It all started with a breakup.
It wasn’t a particularly dramatic one, but it was difficult, which was strange, because the relationship wasn’t exactly the highlight of my life.
I was unsatisfied and unhappy with this person, but even so I was falling apart. I didn’t understand why. As I sat in the bathtub with tears running down my face, while listening to the saddest Pandora station I could find, I realized something I never noticed before. I am a cheater. I’ve been cheating on myself.
And in that bathtub I was sitting with my worst enemy, and forced to answer to my soul (mate); I had to explain why I would choose someone unworthy over myself, and what I planned to do to make everything right again. I was ashamed, sorry, and angry. I wanted to distract myself and blame my pain on the other person, but I didn’t, I pulled myself back and sat in that bathtub until the water was cold. I sat until I had forgiven myself.
I sat until I was ready to start a new relationship with myself.
Since this was a new start with myself, I decided to take me on a date, a date with Kundalini yoga. I’d had enough of closet Kundalini. Although I absolutely enjoy doing yoga in my living room, following DVD’s, I really craved the experience of being in a yoga class. I’d wanted to go for years, but I had always been too intimidated, and self-conscious. I didn’t feel like I was crunchy enough, fit enough, new age enough, or pure enough. But I loved yoga, and I wanted to treat myself, so I walked in to a studio I’d had my eye on, got me a month, first-timer membership for discounted price, and took a barefoot step onto my yoga mat and into my new life. Best date ever.
During that first date, I officially knew that I liked myself and that I could love myself again. After all, I tried something new, I gave it my best effort, and rekindled a fire in myself I had lost a long time ago. Not to mention my after yoga glow made me look stunning. I started to find my beauty again and appreciate myself in entirely new ways. I began accepting my body, its scars, curves and weight- its “imperfections.” I began to love those “imperfections” and unlearned the socially constructed, narrow, and often harmful ideas of beauty that I had believed for far too long.
Slowly, but surely, I forgot I was the strange, pierced, tattooed, chubby, Puerto Rican girl at the yoga studio, and saw myself for the beautiful, vibrant yogini I had become, inside and out. I was a decorated, brown goddess, busting out of her yoga pants, downward dogging like nobody’s business.
Before I knew it, two months of yoga had resulted in me not only falling in love with myself, but also falling in love with life. In order to keep the dates hot and exciting, I started branching out to different yoga styles, going to different studios, attending yoga related events and workshops, as well as kirtans and even doing karma yoga. Loving myself, in time, became a lifestyle. My relationship with myself was no longer a work in progress but a successful, healthy, and happy relationship. I grew in that love, and continue to grow to this day.
It’s been 5 months since that breakup and I haven’t cheated on myself since. I’ve learned to be honest with myself, and to trust myself- to be patient, sensitive and understanding. I’ve learned that relationships can’t work if you don’t love yourself. I’ve learned that I am limitless and strong.
I’ve found my passions again, and the confidence to pursue my goals with courage and enthusiasm. I’ve become a person that can stand on my own two feet. My life has changed dramatically, emotionally, physically, mentally and spiritually. I have become a person who follows their heart. I have regained my soul (mate).
Sometimes I still try to look for love in all the wrong places, I am a Libra and doomed to be a hopeless romantic. Sometimes I get lazy, and hope someone else will love me so that I won’t have to, so that I could just sulk and drown in my glass-half-empty. During those times I unroll my yoga mat, and unfold all the lessons I have learned so far. I bend to my heart’s content, until all my doubt, fear and insecurities have melted away. I center myself, and focus on my breath. I smile at myself and bow to my inner wisdom. I chant. And I remember again, that I love myself. I roll my mat back up, victoriously, peacefully, and with gratitude.
It all started with a breakup, but it ended with love.
Editor: Kate Bartolotta