One of the things that’s become increasingly important to me, one of the things I seek out in friends, teachers, elders and mentors is authenticity. There’s something beautiful, vulnerable and divine about authenticity. Those that are brave enough to be soft and grounded enough to be clear- whooooosh, my spirit moves closer to theirs. I’ve spent the last few years both consciously and unconsciously collecting people, mostly women, who are tribe. Several are older than me, most complement one another, and all are like pillars in the sand supporting the sometimes rocky home called -me.
Students have asked what brings me to the yoga studio. I keep my stuff out of the room because honestly...that's where it should be. It whole-heartedly informs my work, but the studio is a place to be held, and I assure you it will always aim to be just that. This post shoots for authenticity and connection with maybe one of you. Knowing what's in the room can sometimes bring us closer together.
I've spent the last few years floating somewhere between hidden and transparent. I've spent them apologizing, growing, learning, braving, crumbling, loving and living.
Five years ago, my MBA team was invited to a prestigious business school competition in TX, I was four weeks away from running my second Boston marathon and eight weeks away from graduation. I accepted a job offer. We were planning a family. I did not have a therapist, did not practice yoga and didn’t bat an eyelash if asked to remember everything. PTSD was on the TV, empathy beat in my heart and polite rang through my tone. Independence felt easy, communication felt light and the future felt expected. By no means had my life been free of challenge and history, but by my own evaluation, the coping skills (whether healthy or not) I’d spent years honing served me at nearly every pass.
Five years ago, very quickly my life changed. The lives of people I love changed. And although it's all based on timing, and timing is everything- girl when it's good, I'm sure it can be really really good, but when timing is bad it can be horr-i-ble. My timing was bad. The girls timing was bad. We were doing everything right and got burned.
When I turn on the TV today and see horrific stories of school shootings, of accidents or other unimaginable events, I think to myself- Its only their Day 1. They don't even know what's coming.
For many of them, for all of us really- my wish is that nothing comes. That the event moves through their body, their brain and their spirit and with all the supports available in the world, my wish for them is peace. I'm not sure how often that happens. I hope for some it does.
That did not happen for me. It probably took me six months before I realized something was quite wrong. And it took another seven before I made a move toward change. It took a year for me to fall hard into athletic vinyasa yoga and another for me to realize I couldn't breathe. It took another year for me to say the word PTSD out loud and acknowledge that might fit me. My heart beat so fast it was purposefully burned, my memory so jumbled I had to stop working, my look so reminiscent my hair turned purple.
Panic ended friendships not for lack of will, but because I couldn't imagine being a friend again. Panic halted my sleep- not because I couldn't, but because I'd wake so terrified- over and over and over again. Panic stole my ability to drive a car- not because I couldn't, but because my freeze response was so intense all I did was sit still at the wheel. Panic stole my ability to travel, not for fear of accidents, but because I couldn't stand to be away from this city and my people. Panic stole my ability to live lightly.
I would go back to my former life in a heartbeat. I don't believe anything happens for the sake of lesson learning. But today, five years since a bomb robbed friends of their former lives, me of my former self and my husband his former wife- I'm grateful for where I am.
first time back 2016
I will never be that runner girl again, the MBA student waiting to start her job, the wife that found laughter easily or the friend I once was. Trauma changes you. It changed me. I'm still learning. Still hurdling. And still searching. You'll still see purposeful streaks of purple in my hair. But today, my husband and I are strong because we've lived, I'm a mama to babe who brings calm to my core, I'm a friend to some I never would have met and hold dear the ones who hold me close. I'm a student to a practice that sets my soul on fire. I speak more mindfully and with honesty. My ability to to connect with others, offer this practice and to type an authentic ugly-this-is-me blog- is a giant #$%k you to the asses who tried to take my life away. They failed and they failed hard.
Cheers to authenticity. And to bear ears on your hood.