“Om Mani Padme Hum”
– Buddhist/Indian Mantra –
This week was a bit of an experiment all round, but with positive results so far.
First things first. Last week during my fourth self-defence class (I am taking a “women only course”, six lessons in total), the instructor approached me and asked me, or rather demanded, in an extremely impolite and loud way that this week I’d show up in a regular sports T-shirt with short sleeves, “just like everyone else.” Because, he explained even more furiously, if any of the other women took notice of the shirt I was wearing, they might feel prompted to show up in a shirt that had “even more cleavage than yours.” (Sadly, that is a direct translated quote, yes).
This is the shirt I was wearing:
I decided to comply and, dressed in my pièce de résistance (a bright orange T-shirt promoting our national blood bank, with short sleeves and a neckline that practically reaches my chin), I went to class yesterday to take ’em down. And I did.
I got my justice in threefold:
- My instructor lined us up and told us he wouldn’t be around for the final class next week. He introduced his substitute as my brains did a little dance. Whoop whoop!
- During the warming-up (running around the room), the instructor read the text on the front of my shirt out loud: “It’s red and gives blood. I don’t know, an apple?” I turned around, showing him the blood bank logo on my back. He was impressed because I am a donor. I suppose I suddenly went up a few steps on his respect-ladder, because from then on out it was nothing but compliments raining down on me.
- After our muscles were warm and good to go, a classmate unzipped her cardigan, showing… YES! A sleeveless sports shirt! Even though nobody told her off, I made sure to stand right next to her every chance I got. And smirk at the instructor while at it, of course.
When I got home I felt exhilarated, Life. I had stood up for myself, albeit passive-aggressively, but I had done it nonetheless! I had asked the Universe (or actually the ancient god Tyr, according to my rune book) for justice and I had gotten it!
My renewed strength got an even greater boost as I got into my meditation of the day. I had set out to find a mantra that suits me and as I was Om Mani Padme Hum-ing my way into positivity, I suddenly saw my sixteen-year-old self sitting on the side of my bed, crying. Being depressed, extremely sad, even more lonely and beyond vulnerable.
That’s a part of me I’ve always left unfixed, because it felt too painful to bring those memories back. But this time, I didn’t run away. I sat down beside that forlorn teenage girl, held her in my arms and told her I would not be this strong today if she hadn’t been strong enough to make it through the ordeal of that depression. And I realised that that period of my life is not my weakest, but my strongest. Because even though I was ready to give up back then, I didn’t. I sat it out and I came back. I could never have done that if that sixteen-year-old girl hadn’t gotten enough strength to pull through.
I told her it’s okay to feel sad, but that I’ll no longer feel ashamed of who I was back then. Instead I’ll feel immense pride for how that insecure girl made it through. For the rest of my meditation, I simply held her and told her we’ll be okay, no matter what, because we have each other. And it felt good.
For the first time, Life, I really told myself I loved me and I meant it.
Thank you for the many insights you’ve given me during this experimental week.
But know that if you ever treat me unfairly, I’ll come hit you right back, Life, because now I know how to hit!
And I’ll be accompanied by a sixteen-year-old version of me, in matching sleeveless kick-ass T-shirts, so beware! 😉