Balakrama, CBD, city sounds, conspiracy theory, Dreadlocks, Hanumanasana, harried, hyper-vigilant, ocean beach, Panic attacks, patchouli, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, PTSD, rehab, tidal flow, Yoga
All it takes is a second.
The crowded CBD embraces me in its familiar sounds.
*Ding Ding!* say the endless parade of trams, criss-crossing the city.
Buy The Big Issue! Support the homeless and long term unemployed says the familiar face on the corner of Swanston and Collins.
Hustle, hurry, watch out whisper the feet and faces of harried city workers heading home for the night.
Just like me. Heading home, but not so harried, on my way to yoga class and not late as I’d thought I might’ve been, detained at work in a chat with a co-worker as I explained how evidence, any evidence can be used to prove all kinds of things. In an attempt to tell her why I simply can’t get into the whole conspiracy theory thing…
But anyway. Here, on the street and amongst a wash of people, multiple tidal flows and currents, gotta be careful not to get sidetracked from where you’re going.
Until I notice the guy just ahead of me and off to my right. Red and white horizontal striped shirt. My thoughts float off on their own tangential current and it takes me a while to catch up.
And they say things I’m not proud of.
Dreadlocks. Dark skin. But no! It’s not HIM, right? This guy’s too broad shouldered, too tall. So that’s okay. And he has body odour, nope HE never smelled like that. For some reason his skin always smelled like patchouli or something (crap, I wish I hadn’t remembered that!)… nope, it’s definitely not him…
I’m just a touch hyper-vigilant now. I notice everything around me. Though not out of freedom or joy, but deeply held habits.
I don’t feel afraid really, just alert. Just watching. Just hoping against hope, even after all this time, really hoping that I never do see him ever again.
But I remind myself that he’s not my enemy or anyone else’s. I know this. Still, I look. Every time I see a guy that looks remotely like him, I check to make sure it isn’t. I see differentiation and potential danger. Still. It makes me feel a little bit ashamed, almost like I’m being suspicious of an entire sub-set of people – those who look anything like him – for no other reason than their physicality. It feels kinda wrong to still think/react that way five years later.
I’m not completely free yet. Damnit!
But I know I’ve come a very long way. I’m happy. I’m not depressed or dealing with PTSD flashbacks. Even the panic attacks have begun to fade. And I’m doing way better than I ever imagined – in the depths of my pain and terror – was possible.
In some ways, I’m my own hero for surviving, being able to smile and dance and find compassion for all beings, myself included.
But while I confirmed it wasn’t HIM, I was engulfed in a burst of adrenaline that left me feeling drained. And tonight in Shadow Yoga, it was back to the Balakrama (Stepping into Strength) prelude. I was not feeling strong, and as such had my asana royally kicked.
My shoulder by the way, doesn’t require surgery (HOORAY!). It does however need lots of rehabilitation to break down the scar tissue surrounding my AC joint and rotator cuff. Let me tell you that rehab makes me want to say LOTS and LOTS of rude words.
So I now feel safe to push my shoulder a little more in yoga, but the stiffness is pretty bad. Yet tonight, it wasn’t the only part of my body feeling weak. My right leg wouldn’t stop shaking during standing poses, and after the fourth (two per side) Hanumanasana, I couldn’t do much more than roll sideways out of the pose.
Gotta find my legs again, regain my balance. Just like learning to handle yourself at an ocean beach: when you’re wading in or out of the water, you’ve gotta keep an eye on the upcoming waves and choose whether it’s best to stand your ground, or dive over or under the crest of the wave…
you have some real writing “chops” as they say.
thank you for sharing this, and sharing this journey with others.
Your shoulder rehabilitation sounds a lot like your whole recovery experience — breaking apart old scars, revisiting the pain, and dropping a few cuss words. I’m glad to hear you won’t need surgery, and I second Emma…thank you for sharing your story.
Knowing you are a determined, strong, courageous and powerful woman, I have full confidence that you will ‘find your legs’, and heal that shoulder of yours in good time. Rehabbing is really hard work, but I don’t see you as one who shies away from hard work! Sounds to me that though you felt shaken by your (sort of) sighting, it also gave you the opportunity to make that mental inventory of how far you have come. I hear how much happiness and appreciation you have for your life and how far you’ve come. Celebrating yourself as your own hero is so very cool!! I’m smiling with you and my heart dances along side you, feeling that compassion you describe, and appreciation for all you’ve shared. much love, Karin
@Emma – Even though it’s possibly sometimes to my detriment, the need to be brutally honest on my blog and in my life is alive and kicking. Thanks for your compliments!
@Alex – Nice analogy, and yeah I guess there are similarities there. Hadn’t really thought about it like that before, so thank you 🙂
@Karin – dear lady, right back at ya! I can’t think of many people who would deal with cancer the way you do – with such courage, humour and creativity. You’re right, I don’t shie away from hard work but I’m really not looking forward to tonight’s session! I was definitely shaken from the “sighting”, so much so I had a middle-of-the-night nightmare that kept me awake for a good hour. But I’m okay, it’s just interesting to note the remnants of that whole time in my life that are still hanging around. And I seriously think you should be joining the club of seeing yourself as your own hero. Lots of love to you, too xx
Brooks Hall said:
I just think that it’s so good to observe yourself as you are doing, Svasti. I, too, have alarm bells go off around certain types of people, and choose to work on not falling back on a conditioned response. But, I don’t think it’s correct to just try to kill my sensitivity, either. Staying awake, or waking up to life as it is unfolding is key. Then I can lay down fresh memories and thoughts, instead of only replaying the old ones… Anyway, I’m a fan of your work and process.
@Brooks Hall – It’s good to have you back blogging again! I think you’re right – it is good to have sensitivity, as long as it’s not a reaction you can’t control. That’s certainly what I experienced the other day. But it’s all one step at a time, working towards unfolding (as you said). 🙂
I so know what your feeling. So glad you have an outlet to get you through. I’m learning slowly how important it is.
@solecleansing66 – I am sure you do! We all need an outlet, a way to express how we feel. And I hope you’re finding your blog just as useful 🙂
maggie may said:
your heart is so large and so strong. xo
@maggie may – As is yours, lovely lady!