Thursday, January 23, 2014

Why So Serious?


“You look really serious.”

That is what my yoga instructor said to me (with a concerned face) after my most recent yoga class. I told her I was just concentrating and trying to get through the vinyāsa without hurting myself. I looked around at my fellow classmates and most of us were struggling. None of us—even the ones who were flowing through the vinyāsa with ease—were smiling. So why did I stand out as the serious looking one as she walked around? I wrote it off initially but it kept bubbling up into my thoughts.

When I couldn't shake it, I asked Ash who knows me better and sees me more than most people. He said I have the “evil eyebrows” when I concentrate. The evil eyebrows are a running joke between us. It refers to the furrow in my brow that appears when I am annoyed, angry or hyper-focused. I didn't think I had my evil eyebrows in full swing during yoga. We looked in the mirror at my natural expression. Yeah....I have bitchy resting face. 

I’ve heard some version of the yogi's comment all my life. People at work say, “What’s wrong?” or “At least I got you to smile” if I happen to laugh at a rare joke (not much humor in corporate land). Men attempting to flirt ask “Why are you so mad?/Who made you mad?/Can I get a smile?”

I’m so used to it at this point that I just smile and continue about my business. The thing is, I’m not sad. Sure, there are off days and there are things I still want for my life that I haven’t been blessed with yet (read: children) but I’m actually in a good place in my life. So why won’t my face follow suit?  

I kinda obsessed about it for a couple of days and then I let it go to ask myself a deeper question: Why do I care so much?

I did a lot of work a few years back to free myself of caring about what people (read: strangers) think of me. I’m happy to receive accolades/compliments but I don’t need them to be whole. At the same time, if someone criticizes me, I’m not falling apart. Bending and changing with what people think will eventually break a person. It’s exhausting and in the end, you still can’t please everyone. That kind of life locks you up in a mental prison and blocks creativity, change, and growth…my late teens/early twenties are a testament to that.

Perhaps, it spoke to something deeper. As happy as I may feel, I’m not afraid to acknowledge that life feels a little stuck as of late. It’s like I’m continuing on life’s journey…walking forward but portions feel like the walk is on a treadmill. I can see the dream (working in passion, motherhood, good health) right in front of me but they’re just out of reach no matter how fast I’m walking. Maybe its deeper rooted than I thought and is showing on my face. Or maybe, it has been a long week and I need to let loose and laugh a little more.

Sorry for the one sided therapy session. I just thought I’d share in case some of you suffer through the same “why are you so mad?” madness. 

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