I think I was twelve when a hurtful word was hurtled at me from across the hallway and it caught me right in the gut. Up until this point things would hurt momentarily and I let them go.
Kind of like a skinned knee - a moment of surprise, a moment of pain and then back to the adventure at hand.
But this time I held it. I felt it in my shoulders. I felt it in my jaw. I got steely, I contracted and I stayed as still as I could.
This will not hurt me.
Not if I don't move.
Not if I don't breathe.
Not if I don't feel.
So began the long, treacherous road into adolescence where I held tight to this survival tactic, to any semblance of self I could grasp onto.
Years and years and years of this.
I remember the first time I really, truly stepped onto my yoga mat out of need. I was 22, working a job that didn't fit and living in a body that really didn't fit. I walked into this carpeted little studio in Washington DC. The teacher put on some Bob Marley. And for an hour we rolled around on our mats and simply breathed.
That day and that practice has led me on a long, long journey of making my way home to myself. Of coming back to that little girl that breathed deeply, skinned her knees and just kept exploring. At 33, there are moments when I carry the mountain but there are more moments when I choose to climb it instead.