fried chicken, french toast, slt + great girlfriends

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“None of us can help the things life has done to us. They’re done before you realize it, and once they’re done they make you do other things until at last everything comes between you and what you’d like to be, and you’ve lost your true self forever.” ― Eugene O’Neill, Long Day’s Journey Into Night

Sometimes the hardest journeys we take measure the shortest of distances. We need not travel across an ocean to lose ourselves; we’re capable of doing that in the confines of our living room. We’re can lose our way walking down the most familiar of streets. And you say to yourself, how is that I’ve navigated this street, know every inch of it — from the sidewalk to the pavement to the grass that grows next to my feet — and now I need a compass, a map and seeing glasses to make my way home? Fear settles in, cradles you, and you start to wonder if vertigo is a constant state. When, you ask, will I be able to find my way home?

Then I had a thought. What if getting lost wasn’t such a bad thing? What if it was your heart quietly nudging you along a new path? What if it was your mind telling you that everything you know has brought you to this point, but now there’s a whole new terrain worth navigating, and you have a choice to leap or keeping circling the familiar, run only to stand still. It’s the difference between being a phoenix or a crow — rising anew or feasting on the remains of things.

I had a tough week: a few projects I’d banked on before I left for Dublin fell through, a few friends I’d invited to my housewarming party suddenly went M.I.A., I received a staggering tax bill, and nothing seemed to fit. Instead of skirting this sorrow, I breathed through it, and hurtled into it so hard that I hoped my movement through this state of entropy would propel me to the other side. Suddenly, I think of physics: force = mass x acceleration, and this puts me to thinking that maybe it’s easier to move through sadness if you have another body helping you push your way through.

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My friend Meg is this great, shining light. When I picture her, I always see her smiling. Even when she’s going through the most difficult of times, she’s somehow always laughing. So I spent the day with her, first at SLT, and then we proceeded to eat the enitre contents of the menu {namely, everything brown and fried} at Montmartre.

I detailed my initial mixed experience at SLT’s Soho location, and a second, more triumphant experience, before I left for Dublin. My Twitter ramblings piqued my friend Meg’s interest, and we booked a class at SLT’s Midtown location in hopes of getting punched in the face by a megaformer machine.

To say that we loved our class would be an understatement. Unlike the Soho location, where the elevator doors open to a class in progress, the midtown space is infinitely larger and contains a small waiting area that doesn’t make someone feel as if they’re interrupting a private conversation. Although Meg has practiced Pilates pretty extensively, the megaformer and the coordination of movements, was a completely new experience for her, and our instructor Amanda delivered a deft, detailed overview of the mechanics of the megaformer and constantly paid attention to Meg’s form in class. The class itself was intense {we started an arm and lunge sequence with the pulleys that had me drenched in sweat within the FIRST FIVE MINUTES OF CLASS. From planks to pikes to squats and inner thigh splits on a moving carriage to donkey kicks and elevator/escalator lunges to mountain climbers, Meg and I endured fifty minutes of non-stop movement.

I’ve said this before, but it bears an emphatic repeating: THE MEGAFORMER HAS CHANGED MY LIFE. Never before have I challenged my sense of balance, coordination and strength as I’ve had on this machine. You can practically hear your muscle fibers weeping as you execute movements in excruciatingly meticulous, slow detail. There is no escaping your body on this machine, and although I nearly wanted to burn down my closet this week because none of the dresses I wanted to wear fit, I’m reminded of the back + glute muscles that have formed as a result of work on this machine.

Meg + I left, spent, and threw ourselves into a taxi downtown. During the ride we already felt our muscles getting sore, and we agreed that SLT rocked the casbah. If only the classes weren’t $40 a pop {heaves sigh}.

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After a brief wait, we made our way into a cozy booth at Montmartre, where we feasted on fried chicken on top of French toast smothered in bacon maple syrup and a burger that made us weep. Not only was our meal perfection, the service and ambiance were warm, inviting, and you felt as if you’d been momentarily transported to Paris. However, our aching bodies swiftly drove us out of our reverie.

It felt good to have a friend laugh with me as we’re doing donkey kicks on a moving carriage, and it felt damn good to laugh through the nonsense that was my week, knowing that I’m slowly coming out on the other side.

Here’s the thing. I don’t mind being lost — I just wish I knew what was the other side. Perhaps this is the journey and I’m not quite there yet, so I do the maths, carry my maps, and lean on my friends along the way.

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