One night, in Yoga Teacher Training, our instructor took us through meditation. Nothing unusual, but this time, we were to go back and meet our childhood selves as we are right now. I never thought of doing this before and I thought, “Oh, this will be a fun experiment.” Maybe, I’d give him a high-five and ask him how school is going; that sort of thing.
But, then I saw him and it hit me in an unexpected way.
There I was; eh … me. He. We. Whatever. When I came up to him, I immediately realized that the high-five thing was a dumb idea. Neither one of us said anything, but he knew who I was and just looked at me with no judgement. Just observing me, with a welcoming expression.
And this bothered me, because it was like I wanted him to judge me. I expected it. He should, dammit! I felt unworthy of his acceptance and it made me uncomfortable. Then it made me sad and I did my best to hold back the tears. I was among my classmates and they can’t see me like that. You know?
That kid was awesome. He was naïve, innocent, and okay. I felt like I fucked that up and that he should push me or punch me or something! But nothing. He was cool.
I wanted to give him all the excuses about life, reality, circumstances, and survival. I felt like I should vomit explanations: The first time I saw my parents have one of those fights where they throw shit; and then … the twentieth time. All those fights I got into. That time I saw my first dead body. I was way too young to see a bullet-riddled bleeding corpse. That time I got jumped and beaten in the projects. Oh, and that other time and what I had to do to make it home. That time my cousin died in his sleep. That car accident. That time I had to decide to put my mother in hospice and then have her cremated. And then my father as well. Or, that time I had two guns pressed into my skull by bank robbers? Are you kidding me?! Fucking bank robbers!
And … you know; a bunch of life, multiplied by decades. I lost my hair. His hair. Sorry kid.
But, he just looked at me with that face. Like … as if he liked me.
So then, I realized where I am now, which is a pretty damn good place. It took a lot of work, sacrifice, loss, pain, setbacks, eating ramen noodles, self-responsibility, letting the bad shit go, striving for the good things, loving and being loved, and trying to be a better version of myself this day than I was yesterday, multiplied by decades. I have a soul to protect. I’m grateful for that, every day.
He saw me. For real. All of it. And he’s proud of me; eh … himself. Us. Whatever.
Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash