I'm about to hate myself for the next 30 days / by vanessa

I am having a total and complete panic spiral right now. The kind where your chest actually feels tight but Christ, you’re too not male for a heart attack, and your thoughts spin furiously and you're maybe also shivering although who knows because what day is it anyway? The moments blur. In the last fifteen minutes since accepting this challenge, I have checked Facebook eight times, opened the PowerPoint presentation I’ve been consciously ignoring, FaceTimed with my tiny everything, and have started a list of Why I’m The Biggest Dumbass, Ever.

The source of my duress dates back about four years to the time when my besties and I set out to create a creative refuge for the spiritually disenfranchised called Recovering Yogi. At the time, the yoga world was rife with (more) panderers and sycophants, long on meaningless adages and flowery accolades thrown at anyone who could pack a sweaty room. We were refugees from that world ourselves, three former yoga teachers, bent on nurturing an alternative voice.

In our newness we had weekly Skype calls discussing everything from editorial decisions to inventory counts for our fledgling tshirt line. We held strategy sessions over a weekend at the Ace. We had a goddamned punk rock fashion shoot for godsakes. Did you know we are in Wikipedia? Some college student can cite us.

At first our stories came from friends, family and any unsuspecting co-worker who could be persuaded with a cheap bottle of tequila in return for a few hundred words on why yoga teachers are like hookers. We were fortunate in Joslyn’s early relationship with Elephant Journal to leverage the work she had written there, and to be able to reach a much wider audience than we would have had otherwise. And we, Joslyn, Leslie and I, took turns writing our own missives for the site.

We were passionate.

Along the way we attracted some pretty great writers and maybe a crazy or two. Owing to the former, Kirk Hensler wrote for us in those early days, penning first about being new to yoga. I remember thinking that his brazen style--the kid literally just wrote what he thought--might be offensive to women who are over being objectified for wearing perfectly-fitted Luon. But Kirk is one of those guys who pulls off offensive in a way that makes you say thank you and buy him dinner afterwards. He followed up his first post with this on point poster, which became shared widely across the industry.

Since those early days, I’ve followed Kirk’s writing through his own site, Kale & Cigarettes, and have admired his crisp and immediate honesty. He writes with enviable ease. It is no small endeavor to share the logistics of cross-continent video date sex with the Internet. I have wondered what his mom’s friends say to her.

But good writing comes at a price, and that price is discipline and vulnerability. Kirk has both in spades, and that is, I suppose, why he put this challenge out there. So when Joslyn asked me to join her in Kirk’s 500-words-for-30-days experiment, I instinctively said yes! before my brain had a chance to remind me that I haven’t written in two years and also? I’ve never made a good decision after 14 hours at work. Not once.

And that’s perfect, because I'm sitting here in a hotel room in Nashville, TN, about to hit Publish. In the two hours that have passed since I first started typing, my pulse has softened, and exhaustion has given way to not giving a fuck--the lesser known mother of invention.