Growing up, I always thought I’d be a writer in some sort of capacity. I wrote constantly, not as an obsession, but as if my survival counted on it. My pile of journals were stacked with fictional stories and mundane thoughts about my day. It was also my way of coping through the rough patches of my life, offering a space where I felt like I could let myself be truly open. The privacy that I perceived from them became a ripe source of freedom to truly express myself, thinking that no one would see what I wrote.
I remember when my grandpa died in ‘99 and my family read excerpts from his journal. Suddenly my idea of that safe place totally annihilated, and I ripped all of the pages that I had written on and threw them away. I was upset because I never wrote for other people, I only wrote for myself—then I got into the dial up world, I discovered LiveJournal, and I found people that I could write to and who would hear me out. These were people not only from my own school and community, but people from all over the world who I could build a new identity with. Instead of turning to my journals for solace, I’d turn to my online friends to cope—a lot of the time it was awkward, but at moments it was lyrical. Ultimately, it taught me that writing is better when shared.
As I matured, I still turned to my journals and blogosphere to put my words out there, but my interests started expanding. When I realized that my body was holding onto a lot of the trauma I couldn’t seem to express through my writing, I turned to stretching, allowing my body and intuition to do the writing for me to release it. My yoga practice stems directly from this desire to feel truly open and comfortable, and it’s my intent through teaching to leave that same impression with my students in a place where they can truly express themselves without feeling self-conscious about someone judging them.
Stitching is the thread that ties these two practices together. Even though I learned how to stitch when I was young, when I revisited as an adult it helped serve as another way to release me out of pain and addictions. Having a visual medium to work in, combined with the written word and the sensations of the body, allows me to sew these experiences as a tapestry of my life that I can hang to expose the inner-workings of my self that aren’t tied to language. What you see here is honoring my younger self. While I still feel awkward and vulnerable as hell at times, my experiences feel better when shared.
Thank you for sharing your time with me.