Taking a Leap

One of my best friends and I have been discussing how terrified we are to “put ourselves out there.”  I think that this is something that we all struggle with in different areas of our life.

Even from the very beginning of my existence I have avoided putting myself out there.  I truly believe that I was terrified to leave the comfort and safety of my mother’s womb.  I was nearly a month overdue.  Even as my skin was becoming waxy from the lack of amniotic fluid and the space grew too small for my body, I resisted emerging.

My pattern continued, as a child I was painfully shy.  I wouldn’t even speak in front of my grandparents, aunts, uncles, etc.   They probably thought I was a mute or had a learning disability, but really I was terrified of speaking up, to let my voice be heard.  I would just give a barely visible nod of yes or no.

In high school it continued, I would never raise my hand in class and I walked the halls trying be invisible.  I was a complete introvert until I started college.  Finally, I vowed to speak up and stand up for myself.  I found the courage to raise my hand and to voice my opinion, even if my voice felt small and unfamiliar.  It comes as no surprise that during this time I finally decided to end an abusive relationship that I had clung to for three years.  I had finally found a little shadow version of my voice.  I was still terrified when I raised my hand, but I knew I needed to break out of my shell.

After college I still clung to what felt safe.  Even though I had earned a degree, I stayed in a fast food job for nearly five years, because it was what I was used to.  Again, I was terrified of going somewhere new and stayed at a job where I was far underpaid and under-appreciated.  The cycle goes on and on.

Coming into the present, I am now pursuing my dream of teaching yoga.  I did the work.  I even teach several classes a week.  I had to find the nerve to speak up in class and it sometimes still makes me break out in a sweat and I hear my voice cracking at times.  In order to really make my dream happen I have had to grow a lot.  Every time I teach a class I am standing up to that vulnerable feeling, finding my shaking voice and raising it for all to hear.  On a side note, earlier this year I even performed a monologue, on stage, for the Vagina Monologues.  Of course, I was terrified, but I felt incredible afterwards.  The me from just five years ago, wouldn’t have believed it was even possible.

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Today, I know that I need to promote myself.  I need to get a little attention to let my fantasy become a reality.  It’s always the same questions that plague my mind anytime I think about getting my name out there:

What if they don’t like me?

What if I’m not good enough?

Does anyone even care about my opinion?

Do I even matter?

I believe that what it comes down to is this:  At the end of your time on earth, will you look back and wish you had done it?   Opening up to possibilities can be terrifying.  Think back to the first time you fell in love.   Wasn’t it thrilling and heart wrenching at the same time?  The walls that you put up to protect yourself drop away and the soft, fleshy inside of your heart is exposed.  Eventually, your heart may get broken, but it heals.  It’ incredible!   Your heart can heal over and over again.  In fact, it has an endless ability to regenerate.  What keeps your heart going is that you find the strength to never give up.  You must demand that you never give up on your dreams, your friends, your family, or your ability to love endlessly.

Sometimes you just need a friend to hold your hand, or to give you a swift kick, and say “you can do this.  I know you can.”  So, I am telling you now.

You can do this.

I can do this.

Jealousy Rears It’s Ugly Head

Ironic, because it’s usually someone pretty that makes it come out.

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I am not immune to jealousy.  Some superpowered people seem to be immune to it, but I doubt that’s the truth.  I have even let jealousy and lack of trust destroy a good relationship.  

 

We could be going along one day, happy as can be, feeling confident and suddenly something snaps.

If you find yourself becoming jealous of someone, pick them apart. Not in the way you think.  Pick out the things that you think they have that are greater than what you possess.  Is it their age, beauty, body, success?  People are constantly mirroring back to us what we see in ourselves, or what we lack.

So, what is it?  What are you seeing in them that you long for in yourself?  It could even be their confidence.  Do they seem to ooze confidence?  I have felt insecure many times around a woman who seems to be so self-assured as though jealousy would never effect her.  It drives me crazy.  I’ve even picked them apart in the nasty way that entertainment magazines taught me all to well to do.  “Look at her cellulite, those teeth, she’s not all that.”  These are all things that can be turned right back around on me.  I am definitely lacking perfect teeth, far from it.  I have cellulite on my legs.  Does this truly mean I should lack confidence?

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So what to do when jealousy strikes?  First, we need to prepare for the battle.  I have been thinking lately that I should create a daily mantra and hang it on my mirror, keep it in my purse, wherever I can see it and repeat it to myself everyday.  A mantra to remind myself of how beautiful I am inside and out, how talented, and amazing I am.  A little voice in my head says this will make me arrogant, but in a world that is constantly whittling our self confidence away, it’s nearly impossible for me to become “cocky.”

When this jealousy or lack of trust is turned on our significant other it often seems to come out of left field.  They feel as though they have done nothing wrong, and for most they haven’t.  All we need sometimes is reassurance from them when we can’t find it in ourselves.  Someone to say:  “You are beautiful, amazing, oh so talented, and irreplaceable.”  If that is what you need, tell them.  Don’t destroy a good relationship based on your insecurities.  If they can’t tell you these things, who needs them anyway.    Repeat this to yourself if they don’t tell you.  It’s true.  We are all unique and amazing.  We don’t need a partner to adore us.  We can adore ourselves.  

After all, our opinion of ourselves is the only one that truly matters at the end of the day.

Giving Thanks

The moment that we grasp the truth that this moment is not promised, but is a miracle is the moment we  begin to be thankful for everything in our lives.  Every hardship is a blessing, a lesson in disguise.

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Today I am thankful for:

The fact that I woke up alive and healthy.

The ability to smile, a stroke or disease has not taken this ability from me.

The ability to laugh, throat cancer has not taken this right away.

My job, allowing me to live in comfort, unlike so many others can do right now.

My family, the one I was given, and the one that I have chosen as well.

My significant partner, for loving me through my constant mistakes and my moments of insanity.

The clothes on my back, keeping my body a mystery and comfortable.

The sensation of my fingertips on my keyboard, expressing my thanks to the universe.

The ability to move my body fluidly, to dance.

Smiles on others faces, especially if I helped them get there.

The laugh and smile of my baby nephew.  Nothing is more precious.

The fact that my teenage nephew is influenced by me, and that hopefully that I’m a good influence.

My niece’s imagination, she will inspire the world someday.

Weekends.

A hard week, it makes the weekend so much sweeter.

My volleyball team, giving me a sense of comradery and a chance to move.

My friend and coworker, if only she would realize how beautiful she is, with or without losing weight.

The unending support I feel every day, and that hopefully I offer to others as well.

That today I have not had an anxiety attack.

The sensation of breath flowing in and out, and with every exhale is another moment to become aware of the magnificence of the present moment.

The fact that I could make an unending list of all the things I am thankful for.

 

And if, God forbid, there ever comes a day that I cannot find anything to be thankful for, I will come back to this list to remind myself.

Live today as though it’s your last day, because tomorrow is not promised.

Treat everyone you meet as though today is their last day, because they are not promised a tomorrow.

Love true, with all your heart, and as if you’ve never been hurt before.  This may be your last chance to do so.

A Lesson in Forgiveness

Today I forgave myself.  I forgave myself for something I didn’t realize I was carrying around for years.

Back story:

I was a lost young woman of about 22 when I met my, very soon to be husband, and now ex husband.  He was strange and that was exciting to me.  He had so many promises of a happy life. Promises of us living in our own strange, little bubble away from society.  Our relationship only lasted a total of three years, from dating to marriage and shortly thereafter divorce.  It was a constant rollercoaster of emotions and he had affairs more times than I probably know about.  I stuck by him though, thinking that it was my duty.

I finally one day got the strength to leave him.  I am a better person for it and I wish I could say the same for him.  I hear constant stories about his downward spiral into drugs and alcohol, often involving young girls.  A little part of me was satisfied by this, but the deeper part of me was torn about all of it.   I spent so much of our relationship attempting to help him heal himself.  He had made many mistakes and had been wronged in ways I could never imagine.  I took on the role of heroine and tried to save him from himself.

Today: I receive an email from him about nothing of great significance, and I first decided it was best to ignore it and not respond.  However, that little part of me that still wants the best for him chimed in, and I eventually emailed him back and just thanked him for being a part of my life and opening my eyes.

Today a weight has been lifted.  I realize that I couldn’t forgive myself for not “saving” him.  It was never my job in the first place and it has been weighing on me ever since.  I felt as though I had failed, like I had gave up on him.  I hope that he finds the help he needs, but that help can not come from me.

Forgive yourself now!  Don’t wait!  Whatever you are carrying around, you might not even be aware of it, but know this:  You deserve complete and absolute forgiveness.  The biggest step towards love is forgiveness.  Often times things we would have forgiven others for long ago, we still hold over our own heads.  Let it go.  Be free of it now.  You don’t know if you have tomorrow anyhow.

To err is human, to forgive is divine.  Alexander Pope

This too shall pass.

I’m a self-proclaimed dork.  As soon as I titled this, I thought of Gandolf in Lord of the Rings “You shall not pass!”  That is my ego telling me to stay the same and stay nestled into the areas of my life that I have been working to change.

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I dream of leaving my job.  I have even set a date for departure, but I do not know what will replace it.  I have given myself plenty of time to figure it out, but as empowering as setting a date was, at times it is replaced with a feeling of anxiety and lack of hope.  

My ego told me this morning, that I could be happy here.  I could just keep pushing on and I will find happiness in the money and the set schedule.  These are, after all, nice to have.  Society tells us that we should be “responsible,” and this job does make me seem responsible.

There is that other voice though, not so much a voice, but a knowing.  It tells me that I deserve to live my life to the fullest, to be content and completely in love with my life.  I know there will still be good and bad days, but knowing that I am in control of my fate is powerful and terrifying.

If I had stayed in the comfort of not changing, I would still be in an abusive relationship, trying to prove that I am worthy of someone else’s love.  I would spend many nights terrified for my life instead of having the comfort of a restful nights sleep and knowing that I “am” loved, not needing to prove myself any longer.

The comfort isn’t actually in the lack of change, because everything is constantly changing.  Our cells are constantly dying and being replaced.  My body is in a constant flux just as everything around it as well.  The comfort comes from the illusion of not changing.  We can convince ourselves that we are safe here and that it’s worse out of our little box of perceptions.  What I once perceived to be true is a laughing matter to me now.

I know in this moment that I can either choose to believe the illusion or to push ahead and move into the change whole heartedly.   Eyes wide open or eyes closed.  It’s my choice.  No one can force us to change, we have to want it for ourselves.   So today I will start listening to the “knowing” and keep my head held high so that I can see what amazing things are heading my way.  Someday I will look back on this moment, much like those old broken relationships, and wonder what ever kept me here.

Embrace change.  It’s the only constant.

Can we all agree to gang up on the “fatties”?

Admit it.  I got your attention, but read on before you judge.

I am pissed off!!!  Someone posted this article on Facebook: http://www.ijreview.com/2012/05/5181-obesity-blame-placed-on-food-not-the-obese/

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I read it as I ate my burger and french fries, washed down by a soda. I am weighing in at about 115 pounds and have never been over 130 pounds.  This is due to biology and a self hatred of myself gaining weight. Sad, I bet you can relate though.

Have we not heard enough lately that sugar is as addicting as heroin?  Society just loves to gang up on obese people.  Well stop it now!  You are no better, eating your burger, smoking your cigarette, and throwing back that alcohol/coffee.  I believe there is such an attack on the “fatties” because we all don’t quite no how to accept and love ourselves as we are, regardless of our flaws.  If you gained weight, let’s face it, it’s more your mirror and scale motivating you to lose it then your health.  Food is addictive, especially modern food.

I am fortunate in that my chocolate/sugar addiction hasn’t added to my waist size, so people can’t judge me as easily.

I could go on about this forever, however I will keep it short.

Everyone is beautiful.  Period!  Some people adore bigger women and men.  I feel sorry for you if you can’t accept yourself enough to do the same.  I have a friend  that is big and beautiful and she could heal your body with the touch of your hand.  She’s the most amazing massage therapist I’ve ever met.  She is also one of the most amazing women I’ve ever met.  She has been dieting for almost as long as I’ve been alive.  She has decided to stop, and I’m proud of her for doing so. Diets aren’t for the long term.  It’s all about lifestyle changes and those take time.  Do we treat alcoholics with this blatant disrespect when they make the effort to get better?  If you are completely heartless maybe you do.  My own mother is considered obese, and you are not going to tell me that my momma is not beautiful, or else. 😉

Deal with your own issues and stop attacking people who have medical issues, addictions, depression, or self esteem issues and are “suffering.”  Get over yourself and learn to love yourself, cellulite and all.

For additional curve loving visit this amazing blog: http://bodypositiveyoga.com/

Dear Negative Nancy

Dear Negative Nancy:

I am sure our cultures are very different.  In my culture and upbringing I was taught that If you have nothing nice to say, don’t say anything at all.  Clearly, you were raised differently.

I want to thank you for attending my yoga class due to the urging of your personal trainer.  I was a bit caught off guard by your feedback afterwards when I came over and asked you what you thought of your first class.  Your response, “It was terrible.  (scowling and repeating)  It was terrible.”  I was a little surprised by not only your blatant attack on my class, telling me that I was teaching something incorrectly.  You are the expert after all, having never done yoga.  However, I am glad that you were brave enough and bold enough to honestly voice your opinion to me.  I have never gotten feedback similar to your’s and was unsure how to handle it.

I apologize that what I taught did not serve you.  I hope that you find a class someday that does, when you are open to that. 

You vocalized what the little voice in the back of my head always tries to warn about.  What if I am a terrible teacher?  There was no training during my yoga intensive that taught me how to handle this.  There was never talk about that self-doubting voice and how to handle someone who actually snarls it out straight to your face.

All that is presented to us is a lesson and I have walked away with a few.  

1. Always treat others the way you would like to be treated.

2. Be honest, but try to do it as nice as possible.

3. You cannot please everyone.

 

Next time I will ask what you were wanting different out of class.