Giving voice to our vulnerabilities, insecurities, and perceived weaknesses requires what can feel like a super-human effort. It is humbling, triggering and reveals to the writer places where they may be experiencing deep shame or self-hatred. It is a practice of expression, of finding and allowing our voices to move up and out of our secret, inner realms.
Voice: Not having, finding, using. This is one of the themes of Keelie's list and has been a huge part of her life path. This list shows how deeply embodied Keelie's voice has become, but, in my opinion, the true gift of this list is Keelie's visual voice. She may still at times struggle with her literal voice, but her voice through image and art is full-bodied and radiant. The photograph and art pieces she chose to share with us capture the rawness of lived experience better than words ever could. Looking at them takes me to the roots of feeling behind the words; they reflect universal aspects of self. We can know ourselves better and see ourselves more clearly by considering the images and owning the emotions they mirror.
Thank you Keelie for this brilliant and evocative mixed-media representation of your vulnerabilities. -Shannon Leigh
Keelie and Roz
1. I never understood how to express anger throughout my childhood and still have a difficult time with it in my adult life. My toddler-level understanding has lead me to some wild moments: I have screamed in public places, punched walls, thrown things, broken objects.
2. My lack of understanding of anger has also led to inward manifestations of anger: depression, self doubt, fear and shame.
3. I labored naturally in my home for over 30 hours and ended up having Rozzy by c-section. I handled it like a champ, I did. It feels vulnearable to be proud of myself. It feels disappointing that we didn't get the homebirth that we wanted. I still keep going back to the thought that it's my fault or I did something wrong.
4. My post pregnancy body is different. My connection with the core is different. My yoga practice is different. I have diastasis recti and it's a daily frustration at this point. I'm trying to accept the process, but often find myself dreaming of a future or past body that may not ever exist.
5. I'm not afraid of dying but I'm terrified to think about losing the ones I love the most, especially my husband. In the process of writing this damn list, I had a panic attack about it.
6. I used to have panic attacks regularly from ages 17-25. Establishing a pranayama & mindful practice is something that keeps me calm & grounded, but clearly this is a life-long lesson for me.
7. I hated yin yoga the first time I tried it. What hindered me, and still does, is restlessness.
8. Which explains why I get so annoyed with laziness & lack of follow through. My restlessness leads me to getting involved in too many projects and causes. I tend to think that everyone is on the same level and wants to achieve the same goals at the same pace as me.
9. I'm caught in a loop of worthiness and shame. I am worthy in one moment and not good enough in the next. I use mantra to heal the pain of my past, but it is a challenging cycle for me to break.
10. My core fear is isolation/rejection. Teaching yoga, and really teaching at all, has been a vulnearable path for me. I was a young child with selective mutism and a teen with anxiety. I have always been soft spoken. The first time I had a public speaking event I broke out in hives. The old fear of isolation/rejection creeps in each time I speak in front of people. My quiet voice is the most regular complaint I hear from students.
Keelie's further reflections on vulnerability:
I arrive in a state of vulnerability every day. I expose my feelings, my emotions, my heart, my face. Each time I practice yoga, teach, paint, communicate and exist in community--I am vulnerable. Whether I'm alone, with my partner, on social media or face to face--I experience vulnerability every day. I know I'm not alone. I know you may feel connected to vulnerability and the preciousness of life, just like me. We are one and the same, you know. To be human is to be vulnerable to varying degrees.
I've been physically vulnerable in sexual situations, my home was broken into, and I was approached with a gun on the streets in Puerto Rico. (Sorry mom and dad, I never wanted to tell that to you face to face). I'm a lady, new mom, a stepmom and a true friend. Emotional vulnerability swirls about my space constantly. From time to time I get caught up in comparing my vulnerability, feeling that it is less or more than others. Those are hard times. When vulnerability becomes consuming, I try to remember that an easy, peaceful moment will come around again.
Keelie's OWY Teaching Schedule
6:00 - 7:15 PM All Level Yoga Norwalk
6:00 - 7:15 PM Yin Yoga Norwalk
10:00 - 11:15 AM All Level Yoga Sandusky