College reunions even at Bennington are a bit of a nightmare for me. After ten years of personal turmoil and struggle I am quite proud of the quick elevator speech I can give about my work and our life, but it still exhausts me to give it. Being an introvert my elevator speech is shorter than most. Certainly shorter than my husband whom I frequently interrupt in mid ramble.
I get bored with my elevator speech because it isn’t me. I’m not a yoga teacher and an acupuncturist. I’m an embodyoga teacher who is obsessed with organs, especially the kidneys, heart and everything related to reproduction. I speak in the systems of the body: a language that my students and patients greatly appreciate, but most people don’t understand. I’m not just an acupuncturist; I’m a crazy-obsessed herbalist who occasionally uses needles but only the tiny ones and always gently. I’m body-obsessed, wellness-obsessed and healing-obsessed.
For instance while listening to this new Bennington College president give her welcome speech and end by asking for questions from the community I wanted to raise my hand and ask her if she needed a glass of water and would she like to share her birth story and her views on life with this little one by her side, maybe how breastfeeding is the second time around.
So while I love to come back to this place and get pumped up. It also leaves me feeling kind of desperate for the simplicity of a deep conversation. Something that is much more easy for my persona. Something that was much more familiar when I was actually a student here.
The impersonal not only bores me, it really does exhausts me. I want to get at the juicy stuff. My ten years away from Bennington have been filled with juice. The ups and downs and swirls are fabulous now that life has quieted down enough to offer some perspective. Even the quiet life running Window of Heaven Acupuncture & Yoga is juicy. Helping couples physically and mentally prepare for labor, treating chronic pain or watching the dark cloak of anxiety or depression begin to fade; that is juicy stuff. I love it. I’ve got the best job in the world.
So how do I maneuver this. How do I enter into the world of cocktail hours and reunions and avoid the small talk. In my line of work I almost always know an intimate secret before I know a name. That doesn’t happen in the greater world, but I think it should.
Truth be told I’m writing this from a little nook in the college library I’ve always loved and dreading entering back out into the world for lunch and a full afternoon. So because I have you, dear reader, to hold me accountable, I’m going to head out into the world and try my best to start conversations, engage people. I’m going to try to talk more about myself, share my passions and my experience and avoid the silliness of social fluffing.
What don’t you talk about? Who do you not talk about it with? What questions do you not ask because they are too personal? Would you enjoy having that question posed to you? My guess is probably. All my life I’ve been known for asking provocative, intimate questions. Maybe it is the writer in me, or maybe it is the healer in me. Either way I’ve found that very few people object to answering them. In fact, most people love it.
From a medical perspective secrets are dangerous when locked in the body. But I think it is more than that. We, as humans, do love to be known.
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