a case of the Mean Greens

I mentioned I went to yoga the yesterday morning (the day Henry got stolen), and, to be honest, it was kind of a disaster from the minute I stepped into the studio. Or rather, from the moment she did.

It started off harmless enough.

I was already on my mat, essential oil on my pressure points and handmade mala in the corner, when she arrived. I noticed when she entered the studio that she too must have ridden her bike to class. She had this super cool and far-more-feminine-than-mine helmet with a matching pannier bag. I just knew her bike was cool; it had to be. And I really liked her tank top.

But I don’t know if I could pull it off. She’s most definitely at least three sizes smaller than me.

The teacher, who I think had the most perfect body ever (that I obviously could never achieve), knew this woman; she asked how her trip was. They made small talk for a few minutes.

The teacher didn’t ask me how my trip was.

(No shit, Steph—it’s your first time at this studio, and you didn’t even go anywhere this weekend.)

Class started, and my still slightly sleeping body began to wake up (and start sweating profusely).

How is no one else sweating?

And so did the comparison gremlins that had been whispering to me earlier. (If you’ve spent any amount of time with me, you know that I am pretty obsessed with Brene Brown—not only do I think she is a genius, but her work has profoundly changed my life. I credit her for the naming of and knowledge that these gremlins exist. Though I believe Audrey Hepburn/Holly Golightly would have referred to them as the Mean Greens.)

I don’t think we were ten minutes into the flow when they grabbed my eyelids, pulled them back, and directed them toward the beautiful and glowing flexible feather in front of me. The one with the really great tank top.

It almost started off admiringly.

Man, her shoulders are awesome. I bet she does yoga every day.

And then it went South.

My shoulders wouldn’t look like that even if I did yoga twice a day.

Really South.

Wonder what that life of luxury would be like. Maybe I should ask her.

Believe me, y’all, I’m not proud of this. And it got worse.

The deeper into class we got, the more I sweated, and the louder the gremlins screamed.

I can’t believe you are thinking about yoga teacher training. Now there’s a girl who could be a yoga teacher. Maybe you should stick to running. By yourself. In the mornings. When no one can see you. And how much you sweat.

Yes, she can do the splits. Her body was made for this. Yours was not. Try something else.

And you thought you had a nice ass.

And while all of this sounds complimentary, I can assure you that I did not think anything positive about this innocent bystander (or myself). Instead I decided she had tons of money (because she obviously practices at this studio every day, and never mind the fact that I am thinking about joining—someone who definitely does not have tons of money). She knows how insanely good at yoga she is and has let it go to her head. She probably doesn’t drink or eat anything but the vegan organic meals prepared by her gorgeous husband (because her body was obviously a temple at which he worships).

Yeah, I know. Makes my new default reaction seem pretty fleeting.

By the time I got out of class, I was feeling like absolute shit about myself. Not only did I lose focus during class…a lot…but I didn’t feel energized or restored. I spent most of my magic hour mentally wrestling with myself and a fellow yogi and woman who I didn’t know for doing anything but what I aspire to do.

I beat myself up long and hard yesterday about this, and after an all-around not great day and a fitful night’s sleep, I decided that I needed to get up this morning and spend some time reflecting.

This is what I came up with:

When I’m concerned with someone else, it’s a sign I’m unhappy with myself. Lately, me, myself, and I are not getting along. Mentally or physically. I just can’t seem to do enough to meet the standards I have set for myself. If I get freelancing work and decide to treat myself for the achievement, I feel irresponsible. If I’m taking classes to kick up my graphic design skills, I feel like I’m not doing enough with my painting. If I get a run or a yoga session in during the morning, I berate myself for not getting to the gym to lift that evening. If I eat well during the week, but I indulge a bit on a Saturday night out to dinner, I feel guilty. When the shame gremlins have come out to play with the comparison gremlins, I start to spiral, and everyone else…WATCH. OUT. I know that when I start to pick apart others, it means I should pause and take stock. Because the fault lies with me. And something needs righting.

Dreams take work; so do bodies. There’s a good chance the thing that’s off is exercise—that me and working out are only seeing each other very casually. And that’s fine. It’s not healthy to be obsessive. But it is healthy to know what makes you healthy. To know what makes you the version of yourself. For me, I know that it means breaking a sweat every day. I like committed relationships. When I work out every day, I have more energy. I am more patient. I take more pause. I am confident. And I remember that I’d rather be strong than skinny. That I like the fact that I need to work to take care of my body and to keep it looking the way I like it. In fact, I remember that I do like it, just the way it is (for the most part).

Scarcity is a lie. I mentioned in a previous post, that I want to be a capital-G Girl. Full of Grit. Full of Grace. Full of Gratitude. And to this list, I would add Generosity. I want to be full of Generosity. Because the fact is that scarcity, or rather perceived scarcity (Brené again) is a lie the gremlins tell us. The truth is that we all have assets and beauty and blessings and gifts abundant. However, we often only see what we are looking for, and when that is the belief that there is not enough to go around, we suddenly become something that rhymes with G but starts with B. This month, I’m going to make a conscious effort to look for abundance. To cultivate gratitude within my life, so that I can keep working hard but know when to give myself grace. So that I can give it to others. So that my default is not judgment but rather generosity. So that when that when I inevitably find myself seated behind that woman in yoga class again, I can concentrate on my practice and thank my body for how it can bend. And I can go up to her after class and tell her how impressed I am with her crow pose and ask how she mastered it.

Make choices that bring joy. Remember those standards I set for myself? Perhaps some of those need revisiting. Because the one standard I do know I need to live by is simply this: make choices that bring joy. And if one of those choices is yoga instead of lifting, that’s okay. Because if it achieves its purpose and makes you happy, what more can you realistically ask of yourself?

It definitely hasn’t been the best week so far, and I am not at my best. I’m not feeling all that rested or beautiful or capable, but I am hoping that I am not alone in this struggle. And, more than anything, I hope all of us can aim to have a few more G’s in our life this week, especially with our fellow ladies and most definitely with ourselves.

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