I am visiting the in-laws right now for the first time. And no matter how much I am in my body or 33 years old, or a successful working professional, or meditating regularly – I care, I deeply care about what they think of me. Thus, the time is spent, highly aware or my words, my tone, my jokes, if I’m helping out enough and who went into the bathroom directly after I took my morning crap. So when his Dad…well we were all sitting around listening to a podcast about this ignorant black guy who was burning a book he never read cause it had the word negro in the title, even though the book is an affirmative action, incredibly educational read about the civil rights movement and black empowerment. This ignorant guy is burning the book, so I back talk the podcast, “God, he didn’t even read the book, I mean, what is he thinking to be so rightous”! And then suddenly Dad yells “ BE QUIET. I’m listening! Enough out of you.”
First came silence. Then came my eyes lowering. Then came leaving the room. Then came…well I cried. I went into the kitchen and leaned on my boyfriend and I quietly bawled. I felt like scolded child. I felt like I feel a lot in my life, to loud, to brash, to pushy and in general just too much for people. I feel terrible that I am too much, me, just being me, uncensored is too much. That’s gotta hurt right? So I went to the back garden and I cried some more. I lay down my yoga mat and I cried in my first Downward Dog of the day, I went into Plank and I cried between my thumbs, I rotated my shoulder blades down and back and cried in a Baby Cobra, I pushed back and lunged out and hugged my midline and cried in Prasarita Parsvotanasana. I wrung myself out in Gomukasana and the tears kept coming. And as I moved my body and cried in the garden I saw a little ant pulling a dead ladybug for his dinner and I saw a tiny little flea-fly thing drowning in a cup of water and I used a branch to save it and as I cried I went into King Pigeon (really well I might add) and then I sat for a bit and felt the rays of sunlight on my back.
I thought, here is a man meeting his son’s woman for the first time and she is not like the other ones, “meek and milk toast” I call them. This firey, powerful destroyer of dinner conversations is going to be an in-law and that is actually a big pill to swallow cause she’s not that easy- and I want to prove them wrong. I want to win them over, make them say “what on earth was I thinking, thank God that loud-mouthed small lady is going to be the mother of my sons children” but I can’t seem to fake it. I am stuck with this big character God gave me to play.
So I was meditating on all this (obsessing with my hands in Gyan mudra) and I thought he as well probably longs to be liked too. He as well feels shitty, and embarrassed. He made a woman cry for Gods sake. As I opened my eyes I heard a bumbling down the back steps. The Dad had come out with a jug of water and a magazine. “It’s my favorite, I haven’t opened it yet” he said “and some water for after your yoga. I’m so sorry, after I said it I realized it came out mean and I do that and I’m so sorry and I didn’t mean to hurt your feelings and I’m an idiot sometimes.”
And the exchange was uncomfortable and then he puttered in the compost while I bowed my forehead to the ground.
I became closer to his father, the vulnerability we shared in both being assholes- it made this space for softness that wasn’t there before and also a deepening, that there is this tender secret we now share. And we sat around the dinner table that night, not trying to be nice to each other, not trying to be on our best behaviour, but actually being ourselves. Together. And sort of enjoying it.