Rolling Out the Mat

How Yoga With Adriene Changed My Life

Photo by Polina Tankilevitch on Pexels.com

“No judgment, no frills, no body shaming. Just a welcome mat on which to plant my barking dogs.”

It was October of 2019 and I was reading A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness, the first installment of the All Souls Trilogy. There’s a particular scene in the book when Matthew (vampire) invites Diana (witch), a yoga aficionado (and professional rower and alchemical historian and skinny blonde…groan) to a late night yoga session with a room full of other witches, vampires and daemons. It was a bit tedious, with a lot of subtextual dialogue in between descriptions of yoga poses with far too much detail. After the class, Matthew steamily tells Diana something about her being able to “twist your body into all sorts of shapes.” I don’t know why, but that stuck with me. I was suddenly jealous of this character (not super dimensional, I might add) in this just okay fantasy series. Why does Diana Bishop get to have it all? She has looks, smarts, witty comebacks to Matthew’s advances, AND can seamlessly align herself into a sideways fucking headstand? What CAN’T this bitch do, really? (I promise, I’m going somewhere with this.)

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Future Star

Reflections on Pipe Dreams and Self-Obsession

“You’ll never reach the center of an only child’s Tootsie Pop, the layers of narcissism run so deep.”

The hankering for fame like no other started as early as I can remember. I was an only child, so the center of attention simply by default, and I thrived most in climates where I was the focal point of the room. By four or five, I was already destined to be a Rockette at best, a groupie at worst, always discovered by my parents moving wildly in the center of some dance floor filled with drunk adults.

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Unattainable

As featured on Ephemeral Elegies

My father stood beside the wilted orange tiger lilies
on the side of our house. So small and fragile
compared to the grand spectacle in the sky.
A meteor shower, a celestial trajectory of cosmic
debris. Thousands, bright and fast, cascaded
from the infinite galaxy to Earth.
Earth, where my father and I stood, awestruck.
I squinted to take it all in, despite my poor vision.
“You’ll never see this again in your lifetime,” he said.
His voice was ominous, echoing off the siding.

I fought to find the features of his face in the dark, grasping
the unattainable, like catching a shooting star in a jar for keepsake.


© 2020 Andrea Festa

Omniscience

“So the Greeks won’t kill.”
That was the answer,
scribbled in black

on a piece of parchment
unfurled at the foot
of my bed. A cryptic

message from some
omnipotent power
whom I prayed to

asking the reason for an
out of body experience,
an astral projection.

Mystic transcendence
to realms inside drywall
for months on end.

I should modify the prayer
to better suit my beliefs,
Metaphysics over the Messiah,

if you will. So forgive me
father, for I have sinned.
It has been twenty years

since my last confession.
I accuse myself
of many a mortal sin.

In the name of the Father,
the Son,
and the Holy Spirit–

Of deep sleep and rapid
eye movement.
Murmuring vibration.

In the name of keen
awareness and a third eye.
Being naked in the sheets.

Of air molecules that hang
fuzzy and champagne
golden from the ceiling.

In the name of moon walking
over kitchen linoleum,
bouncing and hovering

through curtains,
through glass,
through brick city walls.

In the name of plunging
into Caribbean depths.
Ferocious eels, slick,

calling. In the name of
not knowing my location
in the universe,

which plane of existence
I stand on. In the name of
a fragile spirit

attached by fibrous
airwaves to my skin,
frightened of never returning.

In the name of vicious
mattress thrashing and trying
to harness the soul back to body

Praise be to God, or something like it.

Amen.


© 2020 Andrea Festa

Naples

“Naples is just like New York City, in that it offers no grace period to adjust…”

Naples, Italy: May 2-3 & 12-13, 2019

Ask anyone and they would tell you that cities like Rome, Florence, and Venice are, hands down, bucket list items. You gotta see the canals! The Sistine Chapel! The statue of David! they would echo like that nasally woman in Seinfeld (“You gotta see the baby!”) For me, it’s Naples.

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Atrani

“…even birds skittering for morsels on the ground are moving too fast for the slumbering pace of Atrani’s daily agenda.”

Atrani, Italy: May 3-7, 2019

At the foot of Piazza Umberto lies a scallop shell white church dating back to the 10th century, unassuming curb appeal compared to the other gaudy, baroque-era cathedrals in Italy. A sign outside warns of a local legend that it’s bad luck for newlyweds to walk hand-in-hand down its steps post-nuptials, lest you bring ill-will upon your marriage and curse yourself for a rocky road ahead of early divorce and untimely death.

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Amalfi

“…the beauty that is the battle of duplicitous Amalfi, old and new, natural and man-made, if you just look close enough.”

Amalfi, Italy: May 3-7, 2019

Amalfi was the thing of dreams if you looked past the flash: plump, bright yellow lemons in baskets beckoning my insatiably curious, grubby American hands.

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Salerno

“…roaming these quiet, serious streets felt an awful lot like walking through Philadelphia (give or take a couple centuries).”

Salerno, Italy: May 7-8, 2019

American Food & Drink is one of the many quirky shops you’ll find in Salerno’s old quarters.

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Bari

“A city as exciting and cultural and historic and artistic as this…it’s meant to be earned.”

Bari, Italy: May 9-11, 2019

Adriatic waters calmly splash against the ritzy yachts in the harbor. Preteens scheme in the plaza, wreaking havoc outside an ongoing mass, “bicicletas!” at their hips. A chorus line of soaring palm trees separates the new town from the old. Impregnable stone walls as ancient as dirt protect the cathedral of San Nicola from the revelers convening at bar-hop row. Old women use their thumbprints to meticulously form individual orecchiette, lay them out to dry on folding tables outside their homes. The business district of banks and office buildings makes way for a wide esplanade of high end fashion stores and expensive steakhouses. Beggars roam the streets, boldly approach outdoor diners, gently place roses on tables in exchange for some coin. Potbellied men bake their epidermises in Speedos at Bread & Tomato Beach (Pane & Pomodoro to locals).  This is Bari, pronounced ‘Bah-di’, and it was, without a doubt, my favorite part of Italy.

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