/// J O U R N E Y . T O . L O V E ///
February 26, 2018

I just went to the Feel it to Free it workshops this past weekend in Missoula. For those of you who haven’t experienced this, I highly recommend it.

We moved to a new neighborhood when I was eight. There were a lot of children in this neighborhood but the first time my brother and I went for a bike ride together the neighborhood kids called us Miss Piggy and Kermit the Frog. I made one friend at school but every time I tried to get in the circle of girls with her on the playground I was slowly edged out of the circle. I got the message. I was unacceptable.

This message has colored all other social experiences. I found Oula in 2011. The instructors I had were not different from any other fitness instructor I had ever had. I was around 300 pounds and personal trainers and fitness instructors had barely acknowledged my existence except to glance at me nervously to make sure I wasn’t going to keel over. They did not say hello or goodbye to me. I felt like a liability. The story of unacceptance played its tune but I kept going back because I loved to dance. Trying to learn choreography made me happy.

I was terrified to walk into the Oula studio. I couldn’t bare the thought of experiencing unacceptance from something I loved so much. Early in 2016 Kali noticed something I had posted on a friend’s post who was a part of the Oula community Facebook page. She added me to the Oula community page and I suddenly had access to the tribe. I began to post my thoughts. I’m not as fearful expressing myself on paper as I am in person. Writing gives me time to process my thoughts and gives people a chance to know me before they can judge me. I was considering signing up for instructor training. I thought I was moving and there was no way I was going to leave Oula in Missoula. It was time to feel the fear and move through it unacceptable or not. I mustered up the courage and walked in. Bernice greeted me warmly and I asked her questions about training. I wanted to make sure I could handle it physically. Bernice assured me that if I decided to sign up I would be fine.  I walked out of the little office and Staci greeted me. This was the first time in my life I had been acknowledged by a fitness instructor. This was the first time in my life I felt accepted by someone who did not know me on paper first. I should say that I avoid pain and painful feelings like the plague. I honestly felt that if I felt the full weight of my emotions the pain would be too great to bare. Suddenly the flood gates opened after dancing with Staci and feeling her love and acceptance. I let myself feel the pain of being unacceptable my whole life. I suddenly realized I just wanted one person who appeared to be everything I was not, see me. Once it happened and the flood gates opened, unacceptable ceased to have the death grip on me it had before. That story let me go. I went to the workshop because now that I’ve had a taste of how feeling my emotions is healing, I want more. One act of bravery has lead to freedom. I wrote this love letter to myself at the end of the workshop and I want to share it with you.

 
 

Dearest Love,

Help me to forget everything that I think I know about this experience and open my mind to the possibility of something more. Right now, in your life there appears to be a theme of releasing fear and sinking into trust. Connection to love seems to have something to do with softening the sharp edges of what you think should be happening in the moment and relaxing into the mystery. It could be that what you receive is so much more than what you thought you wanted or needed.

Blessings my love.

I remember the pain of being rejected by my first love. The pain was so horrific I was convinced if I allowed myself to feel it, the pain would kill me. Maybe it would’ve then but now I am ready to experience the empowerment that comes from being brave enough to feel.

 
-Tereece, Missoula