Saturday, May 21, 2011

The Birthday I Almost Forgot...

raspberry custard-cream shortcake from Strawberry Bakery that Emily got me

the beautiful table spread Elizabeth & her mom made (aren't they the best??)
so. i just turned 23. and by just i mean 3 months ago. i have to keep reminding myself of this because for some reason i keep forgetting. like, the other day after a relaxing yoga class when a woman in my teacher training asked me how old i was. this is exactly how the conversation went down:

lady: so, have you finished your essay yet?

me (blissed out from savasana): uhhhhh... yeah. no. actually no. i just got done college so writing essays is not my favorite thing to do right now.

lady: ohh, my daughter just finished college. you are probably her age... how old are you?

me (blank stare)

awkward pause.

me (serious): i... uh, i have no idea.

am i 20? 38? 13? now at this point, i begin to panic.

me: ummm.... 20? 22. no, i might be 23. no i'm 22.... you know, i honestly cannot remember.

as soon as we get to the main lobby, i politely nod at this poor lady (who is staring at me with a worried smile) and dash to find my phone. i begin to dial my mom.  no, i think to myself, she'll schedule me for an MRI as soon as i get home. instead i call a trusted friend who i know will not worry but merely realize it's just one of those many moments in which i have only lost my mind temporarily. my friend, who at first thinks i am kidding, confirms to me that i am in fact 23. phew. crisis averted.

this particular lack of awareness of 'self' has been happening to me more and more after yoga classes where i forget - almost completely - about myself as the 'self' i appear to be to others. you know, like the usual markers of what makes someone a person, such as age, appearance, name, etc. but the more i do yoga, the more i breathe fully into my body and into the present moment the question of "who am i" begins to bend and becomes increasingly harder to answer. i am a sister, a daughter, a 23 year old, a friend, a college graduate, a woman... but deeper than all of this is simply that i am. i am breathing. i am feeling my toes on the mat. i am feeling my belly expand with each in-breath. and all of those qualities like age and gender and hair color and job... they seem so insignificant when compared to the fact that there is this breath filling up my lungs, my stomach.  i become stomach. i become lungs. i become breath. 

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