I know. The title sounds foofy. (read: gay as hell) But I really love the imagery. Stay tuned for the story. I promise it's worth it.
Tonight, I decided to start taking care of myself. For those of you that this is a regular thing, I applaud you, genuinely. For me, this has not been the norm. Probably not since my breakup. Maybe sooner. Cue the lump in my throat as I write this.
Tonight, I attended The Actor's Green Room, which for those of you (mom) that are unfamiliar, it is a series of classes, workshops, and lectures about motivating your career, nurturing your actor spirit, and laying the groundwork for you to become a successful human being so that you can then become a successful actor. Big shit here, people.
The two classes that my friend Renee was gifting me were an hour-long yoga class and a lecture on "The Delay" (more on "The Delay" later). Both revelatory. Both a tad cult-y. Ultimately both very beneficial.
Before starting the yoga class at AGR, I had grown up around yoga. My father owns one of the largest yoga studios in Indiana and has been studying and teaching yoga for more than 31 years. So I grew up around the stuff. I took yoga in college for two years, and now I am about a third of the way done with becoming yoga certified myself. So I'm a user of the stuff. Not much surprises me.
Tonight's class' theme was "Opening Your Heart Chakra".
So, lots of poses that broaden your chest and shoulders, open your sternum, and release trapped or stifled heart energies. All things I've done before. Bring it on.
At the beginning of class, the teacher, Yuko, asked if anyone had any injuries. I raised my hand and mentioned that I had a left ankle sprain roughly six months ago now and it still hadn't fully healed. She reminded me to take it easy, but above all, "Listen to my body" and modify as needed. "Go into child's pose as often as your body needs to." Great. I effing love child's pose.
As we began our practice, Yuko introduced the day's mantra for Heart Openers: "I am love; I am loved." Cue the crying. As I repeated these words to myself in my head and sometimes under my breath, I found myself realizing how deeply I didn't believe I deserve these things. For the past two months, I have unconsciously and certainly unintentionally started to lose faith that I am someone who is capable of being loved (specifically by a significant other). And that lack of faith has started to bleed into other aspects of my life.
I folded myself into child's pose. I let my full weight feel the support of the ground below me and the class around me, and I wept. Because as I "listened to my body" I heard it ask me why I've been blaming it for all of the injuries and infections that have been in and out of it the past six months. I blamed my body for not being strong enough to avoid a sprained ankle. For not being sentient enough to forsee my intestinal troubles. For cosmetic issues. For loss of weight and muscle definition. For this ulcer. I felt all of the blame come bubbling up. My body wasn't angry. It was just hurt. It felt abandoned and hurt. All of the things for which I blamed my ex, I was paying forward to my body. And my body had had enough.
I continued the practice, making a healthy mix of following the prescribed flow and weeping in child's pose. I highly recommend the "Weepalotonfloor" style of yoga. Similar to vinyasa. "Just add water!" *wink*
We practiced some sitting leg extensions in which I was able to run my fingers along the outline of my own body and touch all of my areas of pain: ankle, stomach, throat, and most importantly, heart. I had begun to forgive all of my limbs and organs for just doing the best they can. And we made our way into shivasana.
Shivasana is my favorite pose. I love doing it in yoga class, but sometimes, I do it on park benches. Sometimes I find excuses to do shivasana when I'm hanging out with friends, or listening to lectures, or in the middle of playing sports. I am a very diligent yogi.
Tonight, as I lay in shivasana, I felt an overwhelming urge to touch my face. To show myself one last act of love before my practice was over. And I touched my face in a way that I've only known myself to touch significant others and have them touch me in return. Thumb in front of my ear, remaining four fingers wrapping around the back of my head and resting on the soft part of my neck. For me, a very Italian Italian, that part of my neck has always been a point of insecurity for me. Because the short-hairs-that-aren't-supposed-to-grow-but-when-they-get-long,-you-look-trashy are there. You know, the hairs that my ex pointed out to me on our first official date. *face palm*
And in that moment, I loved that I am Italian. I loved that those hairs represent the DNA coursing through my body of countless generations before me. Because I wouldn't trade those long hairs for all of the family reunions that my twenty-three-members-and-growing family has been to. I wouldn't trim those hairs if it meant giving up two parents who love me unconditionally and supported me without question when I came out to them seven years ago. I wouldn't dare even think about laser-removing the hairs, because it would mean laser-removing who I am. And I'm a pretty fucking incredible person. Get to know me. Or at least, get to know me before criticizing my neck hairs. (read: go on a second date with me)
This was the first of many revelations from tonight. But it is late. I am emotionally exhausted. My heart is wide open. I pray that these revelations stay with me. Tune in next time for the meaning behind "...Which Grows My Wings".