To The Goddess Unchained.

To The Goddess Unchained.

Body Community Love Motivation + Inspiration Shift Of Power Work
'When you're a powerful woman, you are a goddess unchained. And everyone will have something to say.' @katiehorwitch Click To Tweet

Dear beautiful woman,

Hi. It’s me. We haven’t met, but I feel like I know you. Scratch that – I know that I know you. And I don’t mean that in a pushy, I’ve-been-there-before-so-now-I-know-you-and-also-everything way. I mean that in the way that we all come from the same source, the same sisterhood, the same #rigged system that’s made us believe false truths throughout the ages that nothing we do will ever be enough.

I know you are struggling right now. With what, I’m not sure. Maybe it’s the job? The relationship status? The family or kids or lack thereof of both? As someone once said, “Everyone is fighting a battle you know nothing about.”

But what I do know is this: your struggle is inflammed by the perceived expectations of the world around you.

~

To be kind, to be humble, to be gracious – to be boistrous, but not too much. To be soft, to be resilient, to be a leader, but not too much. To be heard, but not absorbed; to be wild, but at the same time tamed. This is the dichotomy of being a woman. Just a woman.

And to be a powerful woman – oh jeez! That is a task of itself, a dance more precise and more stress-sweat inducing than walking through eggshells. One misstep and the craaaaaaaaack of everything delicate below you rings loud in your ear. You must be bold. You must be brave. You must be a mind-reader and truth-teller but always know when and where your place is to say such things.

Success, you must learn, is relative. And success, you must say, is nothing but smoke and mirrors. But success, you must learn, is both the pinnacle of acceptance and the beginnings of lifelong critique. You are not kind enough, or humble enough, or gracious enough – or you’re boistrous, but way too much. No softness, too much resilience, too wild, too heard.

 

Because when you’re a powerful woman, you are a goddess unchained.
And everyone will have something to say.


I believe in you, lady. I believe in your grandness and your solitude, your quietness and your noise. I believe in the way you walk through the world, step by forceful step; the way you trip sometimes but always keep going. There are pebbles lodged in the soles of your shoes and dirt encrusted on the laces, relics from the places you’ve been and the things you have seen. Resist the urge to scrape them off. They belong there, they complete you – shoes were not meant to stay crisp and clean, in my opinion.

You have the answers you’re looking for, deep down. Whether they’ve made their way to the surface yet, TBD. You’re not supposed to wake up one day and know. But anyone who says they do or assumes the opposite is a liar.

Surprise, surprise: the hallmark of being a true adult is knowing that you will never know.

~

And so you, goddess unchained, you are grappling with the knowing and the not knowing and to that I say you’re doing it right. The world wants you to believe it expects you to know but all that is is a desperate plea to fill in the blanks. Blanks that are not yours to fill, blank spaces that aren’t meant to be filled in the first place.

But the last thing I want you to do, sweet friend, is get defensive and stew. How Dare They! How Dare This! The world is not conniving against you, the world just does not know. The world is a child, curious and stubborn. It’s wary of change. It wants to see what sticks. It wants to know what can be cuddled, and how hard, without being smothered. It wants to know what can be crushed, and how hard, without being broken. You don’t have to be the parent or sitter – but rather, the other curious child on the playground who is building sandcastles in the sand instead of eating it.

Nothing you do will ever be enough?
Everything you do is already enough, by the very nature that you’re doing it.


The world is reactive, so you must be proactive.

The world takes cues, so you must make your own.

I don’t want you to look down at the quicksand and say, How Dare They!

What I do want you to do is stand in the middle of the storm and exclaim with pride, How Dare I!

 


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Updos And Down Dogs: On Meeting Yourself.

Updos And Down Dogs: On Meeting Yourself.

Body Motivation + Inspiration Shift Of Power

“I can’t do that kind of yoga. It’s too slow.

She stared at me with an ice sheet over her eyes, a look that darted back and forth and when it hit me it seared right through and past me. If you do yoga every day, or every week, how is this kind of glare even possible? I thought. I always think this, because honestly, I see it a lot.
___

I lay on my mat today with my hair pulled up in a tight bun, a hairdo I hadn’t visited in years. I used to pull it up with my bobby pins and my baby hands, freakishly long locks still wet from my quick hop into the shower after my early morning workout before 8am ballet class.

Those tight buns and suffocating leotards killed me. They hugged everything.

We were forced to scrutinizingly stare in the mirror at not only ourselves but others, we were forced to do the same poses over and over and over and over until the combo was second nature.

I could not do most of them.

My legs were too muscular, my arches too low, and my knees ever so slightly bow-legged which is apparently something that could have been fixed when I was a baby but thankfully my parents opted to keep me just the way I uniquely was (I love you, mom and dad!). My lower back hyperextended naturally, which no one told me and no one thought to work with me on, so I was just ordered to tuck my pelvis more and more and more and my insides cried as everything just felt completely stiff and I looked at myself in the mirror next to the flat-chested straight-waisted kid bodies and my overdeveloped womanly self felt even less like a dancer.

And then I got skinnier. And my hair pulled back tighter. And I at least had that, I thought, at least I look the part.

And I felt so alone.

dancing

Everyone was extreme and extroverted and childlike in the way an undergrad should be, honestly, and I was so sad I did not fit in. I kept doing the battement tendus to the front, side, and back, over and over and over again.

I became so used to a heavy bias towards routine, no balance. I fell in and out of love with my body by the day, I would eat the same things over and over and do the same workouts over and over and wear the same clothes over and over, and when I fell out of order I would fall into such deep depressions I would close myself off from any sort of interaction with the world and I would just snap.

Updos And Down Dogs: On Meeting Yourself. Click To Tweet
___

I know exactly when the turning point happened: it’s after I started doing yoga with mirrors in front of me. These mirrors, they weren’t like the ballet mirrors, forced upon me and picking apart my every move. These mirrors stood there with a smile, completely optionally allowing me to face myself and only myself with no outside dialogue to distinguish right from wrong.

I know exactly when the turning point happened: It’s when I started doing yoga that was different each time. It’s when the cueing that was funny and personal if flubbed, sequencing that fit the mood and themes of the day, classes in which I was guided on how to work with my body to find my individuality, not against my body to conform to a molded chorus line of asana.

I know exactly when the turning point happened: It’s when my eyes were opened to the fact that everyone’s hip joint moves differently, so not everything is one-alignment-fits all. It’s when teachers were allowed to ramble and quote and use phrasing unique to what resonated with their classes, use sanskrit if they liked (or not), use music if they liked (or not), sing if they liked (or not).

I know exactly when the turning point happened: It’s after I was given guidance in kind words, in helping hands, in hundreds and thousands of poses and variations and modifications so I could be okay with both my strengths AND my weaknesses. Because how do we HONESTLY know that feeling of true triumph we can count on if we just homogeneously flow through it all; if we don’t know what it is to have those poses that are unfamiliar or change shape (literally and figuratively) day by day?

I know exactly when the turning point happened: It’s after I realized that a lot of the trendy classes being offered were actually an exclusive “in-crowd” who constantly tried to top one another with their impressive balances and their superhuman-like physical practice, a crowd that talked at and not to you, a crowd that left anyone below them in the dust.

It’s after I realized that absolutely NO yoga class is “too slow” if you are not afraid to sit with yourself.

No yoga class is 'too slow' if you are not afraid to sit with yourself. Click To Tweet

I know exactly when the turning point happened: It’s after I quit going to places that forced the same sequences over and over and over again, the places I did the same set of poses over and over and over and over again in class. They argued it was a way to build confidence by developing expertise. I will always argue it was a way of developing and breeding addiction in addictive personalities.

And so of course I understood the ice-sheet eyes. Of course those who are used to the same set of fast-paced frenetic sameness or competition based cliques “don’t like” other kinds of yoga. It’s addiction and fear talking. You genuinely cannot hold onto grudges or contempt when you have chosen to meet yourself.

Even the people who have hurt me, cheated me, taken advantage of me, situations that continue to cause me more stress than I feel I can sometimes deal with…I hold no lasting grudges, because I know that the only one who can keep me in that sameness is myself. I cannot control my circumstances but I sure as hell can control my level of awareness and my actions. Some people and occurrences drive me insane, sure, but I choose to see those instances as small dust speck under the blanket of a good heart or necessary hurdle or underlying loneliness and desperation.

yoga

I’ll shoot you straight: If you are resentful and do nothing to change either your exterior or interior, you have not met yourself. If you go back to the same coping mechanisms over and over again with the same results over and over again, you have not met yourself. If you keep opening the same doors over and over and OVER again, there’s a whole untouched hallway ahead of you – and you have not met yourself.

I sat cross-legged at the end of class, my elbows grazing the curves in my torso and my thumbs finding their way to my heart through the sweat and muscle and DD-heaviness of what my sports bra was trying with all its might to hold in place. I felt my arms at my sides, three times the size of my once wispy limbs; my legs muscular and probably even less ballet-friendly than almost a decade prior. I hadn’t felt so hot about myself all week, but I had reminded myself that being highly sensitive and proprioceptive is a good thing; I had not freaked out because I knew this too would pass.

I had trusted myself to not know everything that was coming.

I had trusted myself to learn, to listen, to be affected, I had trusted myself to cry and release when needed. I sat with my legs crossed in my skin-clinging workout clothes, ones that show every curve and every protrusion and every little dimple, I sat there with my hair tied tightly in that little tiny updo, and I trusted with all my might then let it go.
____

And I sit here now typing with my leggings still on and that bun still sitting atop my head, because I haven’t pulled it out, because it was never too tight in the first place. I sit here knowing my body will go through so many incarnations and I’m going to treat it like it’s royalty no matter what. I sit here thinking about the new quotes that were read, the jokes that were made, the funny analogies and the personalities in the room that were all of different levels and at times all did slightly different things.

I smile because I have not only a yoga practice on the mat but off the mat as well (life, yo) that strives to be authentic, layer-peeling, free of addiction and crutches and sameness, and I feel as if I am gliding down the hallway, door by door.

And I realize I am free, I am whole, I am love.

And I am not afraid.

dancing

I am free, I am whole, I am love. And I am not afraid. Click To Tweet

cover photo by the beautiful caddie hastings

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My Journey, My Self.

My Journey, My Self.

Body Community Love Motivation + Inspiration Shift Of Power Work

It was almost a decade ago but I hear the words like minutes have passed.

Sobbing on a friend’s couch, head buried into his sweatshirt-covered shoulder, after he called me up and told me I needed to take a second look at my life. I cried at the realization, I cried at the acceptance, I cried at the knowingness I’d buried and planted flowers over all along. I wanted to march over then and there, I said, and give an ultimatum.

The shoulder lifted and my friend looked me in the mascara-blurry eyes.

“We romanticize things in our minds. What it will look like, how it will be.

Don’t go over there now. Not like this. Romanticizing the drama always looks better in your head.

Sleep on our couch tonight so you won’t be alone.”

self love

I tell myself stories often, to my benefit and my detriment. It’s a part of me I’ve learned to work with, a part of me that used to take the reins. My storytelling can make proverbial mountains out of proverbial molehills if I let it. It can also make the little moments be the most life-changing. It’s the part of me that used to get high off of fantasizing about the wedding in the ranch, the full-time theatre career, two kids with my exact upbringing. It’s the part of me that now gets high off of small-but-huge risks, the stuff that might not look the most impressive but feels astronomical.

My entire twenties have seen social media morph from a way to connect and reconnect to a way to create and recreate. I’m of the very specific age group targeted in social media’s first boom: college kids in 2004. I can’t speak for my whole age group, but I feel as if we’re even more acutely aware than others of how much or not-much social media is playing a part in someone else’s life (and also more self-aware as to how much it plays in our own). Some older generations are trying to keep up even though they might not really care, and some younger generations have it as a crutch of what they’ve always known even though they might prefer to feign indifference. We all fall somewhere on the spectrum based on how much power we unknowingly give it. Even the nicknames used to describe our internet presence are rooted in our core desires to feel safe, sustained, and of lasting impact: Our feed. Our quilt. Our digital footprint or imprint.

We’re all guilty, whether we’re posting or commenting. We’re telling stories; stories that sometimes get muddled up with the truths. We project what we want perceived, and we fashion stories out of what we see. Because what social media does is tell a grand story if you let it, a life verified by the scroll of a page and a slew of comments reading “GOALS.”

This isn’t a post about social media, it’s a post about self-love. But I do think social media can be used as a vehicle for discovery, if we choose to see it that way. I do love sosch’, but I’ve found the way I’ve utilized it in the last couple years has greatly shifted from even a couple years back. I find that when it comes to social media, I learn the most about myself now not by posting, but by listening. I find the more I listen, the more I can self-regulate. Am I sharing because I have something to say – or because I feel uncomfortable not being a part of the collective noise? Am I posting because I am what I say – or because I am scared, lonely, or just got into a fight with someone and portraying otherwise helps me fake it till I make it? Do I need a reaction from anyone, or is this truly, honestly, just for myself? Am I opening up because I feel I must to fit in – or because it’s a small overflow of the gargantuan self love I’ve built within?

self love

Going into a new phase in life – a new year, a new job, a new relationship, a new decade – it brings up a lot. How honest have I been with myself along the way, and how have I risen from my own ashes? Have I addressed my underlying imbalances, or have I mistaken band-aids for white blood cells? Am I interested in lasting change, or am I just convincing myself I’m doing something to get there? I’ve never fully understood until now why New Years Resolutions and traditional goal-setting tactics never resonated with me, let alone worked. But I’m starting to think it’s because, deep down, I’ve always known that the mere act of checking something off a list will never get me that feeling I so desire: that feeling of being more full of life than I could possibly imagine.

Danielle LaPorte recently wrote a beautiful piece on self-love, saying that sometimes we “act” like we love ourselves so that we don’t have to change. A harsh reality to face, but one we must nonetheless (I urge you to go and read her words over here, they’re brilliant). Fake self-love can turn into a cop out for truly growing into the person you are meant to be to this world.

I’d like to add my own spin onto what D said…although it might not be the most flowery thing to read and definitely not the easiest. True self-love can only come when we lean into those areas of ourselves that make us uncomfortable, when we take full responsibility for the problem and full responsibility for the solution.

True self-love can only come when we take full responsibility for the problem + full responsibility for the solution. Click To Tweet

Sure, it’s easier to blame shit on your parents or exes or that punk boy in 7th grade gym class who told you to shave your legs. Sure it’s easier to find someone who will clean up the mess for you so you don’t have to touch the grime: friends, mentors, boyfriends, girlfriends, a book you read over the weekend and can quote ad-nauseum and leave it at that. “They say” that it’s important to spend some time learning who you are in this life. But what if that never happens? What if that time is spent lonely and longing, coming out on the other side no less answer-filled and no more yourself? It’s easier to place blame and agree to solutions someone else has outfitted.

But doing the work of living means doing the WORK. To not is to catch yourself in a booby trap. The bait is there, disguised as aid or sweetness or ease or love. It takes a strong will to resist, because man does it look enticing, and not at all dangerous at that. I used to think that the best things in life SHOULD be the easiest, the most carefree. Signs of struggle or lows were warning signs to get out. And, you know, sometimes they are. But it takes true exploration to be able to distinguish between red flags and the gifts of hard work and that special hybrid of both.

The best things in life, I’ve found, are never really easy. But what they are is right. Like the evening on my friend’s couch when, against my will, I came to the realization I’d been living with my eyes in the future for far too long. How things would be when XYZ happened. Checking off boxes and rushing to fill the next. Reveling in the comfort and ease of the familiar, too scared to venture into the unknown of what it would be like if I spent some time by myself – even though I was altering my needs to fit someone else’s, or altering someone else’s needs to fit my own, even though my belief-set was based in stories.

It was easier to stay where I knew I was loved enough. Because, you know, answers are never guaranteed – and fulfillment is less than a speck on a hazy horizon. Why venture toward something you can barely see?

self-love

I’m not of a religion that was brought up with the new testament, nor am I even slightly religious to begin with (spirituality ≠ religion, in my book)But religions are collections of stories, I’ve realized, and boy do I love a good story. One of my favorites…I can’t tell you where this appears or in what context. I can’t tell you the players and I can’t set the scene. But I know the lesson, I know the epiphany, and it’s what I love most. And when it comes to the words, I say it’s not just about the love we give and receive to and from others, it’s about the love we show ourselves.

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

Sometimes, to protect, trust, and persevere means to forego what is applauded for what is true. Sometimes it means to let go of what is easy for what is right, even if it includes the tears, the loneliness, the confusion, and the doubts; especially if it includes the tears, loneliness, confusion, and doubts. It means going through those moments to realize you wanted the ranch wedding because of the story it told of what was on the outside, not what is on the inside – and the inside is SO much better. It means going big and falling flat on your face, or actually succeeding and having the epiphany that you’ve been tied to a former version of yourself all along.

It means going on a wild, wild ride of brilliant colors and moments all sewn together by a ragged, sturdy, tear-stained thread that makes us whole and creates our real quilt and footprint. It means being brave enough to walk towards the hazy speck, and to unearth what’s underneath the flowers, and to know you are never and will never be alone, no matter what you find.

Sometimes, to protect, trust, and persevere means to forego what is easy for what is right. Click To Tweet

I tell myself stories often, to my benefit and to my detriment. It’s the part of me that gets high off of small-but-huge risks, the stuff that might not look the most impressive but feels astronomical. Resolutions and goal-setting are secondary – always, always secondary to the quest for fulfillment and self-expression. This year, let your lists and checkboxes come to you, magically appearing and checking themselves off along the way. Trust that the journey to self-love will bring you more than you could ever imagine – and the story it tells, I promise, will be a good one.

katie_horwitch_WANT

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Openness: On 29.

Openness: On 29.

Body Community Love Motivation + Inspiration Shift Of Power Work

I’ve always done pretty well with expected change. You know, the kinds of life shifts and milestone moments that are “supposed to happen,” and usually happen to big groups of people at the same time. Elementary to Middle to High school to College, ends of classes or completions of projects and beginnings of new ones.

It’s the more murky, vague change I’ve always been hypersensitive to. The kind of change you don’t know to expect, or the change that’s a slow gradual build instead of hard and fast shift. Mostly, the change that’s in my control. Writing it out, I think it’s more about the fact that I have a choice in the matter that unsettles me; that they’re very well might be a right and wrong and I might have chosen wrong. The fact that I could’ve done things differently, and that the responsibility is all on me.

This week, I celebrated my 29th birthday. So very young in the grand scheme of things – in the words of my friends, still such a baby. And yet this space in time feels so old and young at the same time.

The last few birthdays of mine have felt a touch melancholy. It’s a hard sort of unexpected melancholy to explain, really, as I don’t feel any more impermanent on birthdays that I usually do and certainly don’t feel the least bit sad. It’s not me getting a “sense of my mortality” or “feeling old” – it’s just been a soft nagging in the background that maybe I should be doing things differently, or maybe where I am is not enough. A nagging that decides to show up on this one day of the year, just for me alone.

I’m being honest with myself, it’s probably been rooted in expectation: the expectation that the amount of direction and focus I appear to have on the outside should be matching the amount of direction and focus I feel on the inside. The expectation that with each passing year, I should be older, wiser, more certain. Instead, there’s been an unclear curiosity lingering, a question-marked Ellipses.

…?

This year feels different. We all go through these moments, usually many times in our lives, in which we’re certain that THIS shift is the one that will change everything – only to find out later that all along we really knew nothing. And in this moment, I’m feeling this is one of those shifts.

Each birthday in my adulthood, the feeling of “something more” has loomed over me; faint glimmers of a new chapter showing themselves in those quiet moments when I’ve thought that “something more” could be “something now.” In a sense, I’ve been waiting for a next chapter to begin without even finishing the last.

Today, however, feels like I am reading the final page in the chapter I’ve been reading for so long; finally hitting that half-blank page that signifies it’s time to start a new one.

“Openness” is the word that keeps coming to mind.

I left the gym the morning of my birthday after being showered with such love – more than I could wish for – and almost instantaneously, started to feel that perfunctory, dull melancholy sit in, like sugar crash after too much frosting.

And just as it was beginning to get settled, I shook my head like they do in cartoons when someone “snaps out of it.” What are you doing, Katie? My internal voice said. None of that today. You know better. You don’t need that.

And I smiled and I thought – well that’s never happened on this day before.

Opening to the joy. Opening to what Is. 

Happy birthday to me.

Open to the joy. Open to what Is. Click To Tweet

Sometimes we need those moments of despair. If you know me (and if you’re reading this, you certainly do), you know I’m a fan of that emotional swimming pool. But sometimes we fabricate those moments for ourselves simply because the strong emotional weight feels strangely good resting on our chest. It’s taken me a while to learn this, and even longer to be able to distinguish between true lows and the lows I’m fabricating for myself in order to latch onto something strong. Trial and error and awareness. Over and over and over again. Training myself to be unafraid to dive in and examine the Whys behind each What.

Sure, the day-to-day still affects me on a very deep level. But on this birthday, I feel there’s a sense of what’s bullshit and what’s worth it that I’ve got a handle on now…a sense of how completely stupid and time-wasting some of these micro-worries are.

[Like the fact that I forgot my windscreen for my spin class microphone and my manager reprimanded me and is now disappointed in my lack of professionalism (spoiler to self: she’s not). Like the fact that I didn’t let the guy who was trying to cut me off weasel his way into my lane and he gave me a rude honk and now I’m a horrible person (spoiler to self: I’m not). Like the fact that I don’t fit into those dresses I’ve been hanging onto for a decade now under the assumption I’d fit into them as a not-19 year old and if I didn’t there’d be something wrong with my body (spoiler alert to self: there’s not).]

I am still abnormally sentimental, of course – but there is an openness now to letting go of what no longer serves me. The self-reprimanding. The clothes I haven’t worn. The body hangups. The questioning if everything will all go away. To me – today at least – it all feels so juvenile.

I know I’ll always be nostalgic and I’ll always question if I did the right thing. I’ll always go through waves of feeling great and feeling lousy, because I’m only human, only a set of atoms and chemicals that have their own delicate balance. 

But the way I’ve attached it all to my ego in the past – THAT’S what feels so stale. None of that’s about me, really. None of that is my character. It’s the role I’ve chosen to play and the script I’ve given myself to read. And none of it is permanently etched into my story.

I am open to the expansive openness ahead of me, even though I haven’t a clue as to what it looks like. That’s part of what makes this birthday different, I think. The lack of expectation and the lack of ellipse’d question marks. Instead, this birthday feels like a string of commas that’s about to begin – a huge run-on sentence ended with an exclamation mark, maybe two, until the next warped sentence structure comes in.

Living in the constant, hesitant question mark has become exhausting. I’m just tired of it. I know what it’s like now, and I’m so happy and grateful for that…

…But oh, am I ready for that big run-on sentence.

I’m ready to say Yes to what the universe throws my way as long as that Yes resonates with my heart. I’m ready to teach and be taught, internalize but watch from the outside too. I’m ready to plow forward into life like one big experiential experiment, because really, why not? I am so confident in what I know but I think I’m even more confident in what I don’t. The pressure I used to feel of needing to inspire or lead has slowly fallen away over the last almost 3(!) decades so much so that now it’s just a few flakes barely on the surface. Trial and error and awareness. Over and over and over again. Training myself to be unafraid to dive in and examine the Whys behind each What.

I’ve learned that it’s okay for me to just Be, and that to just Be Me is more than great. That I can trust what I’ve been given to do its thang while I’m merely its vehicle for transportation. All of this, I’ve happily found, takes away the questions of if I’m choosing wrong, or if I’ve got it together, or if I’m enough or not enough.

What I’ve learned is that there isn’t “enough” or “not-enough.” There’s just the now, the mix of knowing and not knowing, and the choice of how to place that within my ego. Beyond that, it’s only about being open to what is yet to come, and letting my heart turn the page.

I’m very happy with where and how I am, and that is more than I could ask for. Onward, 29.

I've learned that it's okay for me to just Be, and that to just Be Me is more than great. Click To Tweet


pose: fish pose (my favorite throat/heart opening pose)
photo: corntnee loren brown for the chalkboard mag

 

what being a fitness teacher has taught me.

what being a fitness teacher has taught me.

Body Community Motivation + Inspiration

EVERY day, I “brave” the 10 (the freeway or I-10, for those who don’t speak L.A. Transit fluently) heading from the Westside to Downtown Los Angeles. And while I always get met with trembling voices and wide eyes when I casually mention this, I actually love that time in the car. But that’s another post for another day….

I’ve started teaching a new class, one that begins at the bright n’ early hour-ish of 6:30am at Equinox DTLA. Apparently, my first class sold out by noon that previous Thursday. And as I approached the overpass at Crenshaw Blvd the following Friday morning, I let the beachy vibe take a backseat and really sat with this kind of crazy notion from a city girl perspective. I’d never taught there before, nothing more than a one-time sub slot with ten people in the room. I’m going to be transparent here: while I know it’s a popular time slot, I was also receiving comments about how “excited” people were to have me on the schedule there, regardless of time. Which was flattering, but confusing. They don’t even know me, I thought… Continue reading

the stories we tell.

the stories we tell.

Community Love Motivation + Inspiration Shift Of Power Work

My friend Chris once told me that when he felt a moment of breakdown, he repeated to himself, “The emotions of the situation are not the reality of the situation.”

My friend Jen Pastiloff says to me one evening, “Katie.  Are you telling yourself a story? You’re telling yourself a story.”

I felt worthless after breakups, spending nights collapsing onto the floor in hysterics, in fetal position, carpet soaked with tears and heartache. Gasping for breath on a friend’s shoulder, being told “Don’t go over there now. Not like this. Romanticizing the drama looks better in your head. Always.”

I tell myself stories often. I over analyze, I think the world of everything and therefore expect my every breath is picked apart because I am just so absolutely obvious that how can it not be? I pause a second too long or trip over a word and think my reputation has been redefined for the worse.   have Principal’s Office Syndrome. Although a smart girl, friends with everyone, in love with my teachers, I would be called to the office as a little girl and assume the worst. My mind would race and I would tell a story. I would remember an instance I was standing next to a girl who was being catty to another classmate and tell myself I was being called in to be suspended – and in my mind, what was worse was that all my teachers who I viewed as mentors and daytime parents would hate me.  I would be hated.  I’d lose my place.  I became a very good storyteller.  I got better as I got older. I drove myself mad.

Everything was more dramatic in my head.

And sometime after the principal’s office and after the breakup and after the nonsense I started to slowly realize the drama was so engrained in me I could either let it control me or use it to serve me.

Sometime around when I started doing yoga regularly and found friends who not only served as dear friends but as inspiration and mentors – sometime around that time, I started not to take the story as the truth.

I started to probe and feel okay doing so.

I started to analyze people and situations and moreover myself.  Former and present self alike.  I started to take the emotions of the situation and probe as to why they were happening within the reality of the situation.

And then something happened. I started to want to understand and be understood instead of agree and be agreed with. I would look at the actuality of the situation and the players in this mad game and delicately peel away the cocoon threads protecting the heart of the matter.

I still tell myself wild stories that I am thought ill of, that I am screwing up, that I am really just breezing through this all too easily and am bound to end up back at square one with nothing. That someone is onto me; that I know exactly what I am doing but really I don’t know shit. That someone is always more qualified, more talented, more beautiful, more special and well-liked. Just More.

And when I tell myself this story I take the drama, I take the romanticized truth in my head and I ask WHY.

And usually the story I tell is rationally improbable.  And much of my story is rooted in a desire to love and be loved or just simply a surface-level reaction.

A premonition that I might have something to be sorry about.

“You will be walking some night
in the comfortable dark of your yard
and suddenly a great light will shine
round about you, and behind you
will be a wall you never saw before.
It will be clear to you suddenly
that you were about to escape,
and that you are guilty: you misread
the complex instructions, you are not
a member, you lost your card
or never had one. And you will know
that they have been there all along,
their eyes on your letters and books,
their hands in your pockets,
their ears wired to your bed.
Though you have done nothing shameful,
they will want you to be ashamed.
They will want you to kneel and weep
and say you should have been like them.
And once you say you are ashamed,
reading the page they hold out to you,
then such light as you have made
in your history will leave you.
They will no longer need to pursue you.
You will pursue them, begging forgiveness.
They will not forgive you.
There is no power against them.
It is only candor that is aloof from them,
only an inward clarity, unashamed,
that they cannot reach. Be ready.
When their light has picked you out
and their questions are asked, say to them:
“I am not ashamed.” A sure horizon
will come around you. The heron will begin
his evening flight from the hilltop.”

~Wendell Berry