Here’s something that’s not really a secret. Sometimes happy people just annoy the shit out of me. Sometimes I wish the world would leave me alone in my misery without trying to fix it. Sometimes, I wish I could just sit in the darkness with my bottle of wine, ice-cream and bag of chips. Some days everything just makes me want to swear, and I wish I could crush someone else’s joy within my fist. It’s like I want to reach out with whatever is sitting in my heart and let that darkness just melt all over the world and the people around me. Oh yes, how great it would be if I could just do that, and then take everyone to the pub with me. Possibly play some pokies and then engage in an intimate, but meaningless exchange with someone, a friend, a stranger, it was all the same, a fuck, just to say, “fuck you,” to the world. That sometimes was actually all the time for a few years. It was that few years when I had let the dark out, and I stood and laughed an empty hollow laugh while she destroyed my body, my heart, my soul, my life. And I relished every moment of it.
There was a lot I had kept inside. Pain. Anger. Disillusionment. Disappointment. And because I couldn’t speak to anyone about it, the darkness just seeped out through the pores of my life. I thought I had found a way to cope, but my cup had run over. Every emotion I had kept inside since I was six, every “fuck you,” I hadn’t uttered, every punch I hadn’t thrown was pushing its way out of me, ripping a hole through the fabric of my life. My family had me believing that I was a hot tempered angry child (well duh, my father had left and I wasn’t allowed to react), so I had learned to keep everything inside, overcompensating for this person that they had made me believe that I was, but being “nice” just wasn’t working in the long run. Neither was being patient. It was like giving birth to a demon, but instead of coming out of where it should come out of, it was clawing its way out of my heart.
Then my heart got cracked open in a backbend. In all places, it happened in a yoga studio. Of all the things in a yoga class, backbends and hip openers used to be the ones I hated the most of all. I didn’t (and still don’t) have much upper body and core strength so you would think that I would hate the million and one chaturangas more, but nope, it was working on those two areas of the body that killed me. And no wonder. The backbends were heart openers, and hip openers? Well, the hips are our emotional depository. Frog pose, I would face with a lot of dread, and strong back bends like floor bow or wheel, I would only go to half of my capacity. Even virabadrasana 2, where the chest and hips were opened was hard for me. It wasn’t really my body. My body would go there without much complaint most days, but there would be this fear inside me, just not wanting to be opened like that. Of course, I was not allowed to get away with it. The people who had been brought into my life would not let me get away. Sometimes I was coaxed into the postures, other times, I was lifted into them by brute strength. My dear friend and instructor, Andrew does this thing where he tries to lift me off the floor while I’m in full floor bow. If that doesn’t open your heart, I don’t know what will. There were days when I would end up sobbing, and there were days when I would end up laughing.
Don’t get it mistaken. There was no, “I love you,” back then. In fact it was closer to the stronger version of, “screw you!” and there was no screwing involved. It was just the mental dialogue, and then only because I could not scream at anyone unless I wanted to attract attention to the angry, disheveled person that I was. Of course, there are days when you feel like you’re alone in class, especially when you’re in half pigeon, or meditation, and that’s when it all comes out, the anger, the tears, every “fuck you,” never uttered, every punch never thrown, flowed with my tears into my mat.
Then I read a quote from famous yoga instructor Seane Corn where she said, “you have to get to the fuck you before you can get to the bless,” and it all sank it. I had spent almost my entire twenties in that internal and eternal, “fuck you.” To get anywhere at all, it wasn’t about turning away from it again, it was about turning back into it. Not lashing out to anyone, but sitting and letting these emotions flow through me. That’s right, through. They had to be acknowledged so that they could pass.
Right now, I wish that I could say that I’m in a space of “bless you,” 100% of the time, but unlike the yogis who sit alone in mountains, I actually have to live in the world. Occasionally, the “fuck you,” still makes an appearance, and it always will, on the yoga mat, in life, in love. It’s just how it is, but maybe the way to deal with it is to stop pretending to be “nice,” and just acknowledge the “fuck you.”