Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Essay on Shame #11

A little while ago, someone suggested that I take a yoga class -- a suggestion I met with a visceral "Hell no." I made my usual, widely-accepted excuses for not doing things (I don't have time! It costs too much money!). What I really meant was that I didn't want to put my legs in a weird position and have a stranger tell me that it wasn't weird enough while other strangers looked at me.

I am aware that ...
1) A yoga class is a class. By definition, you don't go to a class because you are already perfect at the thing the class is teaching.
1a) When I teach a class, I don't shame my students for not already being perfect at writing. I assume the same would be true in a yoga class, only with yoga.
2) The other strangers in the class would be trying to get their legs into weird positions and would not be worrying about mine.
3) If I were worrying about their legs, I would be the one who was the jerk, with a new source of shame.

 I didn't sign up for a yoga class. I've started doing sit-ups and push-ups and a few stretches in my own apartment, where no one can tell me I'm doing it wrong. And if I could be doing it in a way that's better for me, no one knows -- including me. I don't ever have to change what I'm doing because of someone else -- even though, by exercising in my apartment and in my apartment only, I'm changing what I'm doing because of someone else.

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