Babies have no inhibitions in expressing how they feel. If they’re happy, they’ll laugh. If they’re sad, they’ll cry. These highs and lows can come within seconds of each other without any restraint. They are free of society’s distaste for emotional outbursts.
Then they mature.
As I matured I learned to take on the highs and lows with level-headedness and self-control, which is not all bad. But somewhere along the way I acquired the attitude that emotions are childish and weak.
I denied life to be the roller coaster that it is, thereby denying reality itself. Every heartbreak, trauma, and disappointment was not allowed to manifest, lest my emotions make those around me feel uncomfortable. I thought not being happy all the time meant not being able to take care of myself.
There was no pain, nor much of anything else. What once brought joy as a child was now stale. I could walk tall, give firm handshakes, and even force a polite smile, but on the inside I looked like Quasimodo, crippled by unresolved issues from my past I’ve thrown under the carpet.
Then one day a friend invites me to go to a yoga class. I’m hesitant at first. I tried yoga before and didn’t really like it. But I go this time. What else am I going to do tonight?
I started to become aware of once unnoticed muscles in my body, as they burned and stretched. My shoulders loosened, my hips opened, and at the end of class I rolled on my back hugging my knees. A breath filled my stomach, climbed up to my armpits, and then reversed on the exhale. Energy vibrated from my lower back, up my spine, all the way to my face where tears were mixed with sweat as I cried softly.