wherever you are right now

“Connelly, I love practicing behind you. You’re really an inspiration.”

Yoga mat under my arm, I stared, dumb-founded, at the woman talking to me. I caught myself and thanked her, stuttering over words that may have conveyed “ditto.” Her friend nodded behind her and echoed her sentiments. I repeated my thanks and walked out of the studio, happily confused.

We live inside very small spheres of self. At least I think most 20 somethings do. If you’ve accepted yourself, good for you–here’s a cupcake or cronut or whatever makes your enlightened soul even happier. I haven’t accepted myself. I’ll probably still eat a cupcake but I won’t feel any good about it.

I don’t know how to be 23. I don’t know how to reconcile all of my disparate desires. I want to be reckless. I want to have a routine. I want calm. I want disruption. I may even want disaster. I want to feel big things. I want to be safe. In wanting all of these things, I find myself standing still, and experiencing them in a half-assed sort of way. I’m rooted firmly in the way I’ve always been. I’ve always clung to my worries, because without them, I think I’d float away. Who am I if I don’t know what’s next?

Do you know how hard it is to dig up roots?

A few days ago I decided that I needed a shock to my system. I missed the hell out of running so I bought some new shoes from a running store. The shock could have been their price (ha!), but the minute I put the shoes on, I knew exactly what would happen. I would run and it would feel strange at first, after a three and a half month break. But then it would feel good. It felt good. One foot follows another foot and I’m running, slowly, out of my current malaise.

The woman at the running store told me that I need to wear a size eight. I laughed. I don’t wear a size eight! That’s too big. That’s for big-footed girls! “You know,” she said, pulling my laces tighter, “just because you’re used to something, doesn’t mean it’s the right fit.” I walked out with a size eight.

Sometimes we think our lives will happen. We put a few things into motion and we assume the rest will follow. If I take yoga classes five days a week, I’ll become calm and happy. If I eat salads every day for lunch I’ll lose weight. If I drink enough at a bar, I’ll find someone interesting enough to go home with. If these statements make you think that I’m a nervous wreck who’s gained a few pounds and drinks enough for two people before going home alone, well, yeah, that’s the truth.

We can’t always be okay all of the time. I’m not advocating sinking into a summertime funk, but I’m not saying you should beat yourself up about it. Don’t worry, I’ve already tried that method. It doesn’t really help. Shit happens. Seasons change and all of a sudden you’re having the best October of your life. For every negative thought I have, I tell myself this: you’re going to be okay.

I was confused when those women complimented me on my yoga practice, because I don’t really think I’m good at yoga. I guess there’s no such thing as “good” in yoga. But as I “flow” through my sun salutations, I can’t imagine that I look like the incredibly fit girl next to me. And the girl with the really cool yoga pants! I know she’s “better” than I am. And yet. I am those girls. To these women–I am okay at this.

Sometimes, we can’t escape our spheres of self. We cannot escape and we cannot accept. We’re trapped in the tornado of our thoughts. Those women interrupted me today. They interrupted my constant flow of thoughts to say: hey, you, I acknowledge and accept you. When I spit out “thank you!” it was the most true thought I’d had all day.

“Wherever you are right now is where you need to be.” I’m not sure if I’m quoting a person or a theory on that one, but they say it in yoga. Wherever you are in a posture, in your practice, in your life–is fine.

I’ve got a dog next to me who keeps kicking me for a belly rub. My cat’s on the dresser to my right, and I’m pretty sure she’s been drinking from my water cup. My phone is low on battery but I think it will live long enough for my alarm. I can’t hear anything outside, because my city doesn’t make much noise. I’ll read a book until I fall asleep. This is where I am right now. This is where I need to be.