Last week Lucia's best friend Cece got her hair chopped off. Cece's always had beautiful, long, dark hair and thick bangs. Now she's in kindergarten and she likes "to wook wike a wock and whoa-ler." She likes black nail polish and black t-shirts with skulls and crossbones. And she wanted a rock 'n' roll hair cut too. So her mom took her to get her hair cut like Joan Jett.
When I saw Cece for the first time with her new haircut, it was as if I was meeting her for the first time. The haircut somehow made her more Cece-ish. She was radiant. Her smile looked more beautiful, her eyes were more twinkly, she was more Cece than Cece had ever been!
I've never had a haircut that made me feel the way Cece seems to feel in her new do. When I was eleven, I had a seersucker skirt-blouse ensemble that, with french braids, really suited me, but even then I am not sure I was completely in my skin. I was always shy, self-conscious, not sure, so feeling like me was complicated. That amazing look of joy that Cece had right after her haircut was not in my repertoire of facial expressions. I was more the kid sneaking a look at the girl next to me to see if my shoes were as cool as her's.
Finding my way into my skin came through yoga. Something happened when I started practicing yoga. Whether my practice of the day sucked or soared was irrelevant. I was newly, often uncomfortably looking at myself, eventually seeing myself through a different lens. I had to listen to my body. My defenses were broken down and somewhere along the way I shed my deflector-shield skin and there I was. Me.
Then I started teaching yoga, and I had to do it all over again-- lose the self-consciousness, the fear of being looked at, of saying something stupid, of losing complete composure in a room of strangers. Sometimes I still feel like an impostor when I am practicing or teaching. More often, though, I get that twinkly-eyed feeling. The feeling that my skin suits me and I'm exactly where I should be.