In this new episode of What I Cried About in Shavasana Today, I talk about getting a strong message from my body, which was “I’m sorry.”
I did yoga with my wonderful yoga teacher of Ample Movement. As I moved through the asanas, I talked to myself caringly in my head. “You’re ok,” and “I’m here for you–I’ll always be here for you,” are some things I say to myself in my head.
They are very tender messages, and heartfelt. Thank you for your hard work, body. I appreciate you. I love you so much.
Then during shavasana, I got a strong message of “I’m sorry.” It was a 10 out of 10 I’m sorry–a deeply sorrowful apology.
Wow, who was sorry for what? I wondered for a moment. Then I intuited that my mind was apologizing to my body. My mind was very sorry that my body had endured all it had endured, during my life.
I’m sorry you were controlled by fucked up people and suffered from their insatiable, unhealed, totally unreasonable demands. I’m sorry you had to follow the agendas of others, in places like church and school–hours and hours of sticking to the rules of others, against your own will, until the rules were part of you. And I’m sorry you endured violence and violation, that you never in a million years would have chosen. You are wonderful, and you deserved none of that. I’m so sorry, sacred, beautiful body.
Yes, it was mostly about not having freedom. Staying still, being modest and quiet. Needing nothing–being easy at my own expense, until being easy was part of me.
Held in the safety of my yoga teacher’s voice, I cried and cried. It was a big deal, to feel this apology and release so much stuck pain. Not about wrong I had done–the apology was about the pain of witnessing deep harm being done to another.
My mind had witnessed so much harm being done to my body. The anguish of that was more than I could take. That was not fair–that was no ok. You spent more than 40 years like that. I’m so glad you’re free now.
body saying sorry
Then I thought maybe my body was also saying sorry to my mind. My body had witnessed so much torture being done to the rest of me. Yes, my body was made to stay still and endure so much violation and violence. But my mind endured that too.
Yes, I got the feeling that my body was very sorry that so much wrong had been done to my mind. My mind also had lived within terrible confines that family and a dysfunctional culture had put there. My body had been made to sit still and “be good,” which meant silence and complete self-denial for the ease of adults who couldn’t handle their own feelings, let alone mine.
Like my body, my mind had also been forced to “be good” in ways that were not fair to anyone. Being shamed for my ideas, needs, feelings, values, thoughts, daydreams, and preferences was wrong. I didn’t flourish, happy as my true self. I contorted who I was, suffering in ways that no should ever have to.
It makes me think now of a kid I know. He gets upset sometimes and screams. I love his screaming, not because I enjoy noise or like his suffering, but because I love his freedom. It moves me, that he is allowed to scream. He can make noises that reflect how he actually feels, without losing access to the things he needs for survival. He is free to scream.
As early as I can remember, I was not free to scream. I had to be very careful how I behaved, in order to keep getting the basics of life.
Were you treated this way too? Were you able to show up, in your family and culture, as the person you actually are? Or was only a shrunken, sanitized version of yourself welcome, your volume turned down from a 10 to a 2?
That’s part of why I love spaces where girls are encouraged to make noise, like a Beats by Girlz space. What a difference that would have made, if I was not only allowed to scream, but handed a mic.
Can you imagine? What if I had been encouraged to this truth telling, rather than silenced in 20 different ways? I’m tired of erasure / de-volumizing being done to little girls, but also to any gender of person, at any age.
Thank you for the ways you work toward a just culture and the ways you support truth. Addiction with domestic violence in families crushes kids. Adults get crushed also. But at least adults have a chance at doing something different. An adult could theoretically drive a car and rent an apartment. Toddler, not so much.
Have you ever experienced part of you welling up with intense apology toward another part of you? Maybe you’re not so fragmented, or you didn’t witness that kind of horror. I hope you have no idea what I’m talking about, dear reader.
Thank mother god for yoga, un-sticking old feelings, freedom to move and tell the truth, and zoom where five minutes of sobbing won’t derail the rest of the class. Thank mother god for Ming, who encourages me to do what I need to do, for my well-being.
And thank you to my badass yoga teacher for chill support and modeling my dearest truths, like that all bodies are valid bodies, and we are ok just as we are, no apology necessary, and no questions asked.