on: yoga and my shadow side

Last night, sniffling on my side in bed, Chris asked me, “Babe what’s wrong?”

It could be any number of things. I have a trusted sack that I pull from — “I’m overwhelmed,” “I’m frustrated,” “I have SO MUCH TO DO.” Last night I looked at him and said, “I’m scared.” 

I’ve been anxious, as usual, always, lately. I’m afraid of the future.

I’ve been taking this natural herbal supplement which may or may not be helping me focus and chill out. Someone asked me the other day, “Does that work for you?” I shrugged, thinking, “The 40 mg of Prozac probably doesn’t hurt either.”

I’m not alone in my anxiety. God knows everyone moves at lightning speed, collapses, sprints again. Society’s partly to blame, I suppose; stress has become sexy. Stress means you’re busy which means you’re successful. If that were, in fact, true, I’d be a little richer (I think).

I cradle my anxiety, the sometimes depression. It’s special to me, which I know is fucked up, sure, but it doesn’t make me hold it any less dear. It’s an excuse.


I store a whole lot of resentment in this body. You know when you’re eating cake from the fridge in the middle of the night and you’re just using your fingers instead of a fork because then it’s like it never happened? You know you’re gonna regret it but you do it anyway.

That’s me resenting others. I resent people who make more money than I do. I resent people who have more time than I do. I resent people who get to do what I want to do when I can’t do it. It makes me feel like an asshole, but well, cake.

Chris says he has a lot of vacation days this year. I furrow my brow, sigh. “I’m working on my resentment chakra!” I yell as I pour a glass of wine. I’ve gotten better about communicating the uglier parts of myself. Resolving them, though, well, that’s what scares me. (Also, chakras are energy wheels and I need to memorize them, so).

I’m afraid of these, say, shadow sides of myself. Who is this monster who resents everyone and is so very selfish and also late night eating somebody else’s cake? She’s terrifying!

I’m afraid of who I could be if I dropped this resentment. Just let.it.go. She may be someone who has more friends, who people come to when they want to talk about their problems. She could shine super bright, owning her actions, believing in herself. Maybe my first thought about those statements wouldn’t be, “Ugh, Connelly, corny,” but “Oh, cool. That’d be great.”

Sometimes a moment of calm shines through my manic days (my days are slightly manic on the outside, but mainly it’s my mind that’s going nuts). Earlier this week I looked out my window at work and saw a dog making a mad rush for the parking lot next door. “Bree!” I yelled, the little dog from the business that shares our building.

“What?!” my sister yelled from across the room. We ran out to the parking lot to save the escaped dog. I chased her, she ran. Sissy crouched down, arms out, “Shhh, come here little bubba.” She carefully picked the dog up, walked assuredly back to the office, tall boots crunching in the gravel, her natural off-balance sway countered by her high ponytail, swinging in the sun.

My sister, saving a dog, thinking nothing of it.

I’m scared of the future, not because it holds anything bad, but because it holds so much good. How do I handle all of that? Will I be OK?

My sister, saving a dog.

I’m scared. Fear manifests in sadness, in anger, in that ugly, ugly resentment.

And then it’s the feeling when you’ve been swimming from one side of the pool to the other to see if you can make it the whole way on one breath and you’re doing it, you’re there, fingers brushing the rough side of the pool … up for air. That gasp, the sound of re-entering the world, the one moment of sweet relief, of reassurance that you’re gonna be OK.

That moment: Scooping up a runaway dog with your sister because you work together, writing (what you always said you’d do) every day because that’s your job, leaving work to walk your dogs with your fiance, drinking wine and studying to be a yoga teacher, texting your parents and your brother, seeing them at the beach in a few weeks.

That moment is your life.

That moment is my life and every day I get one step closer to living in it, rather than furiously typing out words about it. It’s scary to love instead of resent. It’s terrifying to accept things as they are instead of thinking of ways to change them. It’s unthinkable, isn’t it, to believe in ourselves?

“Get comfortable being uncomfortable,” Chris told me last night, flipping through my yoga books, quizzing me on the eight limbs of yoga. Our dogs sighed loudly, cuddling into our legs on the bed. He’d pulled me out of my sniffling, sad-for-myself state. “Come on babe, let’s look at those notes.”

A little less scared, a little more OK.

(That moment is your life).