I am Britt.
Sometimes when I try and figure out who I am or where I belong, I write. Writing helps me process. It allows me to dump out my mind a little bit and sort thru some of the puzzle pieces.
Writing can also be the first step of being able to say something out loud.
I am a gloriously complex lady, I don’t think any of my loved ones would argue that.
I love team sports and cheering for people. I get overly excited for my turn to talk. (SOME would say, at times, I interrupt people. But the jury is still out..) I drink too much coffee.
I am a storyteller.
Oh, and I am a murderer.
When I was 8 years old, I went into our fridge to look for a snack. I grab a bunch of handfuls of bologna and cheese. Def going to eat some holes into the bologna and make bologna monster face masks.
Swung the fridge door shut. But the door didn’t completely shut. Before I knew what was happening..
I saw our new kitten flopping all over the room. Seizing. He had been peering in the bottom of the fridge. I had swung the door shut and slammed his head. OMFG.
I don’t remember anything else directly after that. We were being babysat. My parents weren’t home. I blacked out.
I remember telling my parents that I thought maybe the mitten rack fell over on him. I never told anyone I killed that cat till I was 17 years old.
Oh the shame in my sad kid soul. I couldn’t even say the words out loud. So I did what I was currently learning from my Irish Catholic family, meaning I shoved it down. I buried it.
Pretending something didn’t happen works for no one. If you bury it deep inside, it just bubbles over in even uglier ways, when you least would like it to.
Being afraid people will judge you for your mistakes is no way to live. I mean, people will judge you, of course. That’s what fear based people do.
I always tell small children that I LOVE it when people talk about me being my back. Because it makes me know i’m interesting and important.
Seriously though, why would you want to hang out with someone who makes you feel like you need to act perfect? That being a human being is easy and clean. That sounds like a lifetime of holding in farts.
My instinct is to hold in pain. Hide it. Fix it. Push it down. Smile… That’s what being brave is right? That’s how to be culturally appropriate, how to not make others feel uncomfortable.
It’s not brave. It’s not brave to bottle your truth in fear of what the world will think. The bravest say it out loud.
You have to say it. You have to sit with it. You have to feel it. So that you can truly let it go.
When I told my family about the kitten in later years, they were kind. Why did I decide all those years ago how everyone would react to my confession?
I don’t know if my parents already knew of not. My mitten rack cover story was pretty shoddy.
It just teaches me over and over that you can’t enjoy the benefit of love and support if you don’t let anyone in to your tiny dark attic.
I mean of course eventually they began to make fun of me. We eventually laugh about everything. Having a dark sense of humor is a coping mechanism. Make no mistake, hurting an animal isn’t funny. But when wounds heal, sometimes you have to laugh.
My sisters boyfriend even wrote a song about kittens in fridges to the tune of a Sound of Music song. He’s a jerk and it was actually pretty clever.
Making mistakes is part of growing up. Making mistakes it part of being a parent. Making mistakes is part of being a human.
You just have to be committed to learning from them.
Whenever something isn’t working, you have to stare at it until you learn from it.
Just like when you fix your kids life for them, you stole all the lessons from them. (Still looking at you Aunt Becky.)
When I was 8, I couldn’t handle the painful emotions I felt due to my mistake. The only tool I had in my tool belt was to shut down and try to hide my giant bucket of shame.
This is why I teach Kids Yoga. It is a tool for kids to start learning about themselves at a younger age. How to calm down and process emotions by learning to calm yourself, your body and your mind. These are skills you can learn.
It gives me a platform to make sure kids hear good messaging. Here are some things I say in kids yoga that I wish my broken hearted 8 year old self could hear. Basically I just talk to her..
Dear Dark Scarlet (my adolescent stage name):
- Noses are for breathing and mouths are for eating.
- I love making mistakes. I love being the worst at stuff. Cause then when I keep coming back I watch myself get better and better and better!
- Long, slow, deep breathes calm down your body. They help send messages to your monkey mind.
- Nervous and excited are the same thing.
- I love being different.
- Laughing is medicine.
- Being kind is cool.
- We always check our I AM statements.. I am calm. I am grateful. I am happy. I am unique. I am brave. I am kind. Someone offers up and I am statement then we all say it out loud together. Sometimes we even shout it. Saying things out loud is important.
- Being a human is about getting to know yourself.
- Your body is the only house you will ever own.
- Having a strong body creates a strong life.
- Close your eyes and imagine the best version of yourself. Let go of any part of you that doesn’t believe that’s exactly who you are.
Don’t let your kid feel ashamed if they have a hard time regulating their emotions/themselves. Instead, help them understand there are tools and so much to learn that can help anyone with this skillset.
The important part is being kind and committed to yourself. And maybe if you are really brave, forgive yourself for all the times you didn’t handle everything as well as you’d liked.
Oh, and more yoga. Always more yoga.