"Self love," She Said

A love letter from my Body to my Self,

It’s taken me a long time and a lot of courage to get up the balls to finally say this to you. After the accident, you were so controlling, irrational and intolerable. You didn’t treat me with love or respect. There were so many times I thought about leaving you. It’s taken years of therapy, treatment, patience, persistence, solitude, travel, emotional release, soul searching and forgiveness to get to this place; to finally be able look you in the eye and say “I love you” “I accept you” and “I forgive you.” To learn to appreciate all parts of you again; taking the good with the bad. To let go of your old methods of coping and to adopt new, healthier ways of managing our struggle with the PTSD, the eating disorder and anxiety. To finally arrive at this place of self-love, acceptance and gratitude; for you, as you are, exactly where you are. To let the past be the past and to begin writing our new story for the future; one with a happier ending.

We went through a rough few years together. You remember the high school and college days? The days when you used me, your best friend, your only Body as a way to feel in control? The days when bad things were happening to the people you love, but there was nothing you could do to stop it? The days when you felt you had zero control except for the kinds of foods that you let (or didn’t let) me have? Yeah, I’ve tried to block most of those days out, too. But I know all the days of over-controlling, restricting eventually caught up with you. I remember when the only reason you got out of bed was to drag your empty, suffering Self to the mat. Because back then, Yoga was your only constant; the only thing that could get you through the day. Those old patterns were exhausting, hurtful and caused you to miss out on a lot of opportunities, social events, friendships and college experiences. It took your well-being, your health and just about everything else that matters away from you — and would’ve taken the most precious gift of all: your life, had we not hit rock bottom together.

That dark, autumn day, as your Body lay tired, hot, shaking, dizzy, depleted, hungry, terrified and sad on the studio floor; unable to stand up so you could finish your practice, we both decided that enough was enough. A little bit of our Soul died that day, knowing that it may be some time before you would physically be able to step back onto the mat, at least until you allowed your Self to eat, rest and finally reach out for help. After years of staying quiet and hiding it, it finally dawned on you that even though you thought you were in total control, this thing had actually gained complete control of every bit of you: mind, body and soul. But experiencing and discovering this for your Self was always part of our journey. Since then, there’s been no where else for us to go but up.

It took lots of years of hard work but, we were finally been able to find a middle ground; you & I — we unraveled layers that needed shedding. We left jobs that were unfulfilling and environments that made us unhappy. We let go of friendships and people that no longer served us. We’ve learned to lean on the support of others and ask for help when we needed it. We let go of the need to regain “control,” along with everything else that no longer served us or our road to recovery. We left our relationship, our comfort zone and traveled to different places, hoping to regain a sense of “home” within the Self again. We returned to the mat with a whole new outlook and appreciation, not just for the power of this practice, but for the ability to use our Body and our Mind to heal ourselves from the inside out.

We have no regrets, and deep down, we are extremely grateful for those dark years, for we now use our experience and our knowledge to relate to our students and those who are suffering now. We use our passion, experiences and knowledge to help others fall in love with their Body and their Self, both on and off the mat. To help them realize that they are not alone in this journey — they were never alone.

As much as you, Chelsea, find joy in making sure others feel loved and appreciated, this International Yoga Day is going to be a little different. This year, we’re going to recommit to the “self-love” practice that we’ve been working on for years; we’re going to look each other (Self + Body) in the face and tell each other “I love you.” We’re going to continue to make time every day, not just on holiday, for self love. Because by learning to love ourself, we are able to better love those around us.

The road hasn’t always been easy but, it was all worth it. Even though you felt alone during those dark days and felt like nobody could understand or relate, you’ve realized that many of your friends (girls & boys) were also suffering along with you. Or are currently struggling and trying to find their way home.

Even though we all heal in our own time, at our own pace, in our own style, the truth is, we are all fighting similar battles, sharing many of the same struggles; many of us using the human body as a way of coping or escaping pain in the face of great trauma, chaos, heartbreak, discrimination, hatred, etc; we might pick our own poison but, we speak the same language.

The truth is, you are not alone — you were never alone.

Connected by love, we are one.