Here I am! The real ME!
After the birth of my son over 4 years ago, something shifted for me. This was something I’d desperately wanted for so long…it was supposed to be the most amazing time of my life, yet I knew and felt that something was very wrong and I was ashamed to admit or acknowledge it. Despite the internal struggle and daily turmoil, I continued to go to yoga regularly to get some exercise and frankly just get out of the house. When I look back, I was trying to ignore what was actually happening and just blow through life. Oh, but I had to make sure to do it with a smile on my face.
My ‘Aha’ moment happened at Sherry’s Thanksgiving class. Nearing the end of class, we had to face each person in the class and look into their eyes for a good 30 seconds. I thought it was stupid and creepy, but sure, I could do it. Just smile at each person and I’d get through it. This worked for a while but then the hard part came along; we were asked to do it, but no smiling was allowed; be still and let them see you, the real you. This man stood in front of me and I don’t know who he was, but I remember he had the kindest eyes. So, we stood face to face and as soon as I was truly still and stopped smiling, it was like my mask came off. Then I started to cry, ugly cry. Actually, I cried so hard I had to leave class. I continued crying in the car, in the shower and in my bed that night. After a sleepless night filled with panic attacks, I called my Mom and said the 3 hardest words “I’m not ok.”
Today, I am ok. I’m actually better than ok, I’m really happy! Of course, life’s not always great, but I’m always grateful. Yoga reminds me to be thankful and honest on a daily basis. I now know that it’s ok to admit if things aren’t good; I just can’t unpack my bags and live in that sad space forever. I accept that I’m not my mistakes. Letting go of the past and asking for help is a sign of strength and does not make me weak.
Yoga has given me the tools not only to help myself and navigate through life’s confusing shit, but to help the amazing little people that I teach every day as an elementary teacher. Some of the students who I’ve taught are struggling with things I can’t even comprehend. My hope is that I can give them some of the tools that have helped me and to always do it with compassion and without judgment.
When I teach yoga, the same principles apply. I want my students to know that it’s ok to come as you are and to make mistakes along the way. I also want to push my students to places they didn’t know they could go, because everyone is so much stronger than they think.
I am grateful. I am strong. I am happy. I am flawed. I am doing great.