Written by Emily Curtis for Parimukti

I attended a three-woman acapella theatre ensemble recently. It was a welcome surprise to see a guerilla theatre expression of young women in the Indian context. The space, a mix bohemian bookstore-library, boutique clothing retailer, café, was filled with a wide cross section of people. Notably exceptional, was to be the only non-Indian national at a Goan soiree! After the performance, the social architecture began to take shape and was highlighted by alcohol and smoke. I was feeling a little out of place. I managed to channel the former smoker in me such as to illicit the necessary feeling of compassion I would need to overcome my awkwardness, or my disregard for the air quality.

After some rounds amidst strangers young and old, I found myself colliding with one of the young women performers. Her gaze was intensely set on me. She pulled a drag off her cigarette and asked me: “what do you do?”

I blanked.

Now, I could have said any number of things, I could have… But what I said was, “a lot of things!”

She replied, “such as…?”

Blank-blank.I had the prodding feeling of needing to conform to a social norm. Note, given the normality of her query, why couldn’t I just say something pithy and clever, like “do you mean what do I do to earn money, or what do I do to stoke my passions? Or was it that you want to know what I do to pass the time, or rather to sustain my healthy metabolism…?!” I rode home with my partner with that sticky feeling like I had betrayed my authenticity. I hadn’t had the courage to say, “I’m a magician! I’m an experimental engineer! I’m a participatory mapping methodologist, a grassroots empowerment enthusiast, I’m a revolutionary living artist, I’m a priestess of the divine feminine, I’m a singer, I’m a dancer, I’m… I’m… I’m awkward at having to confine my identity to a prescribed social norm, especially one that puts how I earn money first.

In the tradition of it never being too late, and in the pursuit of maintaining communion with myself, I think this is how I want to answer the question now: I do. I be. I do. I be. I search for meaning in the stars, in storms, in symbols, in patterns. I’m on a quest to find resonance between my physical, energetic, emotional, mental-intuitive, and spiritual bodies, and I know what is real when I feel harmony. And when there is discrepancy between self and other, I can pause, breathe, and choose to align self with self.


Yogis at Parimukti

Categories: Yoga Teacher Training

Merel Martens

Merel is the founder of Parimukti Yoga & Meditation Center aiming to spread the beauty and benefits of yoga with everyone. For Merel, Yoga is awareness, both on the mat and in everyday life. Classes and teachings serve as an inspiration when stepping into daily life.

1 Comment

shelery · 22, September, 2015 at 8:50 pm

Wow.. beautiful words, words that express how I feel in such situations too.. Thank you for sharing 🙂 xx

All points of view are welcome, even contradictory ones ? All we expect is that you put your point across in a civil manner.

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