My hair may not be blonde anymore, and I haven’t played softball in a couple of decades, but that fierce look on my face and the intensity of my own dignity and self preservation persists in my now 37 year old body and soul.
I was bullied once in 6th grade. A child much bigger than me was spewing hateful words at me on the bus ride home. I gathered all the intensity I have and said very clearly, “Every word coming out of your face makes me feel sad for you.” I turned back around in my seat and tried not to cry until I got home, where I soon forgot all about it. The next day and every day for the remainder of middle school, that child had nothing mean to say to me.
Recently at dinner with my best friend and a vicarious friend, enjoying the food as well as the weather on the restaurant patio, our conversation turned from congenial interaction to oppressive authoritarian-style grilling. The first time this friend of a friend asked me why I thought I would be successful in my new business venture, I was delighted with the platform to show my passionate excitement for Revive Wellness. I outlined in succinct detail, my business plan and marketing strategy.
My answer seemed to fuel him to shake his head “no” and get louder when he asked the second time why I thought I could be successful. This time I was on the defense- my smile fading, as I calmly explained again my desire to be a source of light and love in the world and to empower people to find their own healing potential through therapeutic yoga, spiritual counseling and massage.
Projecting himself loudly and with a sharpness in his voice he demanded again,
“what makes you think you can be successful? Why are you going to be successful? I don’t care about your certifications, I want to know how you’re going to be successful!”
My defenses were fully up at this point and I said, “Failure is not an option. I won’t fail.”
“Failure is absolutely an option. You can fail. Why are you going to be successful? Convince me,” he said, seeming to grow more comfortable and delighting in seeing me struggle to defend myself.
I was feeling small as I mustered the strength to say “I don’t need to convince you of anything. I can’t control external forces, but Im going to do my best to provide what I know is a needed service, and that is success.”
He backed off slightly for a moment and then said, “I believe you will succeed. But only this much,” and he held up his thumb and pointer finger an inch apart.
I stood up and said, “I have better ways to spend my time. I don’t want to be here with you anymore.” I walked away and cried behind a brick pillar while I waited for my Uber to take me home. “Everything coming out of your face right now makes me sad for you,” is maybe what I should have said, but as an adult that seems a little snarky.
On the ride home I thought, “why is this upsetting me so? I know that its nothing personal- he has some deluded sense that he was helping me outline a strategy for success. He’s jealous of the freedom in my life’s choices. He has a different definition of success than I do. Of course I can fail, but Pema Chodron says Fail, Fail again. Fail Better. I may fail, but failure is just another chance to grow and change and try again.”
This effort of starting a new business after starting my life over again is deeply pleasurable and exciting for me. My life is already a success story! I don’t need nor desire a 6 figure income and the stress load that comes with it. I want to work part time and make enough money to support my sweet children, continue traveling the world, quenching my soul by learning how to love more fully and deeply, caring for my body so that I have a healthy vessel to carry out the rest of my life on this lush planet. I want to see Iceland with my closest friends! I want to take my daughter to Hawaii! I want to volunteer in middle and high-school, teaching mindfulness based techniques to bolster children with tools for coping with stress and pain and standing up to bullies! I want to help women and men tap into their own authenticity and find happiness through balanced, blissful health in their body, mind and soul! This is happening. I will be successful. I am already successful.
Sally Raspberry LMBT 2550, RYT 200
Owner- Revive Wellness, Yoga Therapist, Ayurvedic Practitioner