As I continue this journey of "un-tucking my fringe", it has become mostly about looking back and understanding when and why I tucked it in the first place. Good thing I have an excellent memory. I can remember back to a very early age of 4 years old and maybe even a few memories of when I was three. I was the first born and the first grand on my mom's side. Immediately, I was placed on this pedestal of being a good little girl. Even in my baby book, my Mom wrote about me either being a proper little lady or recounting the story of me throwing a fit in the grocery story with my grandma, which over the years has become urban legend of truth or fiction. So from a very early age I was competing for the positive reinforcement of attention. This shaped who I became. I began to compete in every aspect of my life from sports, school, friends, boy friends and work. It was the only way I knew how to get attention and affirmation. Doing well in sports and school meant my parents were proud and I sure wouldn't want to embarrass them like I did with the grocery store story. In my first job, I strived to be the best and to this day, they still tell stories of how fast I could wrap a case of potatoes at Kenyon's Place. Fast forward and I was sprung head first into adulting. I was married and a working mom at 22. In the many roles I played I was competitive with myself and possibly everyone around me. Even going through a divorce at 24 with a 2 year old, in my mind was a competition. I will do this better than others by making sure that we stay friends and co-parent our son so he doesn't have to be put in the middle. I would go out of my way to make sure that there was no drama when it came to where he lived, holidays, birthdays, his sporting events etc. In my career I ended up in an extremely competitive industry for many years. I pushed myself hard. I was classified as an over-achiever by many and won awards for "Most Professional". I didn't see it that way. It was survival. With every new accomplishment, I was that 4 year old, seeking affirmation. And so on and so on it went.
Then, a chance encounter with yoga. It was all very new and strange to me at first. I had the most difficult time calming my mind, but physically I felt better almost immediately. Each week the teacher would ask me, how my back pain was and each week I could tell her it was less and less. In addition to the reduced pain, I was sleeping without sleep aides for the first time in a few years and I was able to handle stress better. These things happened naturally and subtly. I spent less time numbing in front of the TV and more time excited to work on my photography and being out in nature. I became happier and wanted to have more fun. I was open for new experiences and I was present. My husband noticed the change even before I did. If I had a tough day and found it challenging to go to yoga, he was there to tell me to go because he knew it would make me feel better. He was right.
This shift I was experiencing was gradual, but completely holistic. A natural uncovering of my true self. Uncovering the gift that was buried deep within my being. My mind opened to new ways of thinking. My body felt better than it ever had. My heart was open possibly for the first time in my life. Although, it felt 100% natural, it was also at times quite painful. This letting go of the layers from under which I lived for so long, released a weight, but also exposed some very deep wounds. If I could create a visual for you, it would be like living in the bottom of a deep pit for so long, constantly fighting to get to the light at the top and falling back down only to try again and again. When finally reaching the top, you feel free, but maybe you left something behind that you must go back to retrieve. Every time I would come to my yoga mat, I would make it out of the pit and then my life would pull me back in, time and time again. Until... The moment when I realized, I had accomplished so much by getting out, that nothing in the pit was worth going back for again and again and again. The vicious cycle of the ego trying to remind me that the girl in the pit was who I really was and if I was out of the pit, then I wasn't "doing" enough.
Guruji K. Pattabhi Jois is quoted as saying, "Practice and all is coming." My life is a daily practice. For me it has been about learning to Un-tuck my fringe. Let my fringe fly without worrying what someone else will think. It's been about staying true to my authentic self, not the person my world created me to be. It's about living wholeheartedly and daring greatly. I don't suppress the qualities that make me who I am. I am still a type A, competitive, people pleaser, with sight OCD. But I am also, naturally simple, caring and patient. I have a deep wisdom and a strong intuition and I'm very much at peace with who I am. I am enough.
My hope for all of us is that we can take time to give ourselves a pat on the back and a hug and then turn to someone else and do the same. Letting them also know, they are enough.