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Just Breathe

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anxiety

#metoo

Me too. You as well, right? And no one is surprised.

Correction: no victims are surprised.

And it’s disgusting. It’s awful. So sad, and so disheartening. Yet so real.

So. Real.

As a 27 year old woman, I lock my car doors as soon as I’m safely inside the car. When I’m walking down the street, I never listen to music because I want to be able to hear my surroundings. I never shy away from eye contact with strangers, no matter how untrustworthy they seem, so that they think I’m fearless. I’ve called friends or family members as I’m walking somewhere at night countless times to calm my fears. I feel more comfortable walking beside a man at night. I never look around if I’m not sure where I’m going, instead I take small glances at signs or look it up on my phone so that I avoid looking vulnerable to someone who knows the area better than me. I speed walk past alley ways, and choose longer routes on busier streets rather than dark short cuts.

This is the every day norm for me. Every woman I’ve ever discussed this with agrees. It’s sad when you have a conversation with a friend and connect a little more because you’re comparing ways you both steer clear of potential sexual abusers.

The even worse part is that it’s not in our heads. We live like this, in perpetual fear, because it’s happened to us, to our friends, and our family.

In university I was walking down the street to my friend’s house after class when a man stepped out on the side walk in front of me and flashed me. It was a busy enough street that I couldn’t quickly step into the road, and there was no where else to go. I was trapped. There were another couple men near enough to him that they seemed like they were together and there was no way I could physically fight 3 grown men. I was terrified. I was disgusted. I was so worried they would reach out and grab me, pulling me off the sidewalk. I ended up speed walking into the middle of the street to get away and basically jogged down the hill, perpetually looking back to make sure I wasn’t being followed.

I’ve had cars slowly drive beside me as I’m walking somewhere. Men inside will usually stay hidden and say awful things through the open crack of their window.

Being catcalled is so common I almost didn’t mention it.

Being groped in bars, changing my outfit twelve times before feeling good about it, and then having one of these situations happen causing me to wish beyond anything that I was in baggy sweatpants and looked like crap. Because then maybe I could walk down the street invisibly.

I could list situations and every day habits like these for another novel-length blog post. But you get the point. It’s relentless, all too common, and too okay.

I consider myself a feminist, and I’m proud of it. Every human is deserving of equality, safety, and love. There has been a lot of media covering the #metoo stories, issues, and awareness. It’s been a phenomenal break of societal norms and I couldn’t be more supportive.

However, one of my worst situations of being sexually assaulted was by a woman. Sexual misconduct doesn’t always happen from man to woman. I worked in a shared office building on a floor where different small companies would rent their office space. There was a woman who took a liking to me in what I thought was a work-appropriate way. Conversations in the kitchen during coffee refills, hellos and how are yous in the halls.

She started to come to my office and would end up sitting there talking for long periods of time. Too long. She never picked up on hints to leave, no matter how blunt I had to be. It got to a point where my bosses were making comments and I made it clear to them that she was an uninvited guest and to please come into my office with a pretend problem whenever you heard her near. I began closing my office door, but she would walk right in. Whenever she saw me speaking to someone else in a hall or at their desk, she would come and put her arm around me and pull me in close. I pulled away each time, had very closed off body language and even completely ignored her a couple times since I was in the middle of important conversations with other people. I also thought that maybe if I didn’t give her attention she would let me be.

I started to avoid the hallway her office was in, even though that meant I had to walk all the way around the floor in order to get to the kitchen. Whenever I was speaking with someone near her office, I would walk away as soon as I heard or saw her coming.

One day I went to the front to meet a client to have him sign some documents. My bosses were out for a meeting so I used one of their offices, which was bigger, and also closer to reception – and around the corner from her office. As I was shaking my client’s hand and saying hello, I felt someone grab my bum and squeeze. I immediately turned around to see the same woman pulling her arm back and grinning at me. I was in shock and disbelief, but in that moment I needed to focus on my client. I was completely embarrassed but I wasn’t sure if my client saw what had happened. I finished my client meeting and immediately felt like I wanted to cry. I felt so gross, and was in a very depressed mood. It was lunch time and I had no appetite. I couldn’t focus on work, so I went into my boss’s office and briefly explained what had happened. I told them I didn’t know what to do, and I didn’t know how I felt, but I needed to do something because I did know that this wasn’t ok.

All I wanted was for this woman to never talk to me again and to leave me alone. The situation was explained to her boss, and they were both told to leave me alone. This request was not granted, and the woman appeared in my office, closing the door behind her, the very next day. She started yelling at me because her boss made her feel like “a gross pedophile”. I let her vent, since I was completely trapped, and then told her that I have no control over what her boss tells her but she made me feel extremely uncomfortable and her actions were not wanted nor were they appreciated. She then tried to make me feel guilty about getting her in trouble.

She left my office at last and I felt defeated. I wondered if I had been too nice to her originally, and that made her think she could act this way. I know I don’t dress in revealing ways, and I never have. So why does this woman, and why do all of these men make me into a sexual object that they’re allowed to touch, or talk to in inappropriate ways?

That’s what I still don’t understand.

This is a small part of my story and hopefully it’ll help you free yourself from your guilt, and your uncertainty about your story too.

We all think “Is this enough to be considered sexual misconduct”? Well, did you feel scared, or disheartened? Did you feel lessened, or uncomfortable? Unless you wanted it, it’s enough. And it’s too much.

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When life gives you Monday…

Today did NOT go like this. There was no sparkling to be had, no glitter left lying around.

Anxiety comes and goes in waves. Sometimes they’re just creeping up on the sand enough to touch your feet, making sure you know the ocean of fear is still right there. Other times it’s a bigger wave that catches you at the knee and pushes you over. And sometime it’s a massive wave, one that pulls you under tumbling around, unsure which way is up.

Today is a massive wave.

Even when I’m feeling so anxious that I can’t talk on the phone, I still resist taking calming medication, and I resist changing anything for or because of the anxiety. This isn’t always healthy though, and today I had to push my competitive instincts and pride aside to not only take that extra help from medication but also to call in sick to work.

I had a really great day on Saturday with some people I am so thankful to call best friends, and some others that I’m really excited and happy to call new friends. If anyone had met me for the first time on Saturday, they would have no idea anything else is going on inside that brain of mine, aside from a normal, fun, 26 year old’s thoughts.

But then Sunday rolled around and I was hungover in the morning. Whenever I’m sick, hungover, injured – anything that makes my body vulnerable – anxiety creeps in. As if vulnerability is a crack in the ceiling, allowing water to seep in, allowing waves to form and knock me over.

On Sunday I couldn’t talk to anyone. My own mother called me and I rejected the call, texting her instead to say “I’m ok but I’m super anxious, I’ll probably call you back tomorrow.” – luckily I have an amazing mother who completely understands. Or at least really tries to.

One of the hardest things is that “completely understanding” would mean having the same diagnosis with similar triggers and reacting in the same ways. Unfortunately to find someone like this is near impossible. I understand it’s a foreign world to many, but I’m always so appreciative when people try. Ask me questions, try to understand my thought process, lack thereof, or intense fear and worry.

Today though. Today is Monday. When I went to bed anxious last night I decided that tomorrow would be a new day and I would be productive at work. Well, I ended up going to babysit before work, forced some cereal down my throat and realized that I am 100% not okay. When my favourite little kid can’t make me laugh, I know I’m not okay. I dropped him off for a day of fun with friends and he gave me such a long, warm, loving hug which made me truly smile for the first time all morning.

Anyone who knows me well knows that one of my favourite things on this planet is hugs. You can say so much in a hug. Language doesn’t matter. You just close your eyes and connect with another person in an intimate, vulnerable way. You can tell a lot about a person from their hug, and you can create a lot of smiles giving them. My little friend who still counts his age in single digits knows this without me telling him anything, and boy oh boy his hugs are the best!

I decided I wasn’t in a state of mind where I could accomplish anything at work today, never mind answering a phone, or even driving there, so I emailed my bosses and told them I wasn’t going to make it in. But what do you say? I’m not physically sick, I don’t have anything that I can get a doctor’s note for – in fact going to a doctor may trigger everything further. It’s my first time ever staying home from work solely due to anxiety but I’ve certainly left work because of it, countless times. I’m starting to get better at knowing when to push my pride aside and giving in to not being mentally okay every single day.

It’s hard not to hate Generalized Anxiety Disorder with every part of my being, and in other posts I’ve mentioned some great positives that I’m fortunate enough to have received, learned, or realized due to my diagnosis and struggles. However today I write honestly in my present (frustrated) feelings.

It’s exhausting being anxious all the time – physically exhausting because your emotions and sometimes your physical body have gone into overdrive. I imagine most people with anxiety are the same in the sense that even though I might go to bed smiling tonight, it doesn’t mean I’ll wake up smiling tomorrow. I will likely be anxious again tomorrow but the waves will be smaller than today. Each day this will progress until they’re just touching my toes. And that’s where it will stay until the next wave breaks.

Today a wave knocked me down and pulled me under. I couldn’t just get up, and swim away – I was caught underneath, spinning around, helpless. I needed helping hands, understanding hands, loving hands, to help pull me out of the water. And for all those hands, I am absolutely grateful.

Let me tell you a story

I usually live an extremely busy life. I love it and I know it will never change. It’s part of my personality; who I am. I get restless quickly and keeping busy is fun to me. However, it’s only natural that every once in a while I need to take some time for myself and just be. I don’t usually realize how busy I am until someone points it out to me. I also don’t do it on purpose – I just love using all of my non-working time to do things that I love. This to me is living life to the fullest. But it’s not always so easy.

When I take time for myself it gives a chance for some weird emotions to surface. It’s also when I’m even more hard on myself than normal. I’m sitting here writing this in what feels like a super weird emotional state – almost ready to cry, a little inspired, angry at myself, laughing at myself, but also relaxed and a little anxious.
When I have “lazy” days, evenings, afternoons, or mornings, I get really anxious even if there are no apparent triggers. Aside from being a very energetic person, this is a huge reason why I stay busy – as much as I want to, I won’t pretend it isn’t. But it also makes sense, think about it: when you go through something traumatic like a break up, or death, advice that’s almost always given is to stay busy and it will help you get through. This is true. It works. But only temporarily. It only works until you need that few hours of chilling on the couch – and then your brain has the opportunity to go nuts!
I’m sure we all know by now that anxiety is a daily struggle for me. It’s part of who I am, and I accepted that a long, long time ago. But this doesn’t make it any easier to deal with or handle. Much of what makes me anxious is a mystery, but a major trigger for me is relationships. Because boys are dumb.

Ha! I wish that was why. The real reason is that I’m terrified. I’m terrified all the time about a lot of things. Like relationships – mainly with potential boyfriends, but also with friends and family members.

Let me tell you a story. About three years ago, I was talking with this guy online (from one of those many apps we all know of). We talked for a while and I avoided meeting up with him twice. My anxiety was so bad that when I even thought about meeting him I couldn’t eat, and I felt like I was going to throw up. I gave in on the third ask to go out, and my thoughts going into it were this: “This guy seems like someone I would like. He’s athletic, smart, seems potentially funny, and he’s cute too! I’m going to make myself go on this date with him so I can prove my anxiety wrong, and win.” I’m not sure trying to beat my anxiety like it was a game was such a great approach, but to this day I’m proud of myself for following through.

On the day of, we were to meet at a restaurant at 2pm and I was great with this time knowing full well that I wouldn’t be able to eat, so I could say I already had lunch and wasn’t hungry. Already planning and worrying ahead. I stayed in bed all morning because my anxiety levels had shot through the roof. The date was fine, nothing amazing and nothing awful – and it turns out I wasn’t really attracted to him after all. However, mid-date he asked if I wanted to walk around… I said “Sure” – no emotion because moving sounded like an awful idea to me since I had JUST shaken my nausea. Not for long though! We proceeded onto the escalator and along came a huge wave of nausea. As if it were in slow motion I had this full vision in my head of me throwing up right on him, in front of tons of other people and being completely mortified. I stepped into the escalator, stepped off, and when he asked if I was ok, I stepped back on and said “yeah!”. We both (I’m sure) knew I wasn’t exactly ok. I immediately asked where the washroom was and beelined to it as soon as I stepped off the escalator.

Well, it was a good thing I didn’t have an appetite earlier because I threw up the contents of my stomach and then some, and came out pretending to be freshly powdered, if that’s a thing. To this day I have no idea if he thinks I was running away from him, if he knows I threw up, or if he thinks I took a poop.

I couldn’t handle any more of this and after another 10 minutes I (more bluntly than it sounded in my head) asked where he parked. And thus ended the first date I ever puked on.

Maybe you relate. Maybe you’ve been through this exact thing. Maybe you think this is hilarious.

I’ve told this story plenty of times before and every time without fail it comes out like I’m a comedian standing on stage telling a funny story to the crowd. That’s how I want it to sound. Might as well make it funny, right? I truly do believe that laughter is the best medicine, but this digs a little deeper than that. So this version is more matter-of-fact than funny.

I joke all the time that I’ll just be a crazy dog lady and travel the world whenever I can, and eventually build a life with adopted kids. In all truthfulness, this is the worst case scenario of my future that runs through my head to make myself feel better when I’m feeling down or off or out of sorts. It rolls off my tongue like a well-oiled joke when I say it out loud, but in reality I’ve thought this through and come up with the idea that this wouldn’t be such an awful life so I need to chill out and stop worrying that I’ll puke on every potential suitor. Easier said than done.

I share this because I was just sitting here thinking pretty negatively about myself and then the angel on my other shoulder chimed in and said “Hey! There’s NO WAY you’re the only one who is a) going through what you’re going through, and b) struggling in the same areas of life.” And I think the angel has a point here. So rather than sitting here dwelling on things that I wish I could be courageous enough to do, I choose to share my thoughts, feelings, and struggles with the hope that someone reading this will relate. And whether you relate with a grin and a nod as you exit this webpage, or whether you relate with a message to me, it is a relation nonetheless – and that is two thirds of ‘relationships’.

At the least, enjoy the things you may find easy or stress free. These are the things we take for granted and it may not be so easy for others.

What the actual fuck

What the actual fuck is going on in this world. I’m just over here in Canada sitting on my couch with my favourite blanket missing my cat – and the world of social media is exploding.

Of all the beautiful and awful articles I’ve read about the election, the thing that has been repeated many times and has stuck in my mind is “hate won”. Hate can only win if you let it win. Sure, things went awry, not the way a lot of people wanted it to. It’s truly sad, and emotions and feelings are more than allowed. But hate will not win unless hate is given the chance to prosper.

Between the U.S. election, the first 80 pages of Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer, this cold I can’t shake, missing my little fluffy companion of 17 years, and other pieces of life’s haunting bullshit, I sit here and think “What the actual fuck”. No period, no exclamation point, no semi colon to finish the thought.

I don’t know. I just don’t know.

That is probably the universe’s biggest fear of all – the unknown. You can only say that knowing is worse than not knowing if you know. But if you don’t know, the unknown is worse. There are no facts, no one to blame, no one to champion, nothing. Everything is in question. There are only possibilities, ideas, thoughts. Nothing is set in stone.

I sat here on this same couch a few nights ago with mint tea in hand and thought about my life and my future. It’s not an easy thing to think about – I think a lot of us (myself included) are guilty of keeping ourselves busy to avoid these ‘big questions’. Because after about 3 minutes of contemplating my choices, thoughts, state of mind, finances, job, friends, family – I thought “What the actual fuck”.

Then today happened. Which actually started yesterday because yesterday I woke up with a cold. It progressed throughout the day to the point that I taught an evening yoga class through a haze of Tylenol cold and too much tea, and hit the couch as soon as I got home. Today I stayed home from work because I felt awful and needed the day to mend. I forced myself to rest, forced myself to stop thinking about work, forced myself to consume all of the vitamin c, ginger, juice, tea, water, and soup.

Earlier today, I was laying on this same couch about to take a much needed nap when my phone dingled with a new text. This is what it said: “Hey babe, just wanted to tell you that I miss your face. It’s been a horrible two weeks here for me. Out of all the people I know you would understand most. Been having daily panic attacks, feeling so beaten down. I just wanted to let you know that thinking of you and your strength with your own anxiety is literally what has gotten me out of bed every morning.”

This text that dingled my attention away from napping, really got to me. Again, I found myself thinking “What the actual fuck”. How could someone so amazing, someone who everyone loves and wants be around, someone who is so strong and happy all the time be a) so down on herself and going through such a rough time, b) inspired by MY strength, and c) so oblivious to her absolute beauty through and through! I was so shocked. I mean, DUH we’re all humans and we’re all way harder on ourselves than we should be. But seeing someone who is basically family to you go through a rough time is just as hard if not harder than going through a rough time yourself.

There were many loving things shared, as this is one of my dearest best friends, but this last bit that I said to her is what I need to share with all of you:

“You’re the definition of a beautiful human, an amazing friend, selfless, hilarious, sensitive. Never doubt your own amazingness – it may seem (to you) to falter at times but it’s still there. It’s just hiding behind the fear, anxiety, uncontrollable awful that some of us, like you and I, have to deal with on the regular. As long as you believe your strength can pull your amazing self back through that veil, you can and you will. Every single time. Don’t forget that.”

Don’t Forget that! You’re beautiful because you’re YOU. You’re beautiful because you fight, because you’re strong, and you’re funny. You’re so much more beautiful than you think you are.

I know in my soul that that this beautiful human I speak of is being brought down by some sort of negativity around her. The same as this Western world right now since the election (perhaps it’s just my friend groups who are angered and sad and depressed by the results, but this is what I see). The same as women trying to live their every day lives in the “fair and equal” place we call home. The same as my cat’s passing after 17 years of companionship broke my heart and left me lonely. The same as society’s beauty standards (for males and females) existing. How can I help this negativity disintegrate?!

A few nights ago when I was sitting on this couch and thinking “What the actual fuck”, I proceeded to take a sip of tea, stare at the wall and think “I don’t know what this feeling is but I know I don’t like it and I need to fix it. I need to work on myself as a person so I can grow and accomplish and feel sure. So that is what I will do. I will work on myself. Starting now.” – Period. End point. Decision made.

And then today I receive a simple text message in the middle of my day that inspired me to be BIG. To think big. To do big. To want big. To make big things happen, to not settle. Because in that moment I received that text, I had accomplished a huge ongoing life goal of mine. I want people to feel genuinely loved. I want people to feel inspired. When found in a bad situation or experience, I want people to find the positive side of things. I want people to believe in themselves and their strengths. I want the definition of beauty to be about the whole person, not how much that person looks like a model from a (photoshopped) magazine.

Ultimately, I want to spread love, strength, and light.

And that happened. This person who I see as such a beauty – such a genuine, beautiful, intelligent, hard-working, funny, caring person – she believed in herself because she was inspired by me. She felt loved and never judged by me, and she felt the magnitude of her own strength.

And then I knew. I thought “What the actual fuck?! I did it!” Somehow I helped someone see their light. I couldn’t be more happy that she is coming out of this dark time and that I had something to do with helping her through it. I’m humbled and honoured, and still in shock but mostly just so happy I had a positive impact on someone who so completely deserves it.

I wouldn’t even know it if she hadn’t taken the time to tell me. I’ve always been a communicator. I write, I’ll talk your ear off, I’ll text you, e-mail you, always update you – and I know, oh boy do I know, that not everyone is like this. But if we could all take a little moment to share with someone our positive thoughts about them, I truly believe we can all benefit. In small ways, in big ways, it could save people’s lives in ways that we can’t begin to fathom.

By working on myself as a person – which I think is a never ending journey – I believe I’ll be able to inspire more, spread kindness further, help people believe in themselves more. I vow to reject hate.

This world needs a whole lot of things, but as humans, as a species we all need love to survive.

So let’s not let hate prosper but instead be beautiful, share your positive thoughts, always search for the brighter side of things, and let your light shine which in turn will help light up others.

In the meantime I’ll continue sitting here on this couch thinking “What the actual fuck” at life, at people, at this world. But most importantly, I’ll take a sip of tea, read a book and try to believe in my beauty as much as I want people to believe in theirs. And I will work on myself…whatever that means.

Spoken, Written, Heard, & Said

 

Let it go, they say.

Ignore it, they say.

But it sits there

In the middle of your brain

In the middle of your thoughts

And you just can’t stop

Repeating –

Just can’t stop

Repeating it.

It plays like a film reel in slow motion,

Pausing at the awful parts,

Skipping the good parts,

Leaving the bad parts.

Colourless.

Ugly.

Missing words and words remembered hurt.

Words written hover like a moth.

Words said hurt like a disease.

Words forgotten stab like a knife. .

Because they never leave.

They stay.

And sit.

And look at you.

And repeat.

And repeat.

And repeat.

Because people don’t think.

They don’t put on your shoes.

Or look in your mirror.

Or see that beautiful smile

Or hear that angelic voice.

People don’t think.

They only see themselves.

They only hear themselves

They only feel themselves.

Never stepping outside.

And hearing the birds in the distance.

Never sitting under the willow tree

And watching the sun rise

And watching the sun set.

It just passes them by,

Like strangers on the street,

Like words said to them,

Like feelings shared with them.

The sun does rise in colour.

In beautiful pinks and yellows.

But only for those who see,

And only for those who share their self.

And experience other people,

And hear nature speaking to the universe,

And feel the words being said to other people.

They feel the words being said to other people

Coming out of their very own mouth.

And it repeats.

And it repeats.

But in a different way than before.

It makes them stronger.

It gives them strength.

Strength to paint the film reel.

To paint the ugly, colourless film reel.

And they paint with energy.

They paint with love.

They paint with fearlessness.

Energy. Love. Fearlessness.

For everyone.

Because they’re selfless.

They’re strong.

Words will let them down

But they will rise to the occasion.

They will stand tall.

Hold their paintbrush high.

And paint with recklessness until the world is a rainbow.

Until the passive aggressive hatred through words

STOPS.

It needs to STOP.

People need to stop. Just stop.

Stand up. Look up. Look around.

Around themselves

To break the orbit of the Earth around their head.

For just a moment.

To see the sun rise

With a pink and yellow sky.

And paint a picture of a rainbow in that sky.

Big enough and bright enough for everyone else to see.

Everyone.

Everyone because everyone has a story.

Everyone has a past. A present. Feelings.

So now. Right now. Stand tall.

Lift your paintbrush and spread illumination around the universe

Like a smile after a long day that warms a heart.

And paint a motherf*cking rainbow.

  • – With love and only kind words,
  • Emilie

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Welcome to the World, Just Breathe Yoga

ForOneMinute

I went to the University of Ottawa for 4 years after high school. I loved everything about Ottawa and still do – I love visiting those places that carry memories in a way that put a smile on your face before you even realize you look like a happy goof to the world around you. Those are the places I miss, but I suppose it’s really the memories from those places that I miss.

University is certainly no walk in the park – growing from a teenager to a young adult is not an easy feat, and though I’m now 25 and perhaps considered a “real” adult, I am still growing and always will be.

In my second year of university I couldn’t do a lot of things I wanted to. Nothing was physically holding me back, except that it was. I was diagnosed with Anxiety when I was 11 years old. Though it’s considered a mental illness, I don’t consider it as such. Anxiety is not an illness to me, but a part of of who I am. Having anxiety is technically something off kilter with chemicals in my brain, and let me tell you it is certainly a struggle to live with. But you do. You just do.

In my second year of university my anxiety was the most intense it had ever been up until that point. I had my first panic attack and I am forever grateful for my darling roommate at the time for spooning me that night until I stopped crying, fell asleep, and as my alarm went off the next morning.

But there is so much more than just the bad stuff. The personality traits that I love most about myself come from my anxiety – my outrageous sense of humour, my unbelievably realistic ability to stand in anyone else’s shoes and feel with my whole heart and soul what they’re feeling, my uncanny ability to observe and respond to people’s feelings without their saying anything at all, and my ability to feel and explore every feeling of my own, to live every moment, and to appreciate the simplest things – such as waking up in the morning and feeling normal rather than feeling as though I will vomit at any moment, or waking up and actually vomiting.

Yes, life is tough – and don’t we all know it! But we find ways to get through. And for me anxiety has been, and most likely always will be, my hardest battle.

 

MomandS
My beautiful, supportive mother with my fluffy sister.

So – in my second year of university my beautiful, supportive mother gifted me a yoga mat during the holidays that came with a miniature DVD which had an extremely basic 20 minute yoga practice on it. As cheesy and drastic as I know this will sound, this little DVD and yoga mat changed my life.

I used to squeeze the mat diagonally in the small space between my bed, door, and desk, and I would place my laptop on the end of my bed for optimal viewing. I went through the practice and felt more calm than I had in months. I decided in that moment that I would do this 20 minute yoga practice every night before I went to bed. I promised myself that even if it was too late to function anymore, I could certainly spare 20 more minutes of sleep to feel this sense of calm.

 

Grad
Graduating from the University of Ottawa – my favourite picture which happens to have been taken by my spooning roommate’s mother. 

A couple months later the panic attacks had subsided, I was less of a hermit and able to enjoy social gatherings again. As a bonus, as I resurfaced in my friend groups people were complementing my physical appearance left and right. I felt better than ever.

And thus began my yoga addiction.

Two years after graduating, and having caught the travel bug, I ventured off on the trip of a lifetime (though I didn’t know it until I came home) to Montezuma, Costa Rica where I lived for one month among the most amazing group of women, and the most knowledgeable, inspirational, energetic, determined yoga instructor and teacher I have ever had.

Every single one of those people left a beautiful mark on my life, and after gaining many friendships, a ton of knowledge, a certified yoga teacher certificate, and an appreciation for the talent monkeys have for stealing objects from humans, I was off galavanting the Pacific coast for a couple more weeks before I returned home.

FirstClass
The first yoga class I ever taught. It was such an amazing feeling to be able to teach these two beautiful humans, and I’m so lucky to have shared this accomplishment with them. They are in Savasana after a successful 2 hour yoga practice.  

Everyone said I would come back to Canada and be “all zen-ed out”. In fact I felt a little bit sick of yoga, having done it for at least 6 hours a day for 4 weeks straight. I went back home and went wholeheartedly back into the exercise routine I had left behind – CrossFit and boxing. After about a month I started going to yoga classes again and that’s when I realized how well yoga co-exists with life. Rather than returning home in a zen state, I came home changed. I had found an even deeper appreciation for the practice, and had such a full brain but I didn’t know where I wanted to go with everything just yet.

Another year and a half later, I am now living in a different city than the one I grew up in, I have new friends, a new community, a completely different job, there have been changes within my family, I have more experiences under my belt, and I am finally really excited to announce that I will be a regular, 3-days-a-week yoga teacher. As I continue to explore life as a 25 year-old woman with much behind me and even more in front of me, I look forward to sharing my story with strangers and friends, and strangers who become friends, in my own yoga classes.

Crow pose

My main goal in life is to help people in any way possible; to be part of the reason someone’s smile appears on their face. Through Just Breathe yoga I intend to do so as often as possible. And who knows, maybe even be an inspiration to someone out there!

I hope to see you in my classes soon! Just Breathe.

From my mat to yours – Namaste.

 

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