Downward Dog.

I am really good at clicking and adding to cart when it comes to stuff like gym passes, manicure appointments, massages, and other personal appointments like that. In contrast, I am not good at calling the place afterward, making appointments if I can’t do it online or by email, or – God fucking forbid – showing up for the first time alone.

It’s too much. My mind is flooded with so many what ifs. What if the place doesn’t exist when I call? What if they refuse to honour my purchase? What if they’re completely booked? What if they never answer? What if I know the person who answers and it’s a humiliating appointment? What if they laugh at me? What if it’s ridiculous that I think I can get an appointment any time soon?

I can’t even tell you why I feel all of these feelings. Like honestly, “what if they don’t answer?” doesn’t even really evoke any truly horrible result. I know this. If they don’t answer, then….. well, nothing. It’s completely and utterly ridiculous and I know it. I guess that’s the reason why anxiety is such a fucked up syndrome. Anxiety isΒ irrational.

Last week, I asked Boyfriend if he thought it was okay for me to spend money on a yoga pass. He said yes. (Note: I do not normally ask permission to spend my own money, but since he’s footing all of the bills while I am on leave, I figured it’s fair that we discuss me spending money on non-essentials).

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TBT that time I did yoga in a vineyard. So fetch.

I chose this particular location because it is a 5 minute walk from my house, or a 30-second drive. Let’s be honest. I ain’t walking down the street holding a yoga mat; people will judge me and I will combust.

The next day, I prepared for my first class. It was an easy class, evening time, had the word “candlelight” in it. I looked forward to getting my shavasana on. I’ve been dealing with a back injury for months, so a power class would be out of the question anyway, but since I haven’t done yoga in several months, I felt that this would be the perfect re-entry.

I chose my outfit carefully: all black and grey. I do not like to stand out in a class, especially since my ass isn’t what it used to be. I felt that I looked sufficiently blend-in-able. I gathered my mat, a bottle of water, and my keys. I was physically ready to go. Class was starting in 15 minutes.

That’s when my Ego kicked in and began to remind me of every little thing that could possibly go wrong. My Self and my Ego had a really nice conversation. Just the two of us.

Ego: This is a bad idea. Stay home.

Self: What? Why?! You have literally no basis for this.

E: Are you kidding me?! So many things could go wrong, and you are going to be humiliated. It’s probably canceled! You’ll be the only one there and they’ll look at you like you’re an idiot and tell you to go home.

S: Nope nope nope. I signed up 5 minutes ago! If it was canceled, it wouldn’t have been available on the app.

E: Can’t you see?! This is the first time you’ve ever gone to a class like this alone – you always have a friend with you. You can’t do this alone. You need someone to hold your hand. It’s not safe.

S: I trust myself. Having a friend with me doesn’t change the class.

E: Well, you’ve probably gotten the time wrong so you’re either going to get there and no one will be there, or the class will be half finished, loser! They will all snicker at you and exchange glances and you’ll have wasted $55 because you can never return.

S: *Rolls Eyes* I’ve checked the time three times, and the date too – because I know where you’re going with this.

E: It’s going to be one of those classes where everyone is folded into a pretzel and you’ll be the only one wincing during downward dog. They don’t know you have back problems – it’s not like you can tell them you’re injured! They are all going to think you’re so lame.

S: Ummm yoga is not about how good you are. It’s about honouring and respecting your body, and above all, compassion. Shut the fuck up already.

E: You’re going to get lost on the way and it’ll be too late to go.

S: It’s literally behind my house. I can see the building from here.

E: Well something will go wrong. You’re taking a pretty big gamble by going. This is a terrible idea.

S: No. It’s just a yoga class. I’ve been to 100s of yoga classes. This is a normal thing that normal people do.

E: Well, you’re not normal.

My Ego didn’t stop talking, but I stopped responding. Instead, I walked out the door and I got in my car. My mind was still going 100 miles an hour, but the only way I was going to make it out that door was if I put one foot in front of the other and went. So that’s what I did. I went through the motions, and let my Self simply observe the crazy. And before I knew it, I was in the parking lot right in front of the entryway.

That’s when an actual problem presented itself. My stomach tied itself in to a knot and a cold sensation ran through my body. I felt like my insides dropped out from under me.

The door was dark, the lights inside were off, and there was a “closed” sign displayed.

It was less than ten minutes to go-time; there was no way the studio would be closed at this point. Where had I gone wrong?! I grasped for my phone and checked the time and the date for the 5th time. It all checked out. I had the right address. The name of the studio was on the building. I felt panic beginning to rise.

Ego: Hahhahahahhahahah. I told you, idiot. I told you this would happen. Don’t you dare get out and try the door – it’s locked. And there are probably people watching you in the dark. They locked it because they don’t want you here. You’re not welcome. You’ll look like even more of a fool than you already are if you traipse over there with your mat, expecting to get in there. Turn around, and go home. We’re going to stuff our faces with candy and hide in bed. It’s safe and warm there, and nothing can hurt you. C’mon. You know I’m right. You never should have done this. Next time, listen to me. I know how to take care of you.

I put my car into reverse, and began to release the brake and clutch. I almost felt relieved – I wouldn’t have to face my fears. Luckily, the fear had materialized before I even got out of the car. I mean, thank fucking God right?

But I noticed something. A little sign where the studio hours were posted. It read “entrance in the back.”

I was in the front. This wasn’t the entrance. I smiled. My Ego was wrong. There was another door, and I was going to check it out.

I went to my yoga class, and just like my Self said, it was normal. Just like any other class I went to. Nothing funny happened. No one made fun of me, no one pointed at me, no one locked me out.

I’ve been back there 4-5 times since that first night. Every time, there is a slight boil-up of anxiety when I arrive there, and the parking lot is quiet, and I have to walk up to that door all alone. My Ego still whispers, what if it’s locked? But it never has been.

And even more importantly, I’ve been getting way more out of my yoga (despite my back) than I ever have before. I’ve been on a spiritual journey, and it’s really allowed me to tap into the spiritual side of yoga. Noticing without judgment. Being present. Observing my breath. Being compassionate with myself.

Every time I return to my house afterward, I feel so full of joy and hope. It far outweighs the uncomfortable feelings I encounter to get there.

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Let’s Chat.

My boss never did text me back. But that’s okay.

Yes! Really! I’m okay with it.

I’ve done a lot of thinking about it – but it’s been good, constructive thinking. Open-hearted thinking.

I trust myself. I’ve made choices to tend to my own well-being, and to deepen my understanding of myself in this past month. It’s not happening quickly, but it’s happening. I’m a work in progress (always will be), and feel confident that I am making steady strides in reworking the way I think.

It’s actually quite exciting, when I consider this. It makes me smile.

PS my front yard is also making me smile.

I admit that when I’m in the midst of uncomfortable emotions, I don’t immediately think properly. I need to groom myself to take a breath and not act until I have a clear perspective on things. A true perspective.

Other people’s opinions are based on their own experiences, their own worlds. Not mine. They will never see things exactly as I do. That’s impossible. It’s a standard we often put people to – craving and requiring empathy of others. Sometimes we get it, but it needs to come naturally from that person. In a work situation, there are so many other factors also at play that it adds another layer of complexity to situations.

I cannot rely on other people’s opinions in order to move forward with my own decision making. I can’t serve myself that way.

So, my boss didn’t text me back.

But it’s not so simple. One, I know he is out of town. Two, he gets hundreds of communications every day. I am not the centre of his universe. And third, probably most importantly, I could have worded my text much differently.

I wrote my text when I wasn’t feeling sound in my decision. I gave him a huge burden in my text message: I said I wasn’t about to make a decision without his insight. I put so much weight on his shoulders, and didn’t even offer up what I was considering.

That’s a lot to deal with, and could even get someone on the defensive. Maybe it did, maybe it didn’t – but I think that my text was too much for him to deal with when he didn’t receive it. I added so much emotion – a ‘whoa is me’ aspect that could be interpreted as manipulative. Like I was only adding it to get his sympathy, and to get my way. While I wasn’t trying to be manipulative, I don’t think it was that far off.Β  That’s why he (undoubtedly) set it aside to consider another day.

Today (two days later), I wrote him again. This time, I actually came 50%. I explained my plan for my return to work, and asked him for his thoughts. I didn’t cloud it with my reasons or make him feel like he’d be responsible for my emotional well-being. Yes, I want to come across as human, and not a robot, but guess who is the only person who is able to tend my well-being? Me. No one else.

He response was immediate.

He apologized for not replying right away, and asked if we could have a call tomorrow. Compromise.

That’s fine – it’s what I was open to and what I communicated to him. It’s not surprising, and it’s not the end of the world that he didn’t immediately agree to my suggestion.

I feel really good right now. I feel open, I feel at peace, and I feel in control of my own thoughts and emotions.

Tomorrow, I will likely seize up for a moment when my phone rings. I know I will (I mean, that happens when anyone calls me – even a loved one). But I will take a deep breath, set my shoulders back, smile, and exhale the fear that might show up.

Then I will have a chat with my boss.

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