Owner, Village Yoga + Home-schooling Mom
what does confidence mean to you?
To me, confidence stems from within. It’s being authentically and unapologetically yourself no matter who is around or what situation you’re in. I use to be quiet and reserved, playing it small in all areas of my life because I was afraid of failing or embarrassing myself. I cared more about what others thought of me than what would actually make me happy. After I began teaching yoga, I began to find my voice. Teaching yoga is vulnerable in its nature as not every student likes every teacher. As a people-pleaser it was a challenge for me to find my voice at first because I wanted to speak for everyone. I wanted my message to land for everyone. In showing up that way, my message became extremely watered down. I was still playing small which wasn’t helping anyone.
My confidence grew though, because even though it was vulnerable to keep showing up every day to teach, I did it anyway. I began to learn that my confidence came from taking steps into the discomfort, learning to be okay when things weren’t perfect, messy even. Continually showing up when it was scary or when my inner voice spoke poorly to me, built my confidence. Like bricks stacking one by one, every time I stepped into the discomfort, my confidence grew. I’ll still hear that little voice telling me I’m not good enough to teach what’s on my heart, but now, I boldly teach it anyway. I no longer play small for fear others won’t approve. I show up and deliver what is authentic to me. And that, for me, is confidence.
My story started when I was in elementary school completing homework on my own, cooking myself dinner and putting myself to bed because my mom was too intoxicated to care for me and my dad worked night shifts. I learned at a young age to appear like I had it all together at school so that the teachers wouldn’t know what was happening at home. I learned that being quiet at home meant less arguments. I learned that in order for friends to like me I had to lie about my parents and my life. I was ashamed and far from confident. By the time I was 12 both of my parents passed away and my shame turned into depression and anxiety. Everything was scary. I was afraid of the dark, of making people upset, of being close to anyone. I had a ton of friends and school really helped take my mind off of everything, but I only had a few close friends that I could be authentic with. In front of everyone else, I hid behind a smile.
By the time I was a freshman in college, I couldn’t hide behind my smile anymore. My depression and anxiety were out of control. I had been doing yoga on and off for years and after I started to see a counselor, I became more devoted to practicing yoga daily. Yoga (and therapy) changed everything. On my mat, I could breath. I could cry. I could be with the memories and pain and simply sit with them. Through acknowledging my pain, over time, it simply shrunk.
Eventually, my story led me to so much joy in my adulthood. Because of my childhood, I decided to become an elementary teacher with the intention of giving kids hope who might not have it otherwise. I worked with children in various ways, always from a place of understanding when their story was hard.
Because of my childhood, I am an aware and involved mom. I cherish every moment my daughter, Scarlet and I have together. When my daughter was born, my husband and I traveled and lived in several countries with her. Soaking up her 5 years before Kindergarten, exploring wherever we could, built a very special bond between us.
And because of my childhood I have chosen to teach yoga to connect with others who have endured or are enduring their own struggle of a story. My story has empowered me, though I couldn’t see it then. When I’m with others who are grieving or recovering from a trial in their lives, I can look them in the eye and tell them with confidence that they will be okay, that they will not only survive their story, but eventually thrive from their story. I am currently in the process of opening a yoga studio that will focus on community, connection and healing so that no one feels alone in their ups or downs. To have a community to celebrate with and to cry with, ignites a feeling of belonging, which I believe is all we really need.
Everything was scary. I was afraid of the dark, of making people upset, of being close to anyone... In front of everyone else, I hid behind a smile.
WHEN IS YOUR FIRST MEMORY OF FEELING CONFIDENT?
Teaching my first yoga class! My entire life I had labeled myself an introvert with a fear of public speaking. I cringed every time I was called on in class and I played super small throughout my life. At some point I had been practicing yoga for so long and it had transformed my life so greatly, that I knew I had to share it. I was also pretty sure I would never have the courage to get in front of a class and speak, let alone teach. When I stood in front of my first class my palms were sweaty, my heart was pounding and my voice was shaking. But I didn’t bail. Or die. At the end of those 60 minutes I had gained a confidence I didn’t know was possible. Not because I taught an amazing class, because it actually wasn’t very good at all, but because I showed up and shared something I believed in even though I was scared. I showed up and stayed, even though it was uncomfortable. In that class I learned that confidence doesn’t come from perfection, nor does it always come naturally. I learned that it comes from showing up authentically despite what others think and despite what the unkind voice in my head thinks.
When is your first memory of feeling insecure?
I was in middle school the first time I remember feeling insecure. I was made fun of for the clothes I was wearing and for having hairy arms. I was so embarrassed that I shaved my arms that night and all the way through college. When I was about 20 years old it clicked how ridiculous it was that I was still shaving my arms because someone deemed them ugly when I was 12.
What makes you feel most confident now? How has this changed?
Taking steps towards my goals and dreams, especially the scary steps, makes me feel confident. This has changed because when I was younger I gained confidence from outside approval. Now, I gain confidence from making progress in the direction I choose for myself.
What is something you’re most proud of?
Homeschooling my daughter and taking the steps to launch my yoga studio, Village Yoga!
WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO YOUR YOUNGER SELF?
Don’t give your power away to anyone! Stand up for yourself and others, speak up for yourself and others, show up for yourself and others. You can’t please everyone, so stop trying. Be you and go kick ass.
How are you using your platform to make a difference?
I use the platform of teaching yoga to share my struggles, challenges and little life victories. I believe when we share with each other, the challenges and the triumphs, we feel connected. We know we’re not alone. I share the tools that have helped me heal, transform and become empowered in my life. They’re simple tools, but when we practice them over and over on our yoga mats, they start to seep into our lives, truly making a difference. They’re the tools that teach us to breath instead of honking at a stranger in traffic, to pause and respond rather than quickly or harshly reacting, to find compassion for ourselves and others. When we show up with these tools in our life, everything changes. Our stress goes down, our joy goes up and we become more harmonious to those around us.
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