I keep my paintbrush with me, wherever I may go
In case I need to cover up so the real me doesn’t show
I’m so afraid to show you me, afraid of what you’ll do
Afraid you’ll laugh or say mean things, afraid I might lose you
But if you’ll be patient my dear friend, I’ll remove the coats real slow
Please understand how much it hurts to let the real me show
Now that my coats are all stripped off I feel naked, bare, and cold
If you still find me pleasing, you’re my friend as pure as gold
I need to keep my paintbrush though and hold it in my hand
To have it there by my side for those who might not understand
So please protect me my dear friend and thanks for loving me true
Just let me keep my paintbrush with me until I love me too.
I read this poem in class a few weeks ago and its been with me ever since. I realised how much we tend to cover up. Its hard to let out real self show, to allow ourselves be vulnerable and let people know who we really are and how we really feel. So instead we put on these different masks to protect ourselves from getting hurt or sometimes in a misguided attempt to protect others.
There have been times that I’ve literally been I tears whilst on my way to teaching yoga. As I get closer to class i push whatever emotions are arising aside and put my teacher mask on. Or I go out with friends and put on a different mask.
A lot has happened in the past few moths for me. My Aunty has just started her second round of chemotherapy, my ex boyfriends mum died of cancer, my beautiful dog and best friend Jessie died after 13.5yrs together, she actually passed away 13yrs to the day that I had my car accident. And then this happened…
A few weeks ago someone who is supposed to be one of my biggest supporters said I was lazy, selfish, my job was stupid and I was worthless. Whilst I know deep down they didn’t mean this, in fact I don’t think they even realised what they were saying, in was a heat of the moment situation and there were emotions surrounding the above events. It was still extremely hurtful.
I took a moment to sit and spoke to a couple of friends who helped me see things rationally. I knew this I knew in my head the words weren’t true. I’m not lazy, I’m not selfish and I AM WORTHY. The difference was knowing it in my heart.
Life continued. I worked, I played and went about my day to day life. With this facade that everything was ok.
But it wasn’t ok. It made me question myself.
I started to criticise myself for the way I look. Telling myself I was fat and lazy. In reality I’ve had injuries to deal with the past 18months. Even as I write that I feel like in trying to justify or make excuses.
I started to question my ability to teach yoga. ‘Was I a good teacher did I really gave anything to offer?’ When someone commented on how they enjoyed another teachers class I doubted myself thinking that my class mustn’t be as good.
When a friend/student told me about a fantastic workshop she had attended I compared myself. Doubting that I could offer anything of value.
I had to remind myself that just because people love what other people do doesn’t mean they love what you do any less.
When I attended Wanderlust and saw these charismatic teachers up on stage and walking around the festival I continued to doubt myself. I’m not like that I’m not the ‘life of the party type’ I’m actually very shy. I find it hard to go up to people I don’t know and start a conversation.
I’ve thought over the years about teaching at festivals, not because I want to be famous, because I want to share what yoga has given me. But I started to question what could shy little me offer compared to these charismatic teachers up on stage, did I really have anything to offer?
Being sick at the moment I need to rest but in the back of my mind I had this voice telling me I was being lazy.
I know being sick right now was the universes way of making me stop and really digest all the emotions I was having over this incident which I wasn’t making the time to deal with. The fact that my laptop died over the weekend, so I couldn’t even distract myself in other ways lol! Proved to me I needed this time to stop process all the thing that have happened the last few months.
I’m not sharing this so people will tell me don’t be silly of course you have something to offer. I’m sharing this in full transparency removing my mask of ‘everything’s ok’
As yoga teachers we are often held to a higher standard. We’re expected to have our shit together. The be all sunshine and roses and positivity.
But we’re not robots we’re humans with the full range of normal human emotions.
I get frustrated, I get angry, i doubt myself, I get sad just as I’m joyful, happy, calm and confident. This is who I am and I’m ok with that.
I’m taking my mask off will you?