A couple of points before I launch into today’s story:
1. Thanks to EVERYONE who commented here, on FB and on Twitter on the A Bad Day at Bikram post. I cannot tell you how appreciative I am for the feedback and the support! You know, sometimes those of us who are so used to doling out the support get a touch shocked when we get it back. Y’all are the best buddies EVER.
2. My Day 4 and 5 at Bikram went a lot better! Turns out that it was a mix of the Day Three Blues and that pesky PMS. My mind was much quieter the next day and I could see progress in my poses. Lesson learned: vent, scream, cry, get pissy… and then get right back in the game.
Okay! Now that everything’s up to date, I have to tell you about a convo I had with my mother on Friday. Warning, this is a long one.
Some quick background for y’all who don’t know me: my mother, Sylvia, is the closest person in the world to me. In addition, my aunt Bevo is ALSO my mother. It is as if she and Sylvia split the egg and had this daughter that is a meld of the both of them. I love them both so dearly and depend on their love, advice and guidance on the daily. So, when the both of them pop up and don’t understand my chosen trajectory… hmm.
Here’s the transcript of a text convo I had with Syl on Friday:
ME: Yo! Just an FYI: I’m giving you some purses. The black Gucci one Leon gave me, the pink Coach and the zebra Dooney & Burke.
ME: Why what?
SYL: Why are you giving away your purses? (My mother knows I’m a purse fanatic, hence her concern.)
ME: Oh! I watched the movie “Earthlings”. I can’t be a part of that. No more meat or leather. I know you think it’s extreme, but it’s what I need to do. Giving away shoes, too. Gradually, in phases.
SYL: So you are going to wear PLASTIC shoes?!?!
ME: I know it’s an adjustment, but most of the hot-ass shoes on Victoria’s Secret aren’t leather. And think of those cute lace-up Calvin Klein’s we bought last year. Those aren’t leather, either.
SYL: “I am becoming concerned now… are you headed toward a complete vegan manifesto? Where is this going? I am serious.”
At this point, I decided to call her to have a meaningful conversation about her concern (and give my thumbs a rest). I came in mid-conversation between her and Bevo, and I heard Bevo throw around the word “fanatic” in the background.
Syl says, “We started with eating clean, then vegetarian, then vegan, then RAW, and now you’re giving up leather. You’ve been on several juice fasts over the last year. Where are we going with this? I’m afraid you’re going to begin wearing Birkenstocks and join some cult in the woods.”
(Do you notice how she kept using the word “WE”? Like I was somehow making this decision for the both of us?)
Does any of this sound familiar? You get excited about something you watch or feel or want to experience, you jump the “sharing” gun and encounter resistance from the folks you love the most. I have talked about what to do when you encounter people who don’t get what you’re doing (to be honest, I should have taken my own “Shhhhhhh” advice and not talked about it, especially not so soon after watching the movie), but what about when those people you thought were going to be the most supportive begin to question you?
Here’s a suggested blueprint: when the people you love wanna know what’s up, you have to FIRST depend on the the strength of your own convictions and understand your “why”. In addition, it’s up to YOU to understand the concern of the questioner, not depend on them to understand where you’re coming from. There’s no need to get confrontational; listen to what they have to say and calmly respond with how you feel. For example: after listening to what Syl had to say, I know she was concerned that she’d somehow birthed this hippie who’s going completely off the beaten track, gonna throw away every ounce of Diva she had cultivated and was going to start admonishing all the people around her when they reach for a slice of pepperoni… and that’s just not gonna happen. Here’s how I dealt with it:
First, I questioned lovingly: “Listen… I’m not trying to flip here; I really want to ask a question. What’s wrong with not eating meat? What’s the big deal if I don’t? I’m not telling YOU not to. In fact, I’m not telling ANYONE that they shouldn’t. This is a personal decision… and what’s wrong with that?”
Second, I then stated: “Look. I’m not giving up fashion. I’m not giving up MAC makeup. I’m not going to stop shaving my underarms. I’m not going to stop being myself… I’m just not eating meat or wearing leather. It’s not the end of the world, I promise.”
I can only give you advice based on my own experience and based on the relationship I have with my folks. I know that my parents (all of them) love and support me – the “from the moon to the dirt, fight anyone who messes with me, will always have my back, front, sides and middle” kinda support. I also know that if they don’t get my trajectory, it could be out of concern for my well-being and I just had to walk them through the process. In truth, they may not ever fully understand my decisions. What’s important is that I do.
The next day, my mother and I circled back around to the conversation. She said, “You know that what I think really does not matter. You’re not hurting anyone or yourself. You’re not out shooting kids in the schoolyards. This is obviously working for you… so keep at it if it makes you happy. But, you WILL be only 85% raw, right?”
Gotta love the folks.