Today was the first time I have done a complete yoga practice alone. I was with family all day and it just didn’t work out to get to a class. I briefly stressed (again) about the fact that I should have started the 60 Days On the Mat when I was going to be home for 60 days in a row, but then I realized part of the challenge was just getting on the mat regardless of the day.
So I got on it.
The cool thing about creating my own practice was building my own playlist. I made a 45-minute playlist and then I did a restorative practice for about 20 minutes — without the crazy music from yesterday. It was very different from class, and I’m not sure if I liked it. But, I loved the music!
I was glad I did it because whenever we try something new it always gives us a new vantage point.
I don’t work as hard at physical challenges when I’m alone. I knew this before I started.
Part of what drives my practice is the energy I get from the community. At the end of my self-led practice I felt more open, stretched out and focused — but it was an empty relaxation. The next time I’m in this situation, I’ll try one of the online classes so I can at least feel connected to someone.
Connection to community is important to everyone’s quality of life, and over the past several weeks it has become increasingly apparent to me how disconnected from it I had become.
In the first twelve years of adulthood I lived in Boston, Milwaukee, New York City-Long Island, Denver and Arlington — drove into Los Angeles at 30 and stayed. I’ve never had any trouble finding my community where I was living, but at those stages of my life I always felt like I had forever in front of me. There were ups and downs, but I was always engaged. There was no mortality. No infertility.
When I started chasing my biological clock — more than three years ago at this point — I stopped engaging. It was like some other person took over my psyche. The community went away. Friendships disintegrated. I was scared to talk about it. I wanted to pretend it was all fine, so I pushed it all down and only told a few people. Month after month plunging into further despair with the start of each cycle.
There is nothing more damaging to your soul than pretending something isn’t happening that is.
I work in cancer, so complaining about my fertility seemed so childish, so selfish — so trivial. I’m still self-conscious about it, even as I type this.
I exploded (or imploded, depending on how you look at it) on the yoga retreat last month and something woke up in me. Suddenly the only thing I wanted was to be connected. I longed for community. I missed my friends and I wanted my life back. I still long for a baby, but I needed to long for it openly and not crying in the shower.
So I write and I reconnect with others and ultimately to myself.
Some days are more baby focused than others. Today is the second day of my cycle — there is always this little twinge of despair as another one passes, but as the week goes on hope starts to rebuild and I begin again. I am waiting for the egg donor schedule, but there is always the hope that maybe it will just happen, unexpectedly. For the life of me, I will never understand how millions of sperm can’t find one egg in an organ the size of a pear.
I no longer fear hormones; we’ve formed a fellowship of sorts. They play with your mind and your body, but I’ve learned they are like the weather — tomorrow they will be different, so try not to take anything they say too seriously. I’m in tune with how mine ebb and flow, and I’ve accepted the fact we are on this journey together, however it turns out.
It was fitting my practice ended up being alone today. I love it when God hands you the lesson all wrapped up with a bow.
I can feel my tissues rebuilding, arteries flowing and muscles relaxing; parts of me reengaging.
I can feel my community reconnecting. Old friends. New friends. Friends I haven’t even met yet.
In the past I have complained about some aspects of Facebook, but honestly I am so grateful for the community it has brought back into my life. I am seeing old friends next weekend (one of them being my friend Stacy pictured above on the right — we either dressed alike or shopped together; I can’t determine). I would never have been able to reconnect with my old friends without Facebook and the thought of hugging them brings tears to my eyes right now.
Community strengthens us. My great-aunt Lucille (my Mawmaw’s twin sister) has been meeting the same ladies for coffee at the Dairy Queen near Henrietta, Texas every day for as long as I can remember. She’s 87. I am convinced her community has kept her going. Whether we find it at our place of worship, our jobs, yoga, Cross Fit, book clubs or yes, even Facebook — we all need to find ours. And if we’re lucky, we have many.