The countdown has officially begun: seven days until I begin yoga teacher training. Entries from my journal include such phrases as “I feel in a way that yoga has given me back my voice” and “I feel very powerful.” Until last evening, when I became paralyzed with anxiety and doubt. I CAN’T EVEN DO A HEADSTAND. Those kind of thoughts are invading what was my calm, tranquil, ready mind. WHAT AM I THINKING!!!!! I feel like I just graduated from sixth grade and am getting ready to enter a masters’ program in physics. I’M NOT READY!
Part of it is a dirty little secret: Envy, which has been my companion for more years than I like to think about. He’s always by my side, bitch-slapping me, whispering in my ear, insisting that I compare myself to that long drink of hot water standing there with the hot guy and perfect children getting ready to board their yacht for a quick trip around the world.
They don’t call him one of the seven deadly sins for nothing. He’s nipping at my heels even before my training begins, but I’m on to that green-eyed bastard. I’ve forgotten more of Dante than I ever knew, but he also had Envy’s number: envious people had to totter along (probably in stilettos and with one arm tied behind their backs) with their eyes sewn shut with wire. Ouch – that would really smart.
I know that the hot babe might also be eyeing me with envy. Her husband might be a controlling jerk (yes, I know you’re thinking of the sick fuck who murdered Cecil the Lion), one of her kids might be really sick and she might be dreading the trip. She might want to trade places with me in that moment because I obviously don’t live on kale and mineral water, I’m laughing with friends and I don’t have to worry that pirates are going to overtake me on the high seas.
I work hard not to compare myself to others – it’s soul-sucking and can be especially hard during yoga practice when I feel envious of the young, thin, lovely lasses who flow so gracefully through class, as if they were faeries dancing on my lawn. Then the double-whammy hits: envy makes me a bad yogi! Shame on me! And then the triple play: if only I’d been more athletic when I was younger, if only I had pursued gymnastics or dancing or running instead of wine and vodka. My running career consisted of two events years ago:
- I occasionally worked out at a gym with a humorless woman who relentlessly walked the Stairmaster. She was desperate for a fourth person in a relay race, thought I was being modest when I said I didn’t run and browbeat me until I agreed. So my friend Krissy and I showed up at the race, each wearing shorts and one half of a pair of tights, a la Flo Jo. We thought we were hilarious. Not so the Stairmistress, who was pissed when she saw us and even more so when I took 72 minutes to run a quarter of a mile and then laughed and said, “I told you I couldn’t run!”
The beautiful Florence Joyner.
- My friend Mitzi and I decided to compete in a mile race at work. For exercise, we ran to Taco Bell and stuffed ourselves, then plodded back to work, complaining bitterly the whole way about how full we were. We also thought we were hilarious when we didn’t have enough money to pay for our feast and tried to bargain with the cashier; the guy behind us finally threw the difference on the counter. He was not amused.
But I digress. Just one more reason I’m not ready: my mind doesn’t travel in logical circles and I haven’t had to study or memorize things since the flower children were in power.
However, I’m moving forward. I’m reading a book called The Gifts of Imperfection, where the author says, “If we want to know why we’re all so afraid to let our true selves be seen and known, we have to understand the power of fear and shame. If we can’t stand up to the never good enough and who do you think you are? we can’t move forward.
Yeah, baby - I'm moving on.