And, as I said before, blessed by circumstance - an excellent metabolism, a great diet and careful choices around my health, and even though I worked in high-stress environments, I had some coping skills. So, I presented really well, for years and years.
As we only really come to understand in retrospect, I'm still deeply identifying with "wimp, fag, pussy, loser"... all that stuff. Classic bullying situations flavored my adolescence; I look back and really wonder. My parents didn't own guns, suicide seemed so obtuse - I was fortunate to have longer term thinking and not let it get me.
From somewhere, even at the worst of the hurt I had a defiant and unassailable sense of self worth, and knew I would someday be bigger than all of that. Junior High and High School were bad, nasty, abusive; just plain ignorant and unfriendly. I did my best to not get beat up, while acting out - I graduated High School in '83 - as a punk rocker. I made it harder, but I survived; that's the word I chose to use.
Once I got out of my little town - moved to NYC at 17 and was ready to roll - I got to reinvent myself. No one had any idea who I was, or any of the background that I carried, internally. See, I went from K through 12th with more than 40 of the same folks, and my graduating class was less than 100. So, roles were set, early, and it was not a John Hughes film. Not even close.
I tell y'all this, because, flash forward some two decades plus, and here I was. I had used my mind and my will and my character to develop and enjoy a great career. I had decided to move on and see what else I could create. I stepped into the void, and waited to see what came of it.
But, I'd made that damned deal about my health and turning 40. I think I hated physical activity primarily because I had always been told I wasn't good at it by people who were good at it and didn't like me. Lots of triggers... one of the reasons I react so poorly to competition in the yoga room.
On the outside, easy to see… I’m tall and slender, but at 40 years old and 6 feet tall I was about 190, very comfortable and with no tone. I may not have been able to run away from an attacker, or if I were attacked while near a bike, I would’ve made a better weapon out of it than an escape vehicle.
Back at Body Language - the studio that was cradling me and challenging me and asking me to just experience what was happening - they were coming up on their 10-year anniversary, and getting really excited. 10 would show up in themes a lot, and the studio owner, my teacher and my first teacher trainer, would laugh and say ‘Let’s do 10 pushups in this vinyasa!’ I would groan and work at them – at first, two or three on the knees. Later with good pointers, I did long planks but only a few.
I did my practice, I pushed and I relented. I worked to the edge and I found new territory. One day, several weeks after I had started - broken, no power, no identification with my physical form - my teacher came in the room to teach. She winked at me – because she knew I struggled with pushups and that was her signature that season. Class started, we got to the point where she was going to throw it in, and I recall her saying, jokingly, to me in front of the entire class – “Chrispy, shouldn’t we do 10 pushups in honor of the 10th anniversary this week?”
I knew I was a changed person when I calmly and respectfully offered back “But Teacher, why live in the past, let’s celebrate the next year and do 11!” Not only did the “I” that says “I” wonder who said that, but the students around me all groaned.
We did 11... not Spinal Tap 11, but 11 pushups - top of the plank, bottom of the plank. And, at 40 years old, I guess I could’ve graduated high school; could've finally made the grade...
For someone who had always been the wimp, the pussy, the fag, the guy who got beat up by the jocks, well, it wasn’t really a sweet victory, but it was quite odd to be in this new body. Not only had I gained strength and core engagement, but I dropped to 175, which was only about 5 pounds more than I weighed at my graduation from High School – a scrawny wimp who failed the President’s Fitness test and ended up taking a D in Gym, just to get the hell out of town!
Interesting, indeed, to come into possession of the physical form, after decades of just using it as a vehicle for consciousness. And, while the most immediate, and superficial and therefore obvious results were my physique, of course, the stealth technology of yoga was working on me...
that's the next post - give thanks and praise!!