I had a revelation in the summer of 2016 that colored the way I approached the rest of the year. It came in the midst of (and, quite possibly, because of) my internship and the beginning of my yoga practice, two things that were inextricably connected as I’d hustle from work at 5 p.m. to the 6 p.m. Yoga Sculpt class.
(Forever grateful to Megan Loschiavo for asking me, “Do you want to do yoga with me? It’s not, like, boring yoga, it’s yoga with weights,” at brunch my first Sunday in Dallas.)
You know how sometimes you’re in a situation and, all of a sudden, clarity strikes? For me, this moment happened in a shuttle to the San Francisco airport.
Kylie and I had just spent 36 hours in San Francisco together, staying in a hostel on Union Square. Kylie, my adventurous and fearless companion, loved the idea of sleeping in a room with 10 foreign strangers separated by dingy canvas curtains. I was less than thrilled.
We had separate flights out of San Francisco that Saturday. Mine was departing from SFO for Dallas, and hers was leaving OAK for Nashville.
I waited in the alley outside the hostel entrance (because yes, we were staying somewhere only accessible via ALLEY) for the shuttle.
I was the sole passenger. I stared out the window as we drove. My reality struck me suddenly. I’m alone in San Francisco, California. I could go anywhere I wanted right now.
For those of you who travel alone constantly, you’re probably unfazed. But for me, someone with a genuine discomfort surrounding the idea of flying and traveling (especially alone), this was a huge moment for me. The feeling was intensified by the knowledge that my mobility was subsidized by my own job and money—I was reliant upon nobody but myself for my experiences.
The romanticism of my newfound independence was swiftly dashed when I arrived at SFO around 2:30 p.m. only to learn my 4 o’clock nonstop had been delayed until 9 p.m. The joys of air travel.
The moment, however, was not lost on me. It was the triumphant realization that I was self-sufficient and could figure things out on my own. Yoga Sculpt bolstered this assuredness.
To clarify, these yoga classes were a far cry from the stereotypical “granola” yoga classes I had envisioned when Megan invited me to her studio. I pictured a bunch of dreadlocked individuals om-ing over tie-dye mats.
Instead, I was met with about 30 lululemon-clad, shredded Dallas blondes. The classes were gruelingly difficult; imagine doing challenging yoga poses while holding weights to the tune of the Hip-Hop Top 40 playlist. I was obsessed.
More importantly, however, I loved the emphasis on self-discovery and self-acceptance. There was no room for excuses or self-consciousness in Yoga Sculpt. You’d literally sweat out your insecurities.
I’d lay on my mat after class and wrestle with things I hadn’t confronted in years. My dependency on others; my deep-seated fear that I’d never be “enough.”
It was clear, through these yoga classes, that I could improve both my hamstring flexibility and my self-esteem by spending 60 minutes a day on my mat.
It’s funny how, once you recognize insecurity in yourself, you can recognize it in others.
Knowing who you are (and, subsequently, your worth as a person) allows you to recognize when your motivations are fueled by jealousy or a need for affirmation.
When you can affirm yourself, your life becomes much less complicated.
It's not the shallow confidence easily influenced by compliments or criticism, it's a deep sense of personal worth and quiet assurance that you're enough on your own.
To be sure, this is a daily struggle for me. I'm struck with feelings of inadequacy and envy every day, but I feel better equipped to recognize and cope with them now. It's easier to apologize when I mess up. I'm not as easily shaken by mean girls or uninterested boys.
And I can touch my toes without bending my knees, which is an accomplishment not to be overlooked.
Thanks for reading!