I was about 9 years old. Up until then I didn’t really have any sort of idea that I was “me”. It was a rather abrupt shock to my system because up until that point I just did regular “kid” stuff.
My best friend was dying, my parents were getting divorced, and I was getting high for the first time. I hated myself instantaneously. It was a vicious thing, this hate. I’ve always been a seeker, from a very young age, so even then I was wondering where this was coming from. I saw friends having fun, smiling. I saw other families doing fun things together, being happy, and for the life of me I couldn’t figure out what I could do to get that. My best friend and her family were very religious and me and my family were….so very not. I went to church camp with Lorie and had my first taste of some sort of peace, but it didn’t stick.
Fast forward to my teens, when the self hatred was becoming an art form; what other ways could I harm myself and self destruct? Hmm, lets try this. And then that. How bout this mixture together? The ever elusive feeling that I just didn’t fit in, anywhere, persisted. I observed human behavior of my peers and siblings and tried to be like them, thinking that might solve the issue. I wore the right clothes, bought the right shoes, curled my hair in just that way, tried not to be as smart, intuitive and psychic as I am. Still, I wasn’t ok.
You really don’t need to hear all the details. Just use your imagination. Add lots of drugs and alcohol, mayhem, bars, lying, cheating, deceiving, pretending, despair, moments of clarity, jail, CPS, pain, regret, sobriety. Oops. Then back out again. Then back in. Then out. Then in. Then finally, a sobriety that took hold. Recovery is not about stopping the drug. It’s about addressing the “ism” that makes you run in the first place. That is why I totally stand behind my belief that yoga can be used addictively, it just looks prettier and can be called things like “ultra dedicated and disciplined”. I stand behind my claim that running to my mat can be just the same as running to a drug, if I am seeking to escape. This is where my yoga practice gets reallllllllly good, because I can’t bullshit myself anymore. Or rather, I choose not to.
I’ve observed and felt alot of competition in the yoga world. I never thought I would teach the practice. There are lots of opinions of what is “right” to teach and what is “pure” to teach. Many definitely have had opinion with how I teach. But the thing is, if I try to teach in any other way than who I authentically am, then I am just being a trained parrot. I would be reverting back to that person who would do anything to make you like me more. Happily, that ain’t me anymore, mofo. I’m pretty cool with who I am now, most days.
Here is the thing: I would rather be disliked for being who I authentically am than to be liked for being someone who I am not.
I watch a few of my friends and students feel captured in the net of fearing what others will think of them. I want to say to them: “What is the worst thing that could happen”?
Walk right into that space. There is freedom on the other side of it.