It always sounds like a good idea to divide your life up into neat little categories.
Each little subcategory of life makes sense when you organize it like this. You work with your coworkers. Play with your friends. Take yoga from your teacher. Teach yoga to your students. Workout with your trainer. And complain about everyone to your family or significant other. Right?
Well, yes, if you want to live your life inside a bunch of very limiting and crowded boxes. I used to think of my life a lot like this. I didn’t need my coworkers to know that I went out until 4am on weekends. And I certainly didn’t need my Sunday morning yoga students to know that about their “yoga guru” (Ha)! I didn’t talk to my friends or my boyfriend about yoga because that just wasn’t their thing (and I was often met with strange looks and skeptical jokes). And I ran in the other direction when I saw any fitness professional outside their appropriate venue (crossfit box, spin studio, pilates gym)… but most especially if they saw me holding a bag of chips and case of beer at the grocery store.
It seemed easy to live this way, because I knew what to say to who and when to say things where; but below the surface I was exhausting myself and frankly underestimating all the people in my life.
As I’ve grown up (and especially in the last year) I have started stepping out of these tiny compartmentalized boxes. And, better yet, started cramming and dragging different people from one sphere to another to another. I started letting slip to my coworkers that yeah, ok, maybe I’ve been hung over a time or two at work. Or I’d grab drinks with some of my yogis after class. Or I’d start bragging to my buds about how my handstand was rocking and that I was working tirelessly on my Vrschikasana.
I also started letting my yoga students in on a big secret: I’m not super serious, I’m a little inappropriate and I love sarcasm just as much as I love downward facing dog.
This one difference – allowing everyone in my life to experience all the different parts of me – has yielded awesome results 100% of the time. Not only have I gotten some of my best friends (and siblings) into yoga, but I’ve also let my students see a side of me that they enjoy and can identify with. I’m not some humorless drone at the front of the room talking about the area between the genitals and the anus (seriously, teachers? Call activating mula bandha what it is – a kegel), I’m their teacher turned friend who broke her toe doing drunk yoga. I can talk music with them and swap stories from the weekend with them. They get to be a part of my life and hear about real shit that is going on with me.
I’ll be honest, it’s gotten a lot messier… and this experiment in over-sharing hasn’t been easy. Keeping people inside their different spheres of safety is much easier than letting them know all of who I am. And honestly at first it’s just as exhausting as keeping them apart. But the reason I do it is this: I connect with everyone in such a real way. They get to know that I’m a yoga-loving, vodka-drinking, music-loving, reality-tv-watching, sarcastic, writer-turned-yogi who has a blog, eats meat and sometimes rear ends unsuspecting drivers around Miami…
It’s not a neat package and it isn’t a title that I can fit onto a business card – that’s for sure – but it’s who I am and everyone who’s gotten to know this lunatic in the past year seems to like her.
So if you find that keeping people in their proper place is your tendency I dare you to drop the act and let go. Let everyone know everything. Stop holding back. Get real, dude!