This journey is so much more than I ever could have hoped for in my life. Six months ago, a friend had me join her for my first rest and restore class at Treetop. I have been hooked ever since, to the point that in the fall I want to take my teacher training.
Here is my struggle: I wasn't ever planning on being open and honest about my disease, I can hide it or stay home most of the time. Some days I'm not honest with myself about it either. My mind went so far as to call a well-respected Boston specialist a quack who gave me a bullshit diagnosis that means nothing. I have a chronic, sometimes debilitating, connective tissue disorder that comes with lots of pain and complications. I hate being open about how bad it can be and the assumption I have with such honesty. On the outside most days I don't look sick. If I have to use my handicap parking placard I have heard everything from " Who did you steal that from" to, " wow are you lucky to get front row parking" or, "people like you abuse the system, there are people who really need it". Knowing I'm sick doesn't come with a manual to explain how to make it better or self-love who you are. That includes the good days and bad.
My doctor wrote something very profound in my medical records, “I am so sorry that there is no drug right now which would cure or prevent pain in connective tissue disorders.” That was the first time that someone even said out loud, "this sucks". She also made this statement to me “This connective tissue disorder is NOT 'all in your head' despite your many varied symptoms over time. However, your head can contribute to your well‐being by providing a positive powerful attitude for living this and each moment as well as you possibly can.”
At that time, the thought of positive powerful attitude was laughable to me. I’ve always been a pessimist and the thought was how could I live each moment wanting to vomit from pain. How do I explain to my mind the simplest tasks in life cause unbearable pain, or the inability to even perform the task? Well, the answer was YOGA. I’m living more moments then I ever did diagnosed or pre-diagnosis.
I try to avoid feeling self-judged or criticized. I'm not sick enough, or worse if I say how I feel I'm too sick to enjoy the activities while I can. I fall prey to what I feel others place for restrictions, expectations and opinions of my body. I push hard to prove I'm not sick, mostly to feel better about my diagnosis. Finally, after six months, I am getting to a point where I want to change my mentality. I don't know how to honor a body that kicks my ass all the time and sometimes I take pleasure in fighting back. I admit it's not very kind to myself to take pleasure in kicking my own butt, however that's being authentic. I want to prove I'm not really sick so I push arm balancing and handstands. Someone who is sick couldn't possibly do that! That is the mentality I'm slowly letting go of. The organic nature of my flow and moving through grace and beauty is my new goal.
I have some struggles but I hope my yoga practice just means learning to love the hell out of myself. I'm not imprisoned in my own skin and mind, and yoga gives me tolerance for those feelings.