There is one question that I am asked more than anything else in the entire world.
The question I evade so much that it has cost me friendships is this innocuous, completely acceptable one: why do you cover yourself in tattoos?
I have full, colored tattoo sleeves that include the words inhale and exhale across my wrists, a chest piece, a large piece on the back of my neck, behind my left ear, on each shoulder blade and on each ankle. I got my first tattoo when I was 21.
The answer is so simple, yet I rarely tell anyone. (I can count on one hand the people who actually know). Without a glaring, daily, jarring, colorful reminder of who I really am, I will excuse myself so that I can make myself very tiny to fit behind you. I’ll slouch my 5’9” frame down so that I can make myself diminutive in stature.
I’ll say thank you demurely and I’ll even teach yoga class in a self-deprecating way. Those who can move into that pose, please do. For those of you like me, no worries, you’re in good company, just modify it. There’s something safe about being small. We get to play a small game and live small. Our mistakes are small.
Our worries are small. Our losses are small. We’re not risking much and we’re okay with that because we try to diminish risk. Without risk, we won’t lose too much, but we won’t win much either.
Without risk, we won’t screw up too badly or make a fool of ourselves. Every now and then—I get pulled off my path.
Someone will knock me down with their idea of what I should be. I’ve even had someone tell me that a $10 word I used didn’t sound like a word I would say! But there I was, saying that word!
After a few good conversations with friends and some big colorful nudges (that sometimes get in the way at formal affairs)—I figure it out.
I don’t want a safe life. I’ll choose to make a mess, start one way and change my mind mid-trip and turn around and I’ll risk big.
Look for me and join if you like— I’ll be the brightly colored statuesque teacher with the loud laugh making no apologies for intensifying a pose or falling out of that pose.
Either way —I won’t be slouching.
Lee Anne (LA) Finfinger is a full-time Yoga Instructor, born and bred Pittsburgher. She and her husband live with their rescued cat, Harmony. When she’s not in a studio, LA can be found baking, running (thanks to yoga!), traveling, hanging with family and friends, mentoring in the community, reading, writing and knitting. She can be found at: www.lafinfinger.com
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