I’ve come unglued…or maybe I was just not properly glued to begin with.
It seems I’ve left pieces of the puzzle of myself scattered among the cities and countryside that I’ve stayed in and with the people that have in some way become part of who I am: parents, relatives, friends, lovers…they’ve all played a part. Each piece has been left with them for safe-keeping, waiting for my return to reclaim it.
Because of events that took place long before I have much memory of them, I learned the great art of Making Everyone Else Happy. “What’s that?” you say?
Well, it’s where I intuitively figure out what someone wants me to be and become it, so they will want me and never leave.
The inevitable explosion of self occurs and I one day am found in a ball on the floor, sobbing and completely alone.
During my time as Who He Wants Me To Be, I slowly began to hate myself. I ate, trying to fill the void of utter loneliness and despair. I watched television…a lot. I went about my days playing the role I somehow created for myself, doing things because they were what I knew he wanted and not for me.
I allowed things to happen—little things that made my soul drift farther into the abyss—and stayed silent because if I spoke up or tried to stop them he would leave. I stopped being in family photographs because I hated seeing myself; there are almost three years of my life where there is no visual documentation of who I was.
I rarely looked in a mirror, let alone a full length one; I hated the reflection.
If you hide yourself in the darkness long enough, little shafts of light begin to seep through the cracks that you’ve left.
My shaft of light was a random playing of a song I hadn’t heard in a long time; the artist was someone who I had once had an absolute obsession with and had let go of in the darkness. As I heard the piano playing and the sweetness of his voice, my heart lifted—I knew this was right. I began to download song after song, adding to my ever growing collection. I listened in my headphones because somehow I didn’t want to share it.
I wanted to keep it locked in with me and let it lighten my heart.
I had found a piece of myself.
I found out that the artist was a big social media user so I opened a twitter account. Expecting to follow him and few other musicians and authors that I liked, I never expected to find more light. I quickly realized that, online, I could be whoever I wanted to be. There was a veil to hide behind in case someone didn’t like me or didn’t ‘want’ me. I could be myself. I wrote. I told jokes. I said things I would have never said in my real life but always wanted to. I stood up for things I loved and against the things I didn’t like. I developed opinions and learned to interact amongst the people that agreed and didn’t.
I found more lost pieces.
I began to go on adventures. I went to concerts, sometimes alone and sometimes with others I could drag along. I went on road trips and found that I loved them. I reconnected with old friends that meant something in my life. I connected with new friends that mean something on my journey. On each of these adventures I found more pieces.
I lost weight. I started eating better. I began to feel a smile on my face more often than not. I began to feel more put together, and it showed. People could see the puzzle was coming together.
I began to practice yoga again. Once I found my regular practice, the darkness shattered. Pigeon pose, wheel, warrior…emotional breakthroughs began to come in every session.
The light that had seeped through the cracks now began to shine from deep within. It would never leave again.
I went to a yoga teacher training immersion and completed the edges of my puzzle. Now, when I teach, I envision I am helping the students each find their puzzle pieces, too.
Life has changed. There’s no ill will towards anyone for what was said or done; I allowed myself to become lost, no one made me throw the pieces away or hide them from myself. I cannot play the victim or the martyr, that’s not a game anyone can win.
Even now, after being on my own for a while, I know the puzzle is not completely put back together; perhaps it never fully will be. Perhaps we are meant to keep some pieces lost under the couch or behind the bookcase. Perhaps the dog ate one.
The point is, I keep searching for them.
And when I find them, now I glue them down so they cannot be lost again.
Deanna Leist is a writer of wrongs, teacher of calms, vegan chef (for herself and no one else), painter of yogis and-most importantly-chief boo boo kisser. She spends her time between her day job, teaching yoga, creating art and reminding her son that video games aren’t a way of life. She runs Artasana Yoga workshops, exploring creativity through the art of yoga (artasanayoga.com) and she is currently enjoying not having her name on one side of an ampersand.
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Ed: Bryonie Wise