Cocktail dress. Check. Let’s go to Yosemite. Hiking shoes. Check. The lake. Swimsuit and scowl. Check.

When he started working on tickets to Jimmy Fallon I asked, “You’re not, like, terminally ill are you?”

“Uh, no. Why?”

“We do so much stuff. Cool stuff. It’s like we’re trying to cram as much living as we can into the little time you have left.”

Some Sunday a month ago I asked what he wants to do for Thanksgiving. We don’t have the kids this year, so we aren’t tied to a traditional dinner. “Want to go see Nick and Mal?” he asked. Well, sure. They live in Denmark. So now there are tickets to Copenhagen in November.

“You’re not terminal?”


This last Friday the opportunity arose to go to Burning Man next week. “Want to?” he asked. “Hell yes,” I replied, “Let me me just make sure you still have those blue lamé shorts . . . But are you sure you’re—“

“No. I’m not terminal. I just like to have fun.

I know as well as anyone that things can—they will—change, fast, and life may not always look like this. So for now we do all the things and I marvel at how this can be someone’s reality. My reality. Weird.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016


A few months ago I tore a snippet out of Yoga Journal where the magazine asked prominent teachers in the Western yoga community if the typical 200-hour yoga teacher training is sufficient to make someone an instructor. Before even scanning the responses I exclaimed, “No!” RYT-200 (Registered Yoga Teacher) is my certification level and I’ve never felt like that first rung—the one most widely maintained throughout the yoga teaching community—should be considered enough to let a person call themselves a yoga teacher. When I do (and I try all sorts of semantic backflips to avoid it whenever possible) I feel like a fraud.

I’ve always been a stickler for credentials, and while I’ve got the common credentials—call it the yoga teaching Associates degree—I’ll feel like a hack until I get at least one of two things: the next notable level up, a 500-hour certification, or loads more experience. The 500 takes time, and I’ve got that underway, but I don’t care how much classroom training you’ve got if you don’t have the experience. Unfortunately the only way to accumulate experience teaching is to teach. Teach real people. Sorry students, I’m learning to get good at teaching you by doing it.

There are times when I’m teaching and I think, Why in the world are you people listening to me? I have no idea what I’m talking about. Which isn’t true. I know stuff. I’ve become as meticulous a student as ever hits the mat. I research all the garbage that comes out of my mouth. I’m conscientious about giving safe, supportive instruction. But for the impact 12 years of yoga has had on my body, good and maybe not so good, and the weight it has in my life, I take seriously the job of teaching it, no matter where the class or how many students. I can’t know—usually the practitioner won’t even know—if that class could be the tipping-point. Don’t blow it, Megan. I’ve had teachers who don’t know anatomy enough to understand that what's falling out of their mouths is bullshit and detrimental. I’ve had teachers give me bad verbal and hands-on adjustments that exacerbated injury. I feel like it takes so much more than what I have in order to be qualified to be entrusted with a room of bodies and minds ready for overhaul. But there I am, the little in leggings cueing you into Vira II again.

I’ve struggled with the shift from full-time drug rep and part-time designer to stay-at-home wife, sporadic designer, and yoga teacher. Leaving one set of daily activities for the other was the easiest, most seamless thing I’ve ever done; it’s been the fact of change in income that’s rattled me. Wise or not, our society uses annual spoils as a way to mark one’s level of professional achievement, and because I exceeded the average I bought into it. (If I’m not surpassing a particular standard I discount its relevance and therefore maintain success. Redefine the win, Dear Reader.)

According to the U.S. census I was doing okay for myself. When in 2015 I left my pharmaceutical career of 10 years, graphic design money aside, I was pulling in 175% of the median household income. Not too shabby. I went from a single W-2 that said I made $97,000 to a handful of 1099s that put my annual fiscal contribution closer to $7,000. The math done for you: when I quit my job pedaling insulin to instead teach some yoga I took a $90,000 pay cut. Thus with my estimation of self-worth tied loosely to how much money I was making, I’ve loosely come to think of myself as worthless.

Turns out that pisses Jim off.

On a drive home from dinner last week I started whining about how since my “career” shift I have no value (fiscally speaking; though not suffering specifics I went with all-encompassing) my husband’s response was to a little bit lose his shit.

“Stop saying you don’t add any value. I’m sick of hearing that. I’m proud of you.

“I teach yoga.”

“Yeah. I’m proud of what you do.”

“I make no money. I’m worthless.”

“When you say that it makes me think you’re unhappy.”

“I’m not unhappy. I just have no financial value.”

“So what?”

Let’s just sum up the whole conversation and problem itself by saying that I might have erred in tying up self-worth with income. Doing that now leaves me inconsequential. When I talk to a new student before class I tell them that if a posture hurts during class, Hey, stop doing it and we’ll figure out something else. Maybe obey my own rule?

Jim’s end point landed at if you’re unhappy—I’m actually not—you’re welcome to go back to work if you’d like—oh, I do not—but you oughta know that you have huge value to me—aw—and to your students—aw . . . wait, really?

It goes back to that 200-hour certificate being puny. I’m a new teacher. I’ve been teaching for a year and a half now. How can I possibly provide any instruction worth following and coming back to when my training was so little and my experience not much to speak of?

The only answer that works for me is the 3,500 hours I’ve spent taking yoga classes. That’s what I have to offer—my experience as a student. The 200 hours of teacher training gave me the tools to translate that experience to classes that I hope I hope I hope are useful. I have experience with yoga injury, success in postures, shifts in my practice, catering to my individual anatomy, curbing my ego, stepping back from the practice, new understanding of what my practice means to me, stretch, strength, the task of balancing the two, learning how yoga fits in my life, how it affects my life, how that changes over time, knee problems, sacroiliac issues, shoulder trauma, reshaping my down-dog, and with being a longtime, attentive, often-obsessive yoga student.

Now, at this rate, according to the 10,000 hours-to-mastery rule from Malcolm Gladwell's Outliers, I’ve only got 25 more years of taking yoga classes until I’m an expert student and 45 more years of teaching until I’m a master instructor. So come take my class when I’m 79. It’ll be siiick.

My teaching style isn’t what’s common in a vinyasa class. It’s irreverent. Which maybe isn’t the best idea when it comes to yoga. (Look at me, just bursting with confidence today.) But I see it like this, if a student has a good time in a class they’re more likely to come back, to build a practice over time, to go to more classes and other teachers, and to find value in time on the mat. So while perpetually tugging the class back to breath, I lean toward partnering the physical with the funny.

I believe that you need more than one reason to come to the mat. Maybe it’s meditation. Maybe it’s that you have a good time. That you dig being upside down. That you have new yoga gear or like seeing your yoga friends. I don’t care what brings you to the mat. I care that you come. And relying on one reason alone—well, it’s just what I do on Wednesday afternoons—often isn’t enough for long-term attention. What brought you there becomes irrelevant as the practice seeps in. You get stuff on the mat. Maybe not what you thought you wanted but instead what you needed. For that you have to show up.

My role as the girl in the front of the room is to try to give you as many reasons to keep showing up as I can. So using the assets I come by naturally, I augment with play; we have fun in class—safe fun, really, really safe fun—so that that one class can contribute to creating a personal conviction that yoga is something worth doing.

Whenever I go to the dentist I always apologize for my teeth. Which are straight, white, and cavity-free. This last time I bashfully admitted that while I usually floss at least five days a week, lately it’s only been, like—gasp—two. I’m sorry my mouth is so gross. The hygienist replied, “It’s always the ones that fret and apologize that have nothing to worry about. They’re the ones with good care that don’t realize that their teeth are great. Your hygiene is perfect. It’s the people who don’t care that have problems. You wouldn’t believe some of the stuff I see.” (Insert some histrionic gagging here. Dentists. Gynecologists. Mouths. Lady Business. The people that choose to deal with that stuff as their bread and butter are more than a few slices shy of a loaf.)

I’d like to think that it works the same way with yoga teaching. It’s the ones that go into it too quickly and with overconfidence that aren’t doing a good job and the ones that agonize and apologize and are sure they’re a disaster that don’t realize that they actually don’t have anything to worry about. Let it be that. Let it be that so that I can let my head move on from certainty that I suck and fear that I’m destroying the practices entrusted to me to working on my goal of swearing less while teaching yoga. Not kicking the cussing altogether, you understand, just ratcheting back that shit.

Friday, August 12, 2016


Two important things happened in 1982. Yes, yes Tylenol laced with cyanide killed people. Think smaller and less national newsworthy. Number one: Jim got his first car, an International Scout. And the second: I was born. While he was learning to drive, I was learning to eat. When he was graduating from high school I was graduating to a toddler bed.

I am 34 years old and on Saturday my husband turned 50. He looks great. He feels great. He’s never taken better care of himself. So while a tucked away bit of me was a titch uneasy about the gist of this milestone birthday, it’s actually not a thing.

I know that I’m a significant reason he does the eating right and exercising stuff. When I’m his age he will be today’s social security age. When I’m today’s social security age he will be 80. Because men tend to knock off earlier than women and because he’s got 16 years on me, before we got married I had to sit myself down and come to terms with the idea that if we signed on there'd be a good chance I’d spend the last 20 years of my life alone.

Bummer concept though it is, he’s worth it.

When my divorce was certain it took my dad a hot second to start working on my next spouse. I wasn’t interested. A decade of experience with the first one said they were just a needy and dramatic hassle. Jim—not needy or dramatic—opened my mind.

Once Jim and I started to spend time together it wasn’t long before I decided to make him mine. Age was the first hurdle. It didn’t stall me even slightly, but I knew that in his ideas about remarriage he was only thinking within his own age group. He needed prodding to look the next decade down.

One night after I’d come over for some reason or another we were sitting in the front room downstairs that’s now decorated with the art I chose and bright colors I like (and Benjamin has told me he prefers to the way the house used to be decorated) we were talking about The Topic. The others. The affair. The lies. The divorce. The thing that sat us in the same room in the first place and was destroying his children.

“The age difference baffles me,” I told him. Bump. “She’s eight years older than he is. It’s the wrong direction. You don’t graduate from a younger woman to an older woman . . . ” He nodded agreement. Set. “But I think it’s totally okay for a man to go for someone much younger.” He looked at me, his face reading the realization of what I’d just suggested. Spike.

He recalls that conversation as the moment when it hit him that Sister Romo was into him. That she was an option. Before that he thought of me more like a little sister. A month earlier he had offered to cut me a Christmas tree when he was out cutting theirs. But why? Because if one of his sisters had been newly divorced and away from family he’d hope that someone else would take care of them like that. He was being the good guy that he can’t help but be. It’s that good guy that obliviously reeled me in. Hey, wait . . . There’s a fish on this line! I don’t think I even baited the hook . . . Aw. All you had to do to bait the hook is be you, handsome James.

Since 50 is the most standout birthday left (‘cept his 100th, he reminds me) I wanted Jim’s to be special. So I orchestrated a 50-days-to-50 celebration. Every day for the 50 days leading up to his birthday he’d get present—a trinket, a note, a something. I recruited his closest people, interspersed silly whatnot betwixt the meaningful gifts so as to not overwhelm the boy, and kept tissues handy. They were necessary. Katelynn found a recording of his dad talking about the day they adopted Jim. For nine-days-to-50 Josie wrote nine reasons he’s the best dad. Traci found a journal entry Brandon wrote about a day he and Jim spent together with their kids. My mom sent Spikeball and a letter about how grateful she is that he’s part of our family. Turning 50 turned out to be a great reason to make it loud and clear how much my husband’s loved. He merits all of it.

One card from a friend talked about how much he enjoys watching Jim support all his people. That’s it. That’s the thing that makes Jim unlike other guys. His life is structured to support us all. His employees. His family. His friends. He wants all of us content and spends his time deploying resources to make it so.

So what I was barely walking when he graduated high school? When your health is a priority and your mental age is about 14, age is just a number. So what I landed him at 46 and missed so many earlier years? I’ll take whatever time I can get.

Happy Birthday, baby. You were a choice. The best one I ever made.