I have bought myself a celebratory pint tonight, I am proud of myself.
Without realising, I have come full circle on a seven year cycle to do with self worth and self love, boundaries and burning.
Many of you reading this may know how I got here, as in to be a yoga teacher. Most of you will not think it is a big deal, because why should it be! But to me, getting here has been quite the ride.
The Origin of Tittleys…
Seven years ago I was running daily to catch the 86 bus from Charlton to Manchester city centre, upon which I silently sobbed in to my scarf listening to Sarah Blondin’s Live Awake meditations on Insight Timer. I hated it. I hated what my life had become. I hated how stuck I felt. I had gone from bar tender to bar manager a couple of years before, hoping the title would give me some semblance of self worth and kudos with an ex who once told me I was not relationship material because I was ‘just a bar tender’. The work was all-consuming and tiring and not fun anymore.
No longer working in a squad that I loved, in fact I am pretty sure my coworkers hated me (it’s cool, I was probably a dick and didn’t like them either), I interviewed for tonnes of coveted ‘sit down’ jobs that tbh I could have done with my eyes closed (focus on one thing for 8 hours a day, no issue bbz), but always got turned down with the phrase ‘you would be so bored here’. God how I wanted to be bored, I would have given anything to sit down for a living and eat biscuits while taking cursory glances at a spreadsheet. Alas it was not to be.
On top of that, my boyfriend hated me. Like seriously, he hated me. We had a fight and I had shouted - instantly I realised that I was in the wrong and apologised, but he would not let it go, nor would he let me. He would ignore my presence in front of friends (something my Dad used to do, so at least it was familiar), occasionally throwing something pass-agg in my direction. We would go home together and over he would roll making sure I knew that even in his sleep, he still hated me.
Tuesday was my favourite day at work because that was when the reps (more specifically my buddy Chris Yoxall - shout out to how far you have come friend) would turn up and collectively we would drink the wears they were peddling and pretend we knew what we doing for a bit…I can confidently say we did not.
Overwhelmed by everything and being in quiet season for hospo, I took the week off with a view to ‘turning my life around’. I had done it in five days the years previously when I had been kicked out of a job that was killing me…well, I had secured a new job, been on a date and done a few gym sessions. This was a very big deal considering the weeks previously I was waking up in the middle of the night crying in a cold sweat, having knocked one of my teeth out at the staff party (Mojo’s never did tell me if they found my incisor). Staring glumly into a brew at my friend Helen’s house, she asked me what I actually wanted, what I actually liked.
I liked Yoga.
Yoga was the thing that made me smile. I was skint so could not afford to go to many classes, but when I did I was so happy. I had a playlist of YouTube videos of Ali Kamenova teaching me how to get stronger and bendier (honestly check her out, she is fire), and guided mediations to remind me not to completely lose it. Prior to doing my Masters degree, I had wanted to do a teacher training, but my Mom and Grandparents had been concerned, mainly because who in the West Midlands knew what yoga was and how it could possibly serve as a career. I got a much better response from them doing an Mlitt in Theatre History, and none of use knew until after that it was a Master of Letters not Master or Literature.
So yeah, Yoga made me happy. I had attended a workshop with Andrea Everingham at the now defunct One Yoga Chorlton on New Year’s Eve 2016. It was meant to be two hours, but Andrea has no concept of time, so it was four. And it was just so affirming. She hugged me as I thanked her on the way out, and this was such a big deal because nobody at that point offered me physical touch without a caveat (the caveat being shagging). A quick google search of the studio led me to find out that Andrea was running her own teacher training, and this had been circulating in the back of my mind ever since. I told Helen this was what I wanted, but I had no idea how to get it. To which she responded with the first positive mantra I had - speculate to accumulate. She helped me figure out how I was gonna fund it, and then forced me to drive her Audi estate around the block because I had no idea how to drive and in her words it was ‘about bloody time’. A quick-fix-five-day-turn-around this project was not. But I felt something I had not felt in a long time - hopeful and excited.
The boyfriend who hated me eventually fell away through a crescendo of dramatic arguments and reconciliations. It was always on his terms and eventually in a tear-soaked message I told him that whatever I offered was never going to be enough for him, but I had to learn to be enough for me. I booked the course, quit the management job, got a job pulling pints in a place that loved me and I loved dearly for enough hours to cover rent and bills, and made the commitment that anything else had to come from teaching. The rest is not history, rather will be covered at a later date.
This little trip down memory lane has been on the tip of my tongue for a while, but was inspired by a Facebook memory (for what is Facebook if not for the memories) of this little selfie you see at the top of the page. Feeling wavy but suited up in a leopard print and cowboy booted coat of armour. And tbh I have been wavy af for the past couple of months. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE being a yoga teacher, I love this vocation, I love interacting with you, I love the relationships I have in my life right now. But there definitely is a stuckness, a feeling of wanting to tear things up and start again. That is probably why they call it a seven year itch.
While old feelings may start to sprout when triggered, my challenge here has been to separate the present from the past, and use the tools in my arsenal (and there are many) to move the old stuff through me, to deal with the story that was and not attach it to a current situation. Or at the very least, acknowledge that I have done that and cut the chord. And oh how I am trying. But perhaps the point I am trying to make here and to myself is that it is ok to change the way I do things. It is ok to change perspective. It is ok to want something different. I am not miserable and nowhere near as disparate as I was by any stretch of the imagination. But I am ready to feel different, lighter, easier. To let go of stuck in favour of freedom. And while I cannot shape in to words exactly how that looks right now, this picture was a beautiful reminder that I have the power and shape and change my world in whatever way I want, and that is very bloody cool.
Thank you Yoga, for giving me that <3