Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Stories we tell

I've got allergies.

Sneeze in white hankie 
By mcfarlandmo [CC-BY-2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Big, dry-eyed, sneezin, snot-drippin allergies.

I have never had allergies, I say to myself. I always check no on the allergic-to-anything box. For the past couple years, allergy season has rolled around and I've sneezed and people have said it's allergies and I've said oh, no, I don't have allergies.

And then Thursday before class I sat down to center myself and the first thought in my head was "So fine, so I have allergies, then."

And I had my thought to impart for the day. I've been sneaking them in, now that I'm more comfortable with the actual teaching of the poses, I've been adding a little "yoga-talk" or thought to the beginning of the practice. It's just another one of those things I knew I would do when the time was right, so I didn't set a particular date or goal of doing it. I didn't even have a thought planned for yesterday, but when I came to my mat and got quiet it came to me.

We define ourselves as someone, saying "I am someone who..." or "I am someone who does not..." and in defining ourselves, we create ourselves. When I say that I am single, I reinforce that idea. Certainly it does not help when the @#)%#@)%( optometrist asks me to check a box for single or married (still the only two options, and I don't check either because they are checking my eyes). The idea gets reinforced every time there is a box to tick, even if it's an idea we don't particularly care for. Not only our definitions of ourselves as requested by the boxes on a form, but the very idea that this matters.

So I don't check the box. And somehow that seems like a marked option too, like if I were more at ease with what is -- the fact that I am single -- then it wouldn't be an issue with me, to check it or not check it.

But I persist in wondering why it matters.

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