Yoga was great last night but I was not. I’ll start with the physical aspect: I f’ed up my shoulder really bad. I slept on it weird on Saturday night and it was a little bit sore all day yesterday. I thought yoga would help heal whatever the issue was but instead it exacerbated it. By 10 pm last night I could barely move my right arm without wincing. I actually asked my boyfriend (in a tired stupor of which I remember nothing) to sleep on the couch because I couldn’t get comfortable with him in the bed. Ugh. I woke up at 5 cold, alone, and sore. I went to get him for the next 45 minutes of glorious sleep and asked why he was out there and he informed me that I had asked him to sleep there. How sad.
Other than that, I enjoy the class a lot but I’m also disappointed in myself for being…me. This class meets for two hours once a week for 7 weeks. We’ll be reading Women Food and God and the first 45 minutes will be for discussion, the next 75 minutes will be for yoga practice. There are six women (including myself) in the class and I am the youngest. I’m used to being the youngest. Besides me, the two youngest are each 30, and then it goes up from there. We went around the room to introduce ourselves, to talk about yoga and what brought us to this class, and I learned so much. There is a breast cancer survivor. There is a first grade teacher. There is a fourth grade teacher. There is a fellow vegetarian who farms for a living. There are people who have had rough years and are trying to start this next year off right. My teacher is fantastic. She also teaches a “plus-size” yoga class and a lot of the women found their way to this class through her. This means that I’m the second thinnest in the class. 1) It’s so rare for me to feel “thin.” 2) Why am I taking inventory of the other women’s bodies? I’m not there to judge them.
So that was disappointment number 1. I was mad at myself for thinking that way.
Disappointment number 2 was how absolutely stupid I sounded when we introduced ourselves. I’m not good in public settings and while there may have only been 7 non-threatening women in the room, I just completely froze up. I anticipated this and that is why I drove around for 10 extra minutes practicing what I would say about myself. It sounded so great when I articulated it in the space of my car. In the space of the studio, I mumbled, I was awkward, I said something about how I might be transitioning to a vegan diet and how I put on a lot of weight in college that I’m trying to lose and I made mention of having “food issues,” which I left open-ended. I felt stupid. I felt like I could have opened up more. And I don’t want the other women to think I’m in this class to lose weight. I am not going to lose weight in this class. This is a gentle hatha yoga, I didn’t even break a sweat. I am there for peace of mind. I am there to read this book and discuss my deep-seated issues with food, with self-esteem, with body image. I don’t want them to look at me and see a 23-year-old who vaguely resembles some dippy teeny-bopper. I want to be taken seriously, but I did not present myself in a way to be taken seriously!
I left yoga feeling like this is the whole problem in my life. I think I’m not good enough, then I act in a way that presents myself like I’m not good enough, and then I get nowhere. All I can do with this is acknowledge it and try harder next time. I’m trying harder every day. I’m trying to not feel extreme sadness or extreme anger, I’m trying not to flirt with disaster, I am trying to be stable and rational and steady. Rock steady. I’m trying to be more open, I’m trying to be more social. If we want to take anything positive away, at least I spoke of my vegan plans aloud, in real life, in the company of others. I haven’t mentioned it to anyone yet besides my boyfriend. Considering the fact that my coworker mentioned this morning that she forgot the red velvet cupcakes she was planning on bringing in, which was a narrowly-avoided social minefield, I suppose I should start “coming out” if I’m serious about this.
My yoga teacher exudes such confidence and joy, like she is completely at peace with herself. I envy her that. I keep meeting these kinds of people that feel like their switch is always on. Do you know how much effort it is for me to act that upbeat and perky for just one hour? Imagine how difficult it would be to live an entire life that way, and having cynical bitter bitches like me mouthing off to their friends “what does SHE have to be so happy about?” Happiness is a coveted treasure—we all want it, but somehow, when we don’t have it, we are sickened by those that do. I wish I could be that happy, upbeat person but the effort it takes is so…sizeable. I don’t know if I have what it takes to always be “on.” But I’m going to try a little bit with each passing day.
I think yoga can help with this. I think it all starts with living mindfully. And I need to learn to stop beating myself up—that’s something people keep saying to me. I guess I should start listening.