7 till I’m 30

2016 was a rough year for me. I suffered illness after illness caused by lack of sleep due to major pain from an internal injury. For months, it hurt to breath, let alone do my two favorite things: singing and yoga. I struggled to continue to teach through the pain. The simplest of tasks was daunting– from washing the dishes to getting dressed, I had to prepare myself to breathe through the inevitable pain. I put a good face on it. Most of my students didn’t know how I was feeling or they only vaguely noticed that my energy and vivaciousness had decreased. I showed up to teach each day and counted the minutes until I could go home and lay on the couch again, too exhausted to move. There was nothing to be done but wait for my body to heal itself… but I’m not very good at being patient. The 8 months it took for me to become myself again felt like a lifetime. There were moments when I was lying on the floor at 3 am with tears streaming down my eyes from the electric shock of pain when I didn’t know how I could carry on with this life. But, slowly my body did heal. What once was debilitating pain turned into minor discomfort and then finally faded away. 

While I sincerely hope that I never have to live through such pain again, I can still feel gratitude for this period of my life. I now know true suffering and how difficult it is to function with that kind of pain. I have so much more compassion and understanding for those who suffer from chronic pain or depression. As a chipper optimist growing up, I never understood how someone could live under such a black cloud. I now get it. I lived through it. Thankfully, I survived. And I enter into my 30s the wiser for the trials I have endured. 

MosaicĀ 

  “She never seemed shattered to me. She was a breathtaking mosaic of the battles she’s won.” -Mark Baker  

This quote has carried me through the nightmare that has been this past year. A series of misfortunes moving between injury, illness, a more serious and debilitating re-injury, and back to illness again has left me feeling broken and raw. Unable to struggle through my usual active yoga practice and kept from letting my emotions out in song, I felt shattered. I truly believe that the difficulties I faced this past year were an outward manifestation of major emotional and psychological challenges I have been going through. I suppose this physical pain was necessary to force me to deal with what was going on inside; but it still left me feeling that I had lost myself. When I looked in a mirror, I didn’t recognize the girl looking back at me. During those dark times, this quote reminded me that I was not shattered. I was not broken. I was a mosaic of the battles I had won. There is beauty in the strength of overcoming one’s own limitations and psychological hurdles, even when it requires living a year of pain. Now, when I look in the mirror, I see the face of a warrior–tired from the fight, but victorious all the same.