Embracing My Bitch Self

A friend and I got into an interesting conversation over dinner the other night. Old wounds were brought to light and I was reminded that I still have healing to do. My friend asked me why I lie down and take “it.” “It” being confidence-crushing, self-esteem-erasing emotional abuse. He reminded me that I’m stronger than that and I don’t need to be passive when someone attacks me. Last year I was assaulted. The assault was mild, but my psyche was still affected. During the assault, time stood still. I froze. I had no reaction. I didn’t fight back, and I wish I would’ve, I wish I could’ve.

In college my boyfriend at the time once held me down after I refused his sexual advances. I thought he was going to rape me. In those moments, too, I froze. I wish I had fought back, bitten him, kicked him, screamed at the top of my lungs. Instead I was lost in the surreality of the moment, frozen by the disbelief that someone I trusted might actually violate me in the most horrific manner possible. He didn’t, but I still got a taste of that fear.

As a child, I had an emotionally-abusive stepfather for a few years. So many times when he was yelling at me or my mom, I wanted to scream back at him, I wanted to shove him out of our home, I wanted him to be gone and I didn’t care how. But that’s not what nice little girls do, so I kept my mouth shut.

Physical and emotional abuse make the victim feel powerless and helpless. I’ve held my tongue during many incidents of emotional abuse for fear of only making my aggressor angrier. The thing about remaining passive, though, is that it doesn’t work. We need to learn to stand up for ourselves, and if the aggressor doesn’t back down, to remove ourselves from the situation. I know that isn’t always easy or possible, but it is necessary. We need to stop worrying about being “nice,” “ladylike,” and passive. We need to own our space as women and remind the world that we do, indeed, have a right to take up space, to speak our minds, to control our bodies, and to fight back when we are attacked. Men can be victims, too, and right now we all need to stand together.

After an emotionally-trying 2016, I’ve decided to embrace my “bitch self,” as another friend called it, and make 2017 the year I fully accept and love that part of myself. My bitch self speaks her mind, doesn’t take shit from anyone, doesn’t sugarcoat the truth, acts with purpose, takes care of herself first, stands up for others, doesn’t try to temper her passion, loves fiercely, and cuts out those in her life who would try to bring her down. I encourage everyone to embrace her (or his) bitch self this year. Those coming into power in this country will try to silence us, hold us down, take away our rights and freedoms, so we must fight. The world needs us. We need each other.

All I Needed

I needed you

but you needed to be

somewhere else

So I put off needing you

for a little while

But then the needing crept back in

and I asked you

I asked you to return to me

and you said

“Not yet”

So again I put off the needing

shoving it aside

telling myself I was okay

Convincing myself that I could

stand needing you and not

having you

a little while longer

But something happened

every time I needed you

and you weren’t there

I had to stand on my own

I had to be there for myself

and every time

I fell apart

I put myself back together

without you

Eventually I realized

that I never had you

and that I never really

needed you

I only needed myself

So I want to thank you

for showing me how to

stand on my own two feet

how to truly follow

my heart

and be true to my soul

and for showing me

that all I ever really needed

was me

From Breaking to Becoming

fullsizerender

After you left

I forgot the sound

of my own laughter

I forgot

how to move my lips

into the shape

of a smile

I forgot

how to take

a deep breath

I forgot

how to stop blaming

myself for everything

bad in this world

I got lost

in the shadows

of my own soul

and forgot

that I even had one

Slowly miraculous things

started to happen

I’d go hours without

thinking of you

The moment I remembered

would stab my heart

but each time

I got stronger

I survived

I am still here

I remembered

I had other reasons

to live

to love

to laugh

My world stopped revolving

around the sun

of your false promises

I became

my own sun

and nothing

will ever

put out my fire again

fullsizerender-1

 

Everything Will Be Okay

I’m in the middle of a heartbreak and I don’t have time to stop and process it because I have yoga students to serve, a corporate job to do and a very busy life to live. I have a feeling I won’t really start living again, though, until I make time to process my feelings.

trikonasana in the stable

I tried to meditate this morning and felt the tightness of sadness, loss and anxiety creeping into my throat, so instead of sitting still while my insides were in turmoil, I decided to move and go ahead and try my asana practice. My breath came in gulps instead of smooth, even inhales and exhales like usual, but after a few sun salutations, that tightness in my throat started to loosen up just a bit. I didn’t find any answers at the end of my practice, but I did come to the realization that no matter what happens, I will be okay. Everything will be okay. “Three Little Birds” is my favorite Bob Marley song because it’s gotten me through some tough times. So if you’re going through a tough time, turn it up, do yoga, breathe, and remember that every little thing is gonna be alright.

5 Bloggers You Need to Know

I read A LOT of blogs before deciding to start my own. It’s scary to start your own blog. What if no one likes it? What if you run out of things to write about? And the scariest question of all: What if no one reads it?

gravel road in VA

You can’t always see what’s ahead. Sometimes you have to go on anyway, blind and hopeful.

I still struggle with those fears, but I have a new mantra: If you write it, they will come. I truly believe like attracts like, and I know my words will reach those whose hearts they’re meant to touch. The scariest acts in life are often the most rewarding. I once jumped off a 30′ cliff into water. By far one of the scariest things I’ve ever done, but also one of the most exhilarating and memorable. I jumped a total of three times, and every single time was scary. So I’m not going to tell you it gets easier, pouring your heart onto a page and trusting the world not to completely mutilate it. What I will tell you is that it’s worth it. So meditate today and find the things hiding in your soul that scare you. Pull them out into the light. Hit the gas and don’t look back. The only things worth doing in life are the things that make your soul sing.

I hope if nothing else, I inspire you to make time for the things that make this life worth living to you—writing, dancing, riding, traveling, decorating, painting, surfing, whatever it is that fulfills you.

Need some inspiration to follow your dreams? Here are the bloggers who inspired me to follow mine:

1. Yoga Girl

Handstanding like a boss

Handstanding like a boss

Rachel Brathen is Instafamous and is quickly becoming actually famous. I first found her on Instagram, but now I stalk her on Twitter, Facebook and Snapchat. I’m obsessed, I know. Rachel writes about her life in picturesque Aruba, traveling the world to teach yoga, rescuing dogs, and yummy recipes for smoothies and vegan and vegetarian dishes. She and her husband, Dennis, also have an adorable blog together.

I just found out Rachel’s going to be at Burning Man this year and so am I! I’m so looking forward to meeting a fellow yogi who has been such an inspiration to me. Rachel is one of the most authentic people on social media. You won’t regret following her.

2. Global Frolic

Surfing like a boss

Surfing like a boss

I’m stoked to say I know Emma Doyle personally. We met when we were both studying abroad in Córdoba, Spain, and I was instantly attracted to her positive vibes. Now she has this super-inspirational blog that will make you pack your bags and book a one-way plane ticket faster than you can say “baby turtles.” You can stalk her here and here. And no one will blame you if you develop a girl crush.

3. World of Wanderlust

Touristing like a boss

Touristing like a boss

Warning: Brooke Saward’s blog will give you hardcore travel envy. She’s a super-talented photographer and blogger and manages to stay at some uber fancy places when she travels. She has truly turned her love of travel into a full time career. No matter where she is in the world, you can find her here, here and here.

4. This American Girl

Mermaiding like a boss

Mermaiding like a boss

I love Camille Willemain because she’s the perfect blend of inspirational and real. Breathtaking beach photos and amazing travel stories make up her blog just as much as real talk about getting sick, money struggles, and other challenges that come with a life of travel. One of my favorite times is when she got real about travel and white privilege. Find Camille here, here and here.

5. Meg At… 

Horsing around like a boss

Horsing around like a boss

Last, but most definitely not least, there’s Meg Banks. She’s the go-to blogger if you’re into horse shows. Whether you’re a competitor, horse show mom or dad, or even a horseperson who isn’t on the show circuit, you’ll enjoy her candid photos and clever commentary. She captures moments and scenes that may otherwise go unnoticed, but it’s those little details she sees that make the shows special. Meg came to my neck of the woods to attend the Upperville Colt & Horse Show, but I was traveling in Europe, so we sadly didn’t get to meet in person. It’s okay though, we’re totally social media besties. You can be her best friend, too, here, here and here.

Each of these bloggers inspires me because they had the courage to follow their hearts and write about something they love. Pouring yourself onto a page is one of the most vulnerable acts you can perform. Following your heart is one of the scariest choices you can make in life. I say go for it. Will your heart break? Many times. Will you heal and be stronger for it? Absolutely. So whatever it is you’re dreaming of doing, whether it’s starting a blog, buying a one-way plane ticket to a place you’ve never been, quitting your job to create art full time, or anything else you dream of, do it. The universe will be there to catch you and, who knows, you may even grow wings.