“People respond to things that make you different,” Lena Waithe
It’s a little uncomfortable just telling a story for all to read. Like an itchy sweater, you can’t take off. Or, at least it is for me. It always has been. Teaching yoga only made me more aware of where my discomfort lies. Give me a script: all set! Indulge in my own philosophical interpretation: I freeze and smile apologetically at the silence.
“But you are an outgoing, open person? Just let the words spill out…,” Everyone that knows me personally.
If only it worked that way! I plan my sequences (even if I never really follow them) as a tool to calm my nerves before I step in front of a group of people. It gives me a place to gather and channel my thoughts. While I love old texts and discussing interpretations, I don’t often read quotes in class; if I do read them, it’s to avoid making them relatable. Adding any quips and pop psychology in the middle of class took some time…a lot of time. What if people don’t get what I say? What if I’m too weird—you know—like that philosophy teacher in college thought… Or the worst: how will I please everyone?
I’ve put off writing a blog for 8 years—that takes skills, by the way. (Seriously good avoidance techniques!) Opening up beyond a one on one conversation is vulnerable. It takes some backbone and courage. It’s also a fine line between relating to others through my humanity versus spewing my personal life all over my class. (Haven’t we all experienced that?)
My friends and family have been on me for a while: just write. Last week, I watched an interview with Lena Waithe just after she won an Emmy for writing in a comedy series. I was mesmerized by her confidence—as if she never wore an itchy sweater a day in her life. She filled my living room with her presence and clear message. Granted, she’s an award-winning writer; words are her craft which she’s honed for years. She summed up storytelling, courage, and vulnerability in 2 simple sentences:
“Be honest and specific. Tell (your story) for an audience of one.” –Lena Waithe
That’s it!! The individual thumbprint I bring to ideas and concepts is how I am relatable. The possibility of being weird and possibly esoteric—is good?! The same is true for you. Instead of regurgitating Yoga Sutras or quotes, tell me how that feels or changes you. By hearing your humanity, I find myself. And, I feel connected to you.
So… here we go. Off to the land of relating digitally—the best I can in my itchy sweater. May my stories and information written for an audience of one open windows and doors… and begin to reduce the itch.