The Mean Pinks in Brooklyn

My eyes hovered above the mountain of my knees as I shyly watched as Yuki gripped the nail polish in her hand like a scalpel and meticulously swathed pastel purple on my squared and buffed toe nails. I had abandoned my iPhone on the cushion next to me. I had ignored the pile of fashion magazines perched on the table. I sat there and twiddled my thumbs. I felt restless and dazed – a combination of feelings that I call “The Mean Pinks”. This was my day off. I had nothing to do, per se, other than relax and not be ON. No patient notes. No surgical cases. No clinic. No medical workshops. It was just me…getting a pedicure…in Brooklyn…on a beautiful sunny Spring day.

I paused and reflected on the nature of these feelings: is my worth solely determined by what I do? What value can I extract from being rather than doing?

Days off are usually a struggle for me. Over the years, I’ve realized that I derive a lot of my identity and ego from being productive in my career, and so when I have off days, I feel a bit lost. I find that all the time on my hands is stressful. I like filling up my days with things to do. And instead of spiraling into an anxious hurricane of a mess, I paused and reflected on the nature of these feelings: is my worth solely determined by what I do? What value can I extract from being rather than doing? What would happen if I turned off? What can I learn from being instead?

But then again, I thought, maybe that’s just the point: it’s not supposed to be easy. That’s why I call these feelings the Mean Pinks. They’re like the cuddly Care Bears gone bad, all the sweetness turned sour.

This is me actually trying to practice all the stuff I talk about and do in yoga class: pausing, meditating, relaxing and seeing where this space takes me. And it’s absolutely NOT easy. But then again, I thought, maybe that’s just the point: it’s not supposed to be easy. That’s why I call these feelings the Mean Pinks. They’re like the cuddly Care Bears gone bad, all the sweetness turned sour. It’s supposed to be acerbic and unpleasant. It’s supposed to suck. And that’s exactly where I was today: just being in this uncomfortable psychological space of grappling with my ego about its reliance on needing to do, do, do.

In the meantime, I found that I had wandered into a beautiful street. This will be a good distraction, I thought, and I picked my camera to capture the beauty of what I saw. I tried to see with new eyes. I willed myself to wonder and find wonder in all the places and spaces that I consider ordinary.

Here is the result:



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