Let’s paint a picture, you and me.
It starts with parotits. How does one paint parotits exactly? Picture mumps, only sexier. Now only put it on one side of the face, resulting in a nice derp-blowfish look. Now add a team of med students poking blue latex at this rare condition. Now add a cranky me behind those untrained fingers of medicine’s future. Yep, I was the blowfish that couldn’t even get it together enough to inflate on both sides.
Since no good story ever began with “It all started with parotitis”, you should probably stop reading at this point. I would. This story is on the same scale as “It all started on my way home from an endoscopy.” Or a chair factory. Or watching cement mix for a day. A story starting at a funeral home is even more exciting since it holds the promise of a good zombie tale.
September passed in a foggy mist of NyQuil as I moved from one illness to the next. My streak of daily yoga practice that was consistent for over 2 years disappeared in an anticlimactic fizzle.
Mid-October, I finally got back on my mat and found the closest parallel to zombies that I can make in this bleak tale: fear. My yoga practice had become terrifying.
Yoga was partly terrifying because I was a complete stranger in my body. My hamstrings were replaced with boy-scout quality knots. My core was replaced with Play-Doh. My bones felt like Jenga blocks ready to topple over at any moment. Every pose was an exhausting Rubik’s Cube and a land mine for my ego. It’s embarrassing to know that every single Golden Girl could out-practice you…even the dead ones. (Zombie Golden Girls! I’m trying, guys…)
My months of progress disappeared. I was working on hanumanasana all summer only to end up exactly where I started in June. Jump-backs, headstands, arm balances, and inversions that once filled me with a sense of challenge brought doubt and anxiety.
My practice is a place where I get back to myself. My red slipper “no place like home” spot. My fear in the practice took me away from this place. Essentially, I was tripping down a rabbit hole of fear.
Fear is a curious thing. We stop ourselves before we even try something because we are fearful. Fearful that we can’t. That we’ll embarrass ourselves. That we won’t be the best. That we will fail even more than we already have. Fear is the adviser incessantly whispering doubts and worries in our sultan ear.
So, like any yogi, I dug my in heels (cue Rocky music). I practiced for five minutes. Then ten. Then ten plus mediation. Then I said fifteen and practiced for twenty-five by mistake. Then forty. Eventually, I was excited to play on my mat again. My Jenga-block bones became more like Leggos. My Play-Doh core became, well, like the exact same Play-Doh left out for a few days.
Good readers if you’ve lasted this long we can rejoice that a story that begins with parotitis ends on a happy note; the spark that fizzled out reignited with an, “Oh yeah, we are doing this.”
Then I fell on my face.