This part from the piece "That Power" performed by Childish Gambino came to mind when deciding to post this.
"This isn't a story about how girls are evil or how love is bad, this is a story about how I learned something and I'm not saying this thing is true or not, I'm just saying it's what I learned. I told you something. It was just for you and you told everybody. So I learned cut out the middle man, make it all for everybody, always. Everybody can't turn around and tell everybody, everybody already knows, I told them. But this means there isn't a place in my life for you or someone like you. Is it sad? Sure. But it's a sadness I chose."
Post yoga self reflections about overcoming trauma and re-learning to love.
Stream of consciousness style. `- The grammar errors and cursing have been left in as a stylistic choice. That being said…sorry for the f bomb, yo.
Last time I was in Boulder, I couldn’t help but get into the cherry blossom trees. After recounting a story about my Free People days and one of the most fun photo shoots I’ve ever done during this time of year on Pearl Street, I was inspired to re-create one of my favorite photos. I played director of photography with my friend who had no idea what any button on my Nikon meant.
Adjust the ISO settings, get the shutter speed just right, let in just enough light so you can capture the sun shining through the pink branches.
“Ok get down on the ground, probably just to your knees about...ok I want you to shoot me from here up”
*motions to mid thigh*
“And I want the frame to be from about...”
*takes a few steps to the right.* “here...to...”
*walks back to the left “here.”
“Start shooting in portrait and then we’ll switch to landscape.”
&& there I was, under a tree in a very familiar place and yet...I’m somewhere I’ve never been.
I think back to the girl I was in the cherry blossom photo I posted last week. I loved that day so much because it was a shining glimmer of hope in an otherwise really dark time of my life. Little did that girl know how much the world would throw at her over the next couple of years. I’m not being hyperbolic to say...I barely survived it. There were times I thought I would never stop crying. Times I felt like my mind was not my own...times where my body was so unhealthy I was fainting regularly and living off coffee.
I don’t actually own a scale nor have I weighed myself in years but I can guess I’ve gained about 10-13 pounds in the past 2 years. Which is a lot on my little 5’3 frame. Growing up I struggled with having a healthy relationship with food. Being chronically nauseas from the time I was a small child made me want to skip meals because I would rather be hungry than feel like I’m going to puke all day. It made me feel in control for the first time. I think I was 14 when I started obsessively checking my weight and hating myself anytime I put food in my mouth. I lived in a constant state of anxiety. In college I got a lot better. I started going to the gym and cooking healthy meals and when I graduated I weighed the most I’ve ever weighed in my life and I was so strong and healthy and confident.
Anyway...flash forward to shit hitting the fan and me finding myself in the company of those who bring up every little demon. I was told if children in Africa can’t eat then neither should I...I went over 24 hours without food that day. I once cooked food for myself and had the pan yanked away from me and my cooking thrown in the garbage. At that point- I was so malnourished my face was completely broken out, my hair was falling out, I couldn’t think straight. After I got away from that …for the first time in my entire life did nourishing my body with healthy food become something that made me feel good-not ashamed or guilty or disgusting. I cried just about every single day for 5 months in the beginning of 2017. And every day I made sure that I was doing something to heal my mind, body and soul after enduring a lot of trauma in a short amount of time. Most days my form of self healing was cooking myself a healthy breakfast, looking in the mirror and saying things to myself that I would imagine my soulmate saying to me
“hello you gorgeous warrior woman! I believe in you.”
Then I would do yoga.
My practice is the thing that really saved me.
&& that’s why we’re here isn’t it? Sharing our yoga journeys? Because most yogis sought out this community of healers because we all decided that’s the best place to start healing ourselves. You gotta work from the inside out when it comes to things like love and healing.
And to come back to my original comparison of these two pictures;
I feel super beautiful in both photos.
The first one because I was so pure and naive to all the atrocities that were just beyond my feet.
I thought I had seen it all before actually.
The woman I’ve become is resilient as hell.
Despite unhealthy patterns that seemed deeply ingrained into my being...I became aware and overcame them.
The woman I am today has seen pure evil…a little too closely I might add. And yet- I still wake up every day and think this world is magical. Not because there isn’t pain but because we have the ability to transmute this trauma into love. One thing I always told myself was that despite having terrible luck in love- I won’t give up on it. I will keep my heart open. Some days that was easier to do than others but I learned to fall in love with solitude...with Mother Nature...with my higher self. Suddenly I feel like I understand divine love and I know why it took me so long, why the obstacles brought such intensity. The path less taken is dangerous. It is more beautiful than the common one at parts and far more hideous at others...it’s the scenic route that spits out healers, teachers and people filled with unconditional love.
This trail will give you gratitude.
My trauma made me a badass.
Here I am-25. Just showed my art at RAW,
I’m planning yoga challenges, photo shoots and road trips on the daily
and I’m surrounded by people who helped me redefine love and regain trust.
My hair grew back.
My skin cleared up.
I gained my weight back.
I never stopped writing, doing art, listening to my soul or feeling my feels when I felt them.
I’ve cried in public…a lot.
I’ve had serious post trauma panic attack’s where I was trying so hard to come back to reality and I couldn’t
...that was the scariest.
I’ve missed social events, work and classes because of anxiety...I definitely made a few mistakes because I didn’t know how to react to the pain I was feeling and I finally understand that sometimes royally fucking everything up and going about it in the worst way possible is essential to evolution. The deeper the wound- the more likely you are to develop the ability to give yourself stitches.
I sutured my heart up a few times...accidentally jabbed myself with the needle once and bled everywhere...total mess. Did not want to do that again. I became an expert seamstress of the heart. The trick is...when sewing a broken heart, you must make sure to leave a part open. It seems counterintuitive at first and trust me I wanted to stitch it closed too...(an open heart hurts!)
But you have to leave it open. Your love knows no bounds that your sorrows haven’t touched.
Fill your heart with flowers, or poems or artwork or with sand from all over the world.
But don’t stitch it up- otherwise it will be empty forever.
The risk of an open heart is worth it.
Because here’s the thing that nobody tells you.
It’s supposed to hurt.
That’s how you become stronger.
That’s how you heal.
Then the collective.