Sunday, June 1, 2014

from the Cackling Jackal Vault


Dear Substitute Pilates Instructor, (1)

Tell me what to do with my legs, arms, hands, feet, back and butt. Tell me to lift my toes, wrap my thigh muscles, bend my elbows. Tell me to look forward. Tell me to stop shrugging my shoulders. You're the boss. I submit.

But don't tell me to smile. That's the one muscle I get to fully to decide what to do with. I'm concentrating on all my various parts. As a busy mom, I have not a second to spare on a smile. I have something called a "powerhouse" that I'm supposed to be engaging. Times like these, I must not be distracted with frivolities. (2)

And for that matter, where does anyone get off telling anyone else to smile? Nothing makes me want to stick a shank in some guy's gut faster than when a random stranger approaches and tells me to smile. Fuck you. What's next, telling me what to do with my uterus? (3)


My smile is my domain. My smile is sincere and true. Or I'm trying to trick you into being at ease and liking me. But that's my call. I decide when I'm false. You decide when I half-assed my elephant and whether or not I need to do it again.

Little Ms. Frowny Pants with the Tight Hamstrings (4)


(1) Eventually I returned to yoga. Pilates was too much like going to the gym. Loud and harsh. Not for me.

(2) Yoga instructors seem to want me to smile too, although at least they don't say "smile." Sometimes they ask me if I'm OK. Just shut up and teach. I'll let you know if I got a problem I care to share with the class.

(3) I feel even stronger about this now than I did back 2008. Seriously. Unless you're snapping my picture, don't ever tell me to smile. Actually, even if you're taking my photograph, don't tell me to smile. Just don't do it.

(4) Goddamn hamstrings.

1 comment:

  1. Reb, thank you very much for that laugh! My yoga instructor (thank goodness) does not ask for us to smile. I couldn't anyway, because I also have tight hamstrings, and shoulders (and, I'm too busy trying to not fall on my ass). I have been asked to be part of a virtual blog tour and while I usually eschew these things--it sounded like fun, and I get to invite other people to join in...would you be interested? I promise I'm not a spammer (shudder!) my blog is at and my email is, you can check me out and let me know.