I’m no ordinary girl, the usual comforts won’t do me any good. I didn’t experience the typical soothing as a young child and the nurturing instincts of others seem cliché. I feel out of place and abandoned in most places but listen to the voice within and draw in my poise. I’ve spent a lifetime giving myself to others and in a year where the world seems to be falling apart and food delivery, messenger apps, chat boards, and live streaming have become inspirational sessions, it was time to take an instructional page from 2020 and pivot. The old norm was no longer going to work.
It was a time to explore myself. I need healing, recovery, to purge an essence of shame from the residue of life, I thought. It was time for a quiet place to trust myself.
Thoughts swoop in and swoop out. I’m scared no one loves me, that I’m alone. Alone in a way that if I was no more, I’d be forgotten as a person who ever existed. I think it sometimes. I feel it. I take it to my yoga mat. “It just takes time,” I tell myself. Everything does. This year has given us time. There is now an expectation to slow down, to learn self-care, and have compassion.
I’ve broken my own heart too many times and for years occupied myself with various healing arts for knowledge. I seek, I heal, I love, I learn. I have a long and respectable curriculum of wellness practices – reiki, energy work, chakra therapy, crystals, smudge ceremonies, shaman, massage, nutrition, integrative remedies, and yoga. But I was repeatedly drawn to yoga with a desire to find well-being and abundance – dare I say, peace. My body was solid but strained and in need of elasticity and I sought the same for my mind.
I left behind the “I’m more yogi than you” mentality of many studios over the years. Those teachers and places that had lost the self-acceptance of yoga for body comparing, perfection-seeking, self-congratulatory practitioners. Shame traps. We know them, they exist in almost all industries.
I left them behind. Laid them down for someone else, and finally found a studio to deepen my place on the mat with confidence and warmth. Here my body became strong and malleable, my mind sharpened, my self-possession, acute. In times of quarantine and studios closings, I kept that focus and laid it bare on the mat many times.
This was a place where sometimes tears shined in my eyes, flecked by candlelight lining the edges of the walls. Where I felt my fingers spread firm on the mat, my heart center opening before I release my hip from pigeon pose. My leg presses high and my stride instinctively falls into down dog. It feels good to press back opening my ribs. With my head down, the sensation of tears filter to the notch just below my brow and catch a little before releasing over my forehead. The background lyrics hum “I had to lose you to love myself.” oddly inspirational. Timed perfectly with my virtual teachers’ soft words reassuring us self-love is not just hard for one of us, but all of us.
I remember, I’m no ordinary girl. Normally people would seek the superficial validations of perfect strangers or fill up on society’s overt propaganda. Breathing it in like a life raft delivering them from any glimmer of unhappiness. A transitory solution. If they are lucky they have someone who knows them deeply to confide in. If they don’t, they drift.
I’m no ordinary girl. I run free like the luminescence floating from a silver wolf sprinting, like shavings falling from a star. I am like dark matter taking any of several forms, finding myself, reinventing over and over. I am energy not yet aware how I will affect the expansion of the universe.
I don’t want to be ordinary. I don’t want to suck on delicious old wife’s tales deceiving me of who I am, I want to taste the astringent truth of realities both yours and mine. This year has taught us that.
Our lives may have splintered into new variations, some stronger, and others asking us for more. In a year without travel and a renewed focus on self-discovery and creating a new connection, we listen. We become less ordinary.
I believe in myself. I am not ordinary, and neither are you.
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Liz Galloway has danced with locals in Beirut, been lost in a maze of Marrakech souks, worked with Indigenous people in Costa Rica, hiked the highest mountain in Indochina, flown a helicopter, jumped from planes, bridges and cliffs, swam with whale sharks, manta rays, turtles, seals, hammerheads, and some humans. She has contributed travel features to Luxury Report, along with Matador, Yoga Digest, Vamoose Outdoors, Bad Yogi, HER Magazine, Spa Opportunities, Pulse, East Asia Backpackers and many other digital and print outlets. You can listen to her on the E-Health and Women Entrepreneur's podcasts or find her health juice book on Amazon Kindle. She also connects people with transformative travel to break personal boundaries with an online coaching space and in personal adventure retreats with the Wild Adventure Wellness brand. When she is not eating french fries or sipping wine, you can find her working with travel brands or scouting new locations. Connect with Liz online.