@matthewakery taking me to dinner (at Mex 1 Coastal Cantina)
Wife, most importantly.
My design, but not my list. How to care for introverts.
Since finding out that this design has gone viral, I’d like to add some background info:
I’m the original designer of this poster. The list, however, is not mine - I just wanted to make it purty. It’s been floating around for several years now and is based on this article:http://www.terra.es/personal/asstib/articulos/perso/perso2.htm
The reason it comes off as rather childish and simplistic is that it is a list designed to help teachers who have introverted children in their classroom. However, many of us introverts still fit the bill even in our later years, and you’d be surprised how many extroverts do NOT understand these things! Yes, these are “rules” that apply to all human beings, but for introverts they can sometimes be even more important.
This image is now available as a poster and as a t-shirt (see below), and I’d be willing to put it on other products too if people are interested.
Thanks to everyone who has been sharing this (holy crap it got all over the internet FAST). I’m happy to have breathed new life into an old list and I’m very glad it has gotten people thinking, whether or not they agree with it!
Extroverts version: http://questionablylate.tumblr.com/post/27493250341/how-to-care-for-extroverts
“Practical tools for recognizing and resisting Christian Dominance.”
Little did I know that Christian Hegemony can negatively impact Christians, too.
“Here’s what I discerned:
Trust what my heart and mind are telling me about how I feel about someone, and show respect for those feelings by taking action.
If I’d done that, I would have spoken up the moment my throat started to tighten and my mind shouted, “Hey, wait a minute, this isn’t what I wanted to talk about!” Instead, all of the uninvited advice being hurled at me, much of which played to my insecurities, left me in shock.”
Why we should doodle more, especially at work.
Mr. Costanza, Seinfeld
“Feeling good about yourself when everyone is telling you there’s something wrong with you is not easy. And it usually starts at an early age. You’re teased for being a cry baby, criticised for being too sensitive, pressured into toughening up and judged for being too picky. Add to that daunting list the urges of your friends, family and teachers to be more like everyone else, for your own good, and it’s no wonder a highly sensitive person’s self-esteem starts to resemble Swiss cheese.”
No, it’s not because I’m pregnant.
I was 23 years old when I received my certificate to teach yoga. As soon as I recovered from the euphoria of training in the desert, I put all of my energy into teaching as much as possible. For a period of about two years, I taught an average of 12-15 classes a week, but sometimes as many as 19. I taught in schools, gyms, and churches. I didn’t have an opportunity to teach in an actual yoga studio and I think that’s mostly because I was very apprehensive of the idea. The culture here in Charleston is borderline devotee and I couldn’t bring myself to commit to any one studio’s methodology.
I was part of a group of women who were certified by the school that I went to and I wanted very much to open up a studio of our own. It’s probably best that it didn’t happen because most of our group consisted of married moms who had tight schedules and other commitments, which would have left me at the helm and I don’t think I was mature enough to take on that responsibility. (Also, I don’t think my husband was willing to go into debt over it.) In the mean time, studios were popping up all over the place and it seemed like everyone I knew (and didn’t know) was getting certified.
Did I mention that I was certified to teach Christian yoga?
That’s basically the equivalent of tightrope walking because I didn’t really fit into the yogi world, but I didn’t quite fit into the Christian framework either. Some yoga teachers considered my training inauthentic, which made for some uncomfortable conversations and moments of self-doubt. Celebrity church leaders deemed yoga blasphemous, idolatrous, and demon worship. Once Charleston churches caught wind of that stance, I started to notice a backlash from the people who were supposed to be “my people.”
So, there I was in my yogic limbo. I tried to carve out opportunities for myself. At one point, I waited for one year to initiate two programs: one for a hospital and another for a community center. Despite what I hope was their best intentions, they left me by the wayside and wished me well. I helped a friend open up a non-profit women’s health center, but the folks with the thickest wallets weren’t willing to donate if yoga had anything to do with it. Unfortunately, this led to a lot of heartache, burnt bridges, and split ways.
I put yoga on the back burner. I got a fulltime job, which exhausted me to the point of not caring if I ever taught again. I pulled away from the group of women who shared my same certification as they continued to pave the way for Christian yoga to have a presence in Charleston. I occasionally went to a yoga class, but always left feeling a little cynical.
I was having an identity crisis.
You see, I enrolled in that Christian certification program because I really thought God wanted me to do it. I had this fantasy of opening up a studio, teaching with my friends, and leading people to worship Jesus on their yoga mats, but the more I pressed into this vision, the more pain I experienced. It was like God had said “maybe” and I just heard him say “yes.” One door after another slammed shut in my face. One friendship after another resulted in miscommunication and separation. Every time I tried to make this yoga thing work, whether Jesus was part of it or not, it hurt.
And I just didn’t want to hurt anymore.
For a long time, I could not get on my yoga mat without weeping. I couldn’t do a sun salutation without grieving what I’d lost because of yoga. I couldn’t rest in savasana without feeling absolutely confused and distraught. There was no peace in my practice, but I kept practicing because nothing else brought me any peace either.
It wasn’t just the yoga aspect of my life that was in tatters. Everything else was falling apart, too. My husband and I left our church kicking and screaming, which led to a long period of isolation and depression as we tried to recover. I found out some traumatic information about my childhood that sent me immediately into months of intense counseling and rocking back and forth in the dark. My closest friends were no longer in the same zip code and I hated my job. I think 2011-2012 was one of the loneliest and saddest years of my entire life.
And then I got pregnant.
My husband and I agreed that it would be best for me to stay at home and focus on taking care of myself. I was in such a fragile state, he wasn’t sure I could handle working while growing a human being. Unexpectedly, I started to heal. It was like my unborn daughter was forcing me to face my guilt and self-hatred. She reignited my sense of purpose and I became happy again. She also got me back on my mat. The bliss I first felt when my yoga practice started over seven years ago is slowly making its way back into my bones.
My friends ask me when I’ll start teaching again. I don’t really know what to say to that. They try to remind me that I’m a great teacher, that they feel so relaxed in my classes. I can say with confidence that I am a good yoga instructor. Every class I taught was done with absolute love and care. I intentionally created an environment that would foster safety and sanctuary. And it didn’t matter to me if I taught in front of a cross or a carved wooden statue of the Buddha.
But it matters to other people.
They want you to pick a side of the fence.
It makes them feel less afraid.
There’s a story about Jesus’ disciples getting mad that a guy who’s not in their group is casting out demons and healing people in Jesus’ name. Of course, Jesus thinks this is silly and says, “Whoever isn’t against us is for us.” I think a lot of Christians forget that story. And a lot of Christians forget that each of our stories are different and won’t always sync up.
I don’t teach yoga (right now) because the doors that I want to walk through are shut and the ones that are open lead to places I don’t want to go.
I don’t teach yoga (right now) because it’s an ego trap. I’ve taken way too many yoga classes full of sycophants who love it when their teacher drops an eff-bomb.
I don’t teach yoga (right now) because I’m an introvert and a highly sensitive person, which a lot of people think don’t make for a great teacher.
And honestly, I don’t teach yoga (right now) because a lot of Christians think that what God wants for them, he wants for everyone. This applies to the Christians who think yoga is evil as well as the Christians who think yoga is good.
Stop making your story someone else’s story.
You’re robbing God and a human being of a unique and beautiful relationship.