I met this girl when I was ten years old, and by met, I mean- I caught my first glimpse of her beauty.  It was the kind of beauty that intrigued, the kind that would cause me to pause and double-take.  It was beyond my abilities at the time even name it, much less understand what in me was drawn to her.  She was exotic, not from my hood.  When she glanced at me, I got strangely nervous.  She spoke funny, everything she said seemed poetic, and yet, it all went over my head.  Already worldly, sophisticated, and coveted by many, I blew her off as out of my league.  She didn’t seem to care.

By the time we met again, I was a man.  I had seen and done a little bit.  I saw myself in a different way, wiser and more worldly myself.  I recalled the way she made me blush, and again felt reduced to a schoolboy.  She was flirting with me, inviting me to check her out.  We got to know each other more and more.  There was something appealing about her to my small self, but she insisted I grow.  She insisted that I consider something else, way more important than facades.  Not religious, she was secular.  She schooled me on a number of things.  We dabbled in foreign language, philosophy, poetry, metaphysics.  I was falling for her.

As these things go, I was the one who began to have issues.  As soon as she captured my heart, I began to notice my own disapproval of the company she was keeping.  Vultures, creeps, hypocrites and the self-absorbed all trying to get some, and she allowed it.  Rock stars and super models, pro wrestlers and entrepreneurs, she let them all hit it.  She did nothing, as they would turn right around and call her out her name.  Largely misunderstood, she continued to try to spread love, but it seemed that the more she tried, the more she was surrounded by the pestilence of ill intent.  Getting pimped out on the regular, I imagined that this was to be her fate.  Stomped and pounded.  Manipulated and taken advantage of until she faded away into darkness, nameless, faceless, and void of that light which initially attracted me to her.  I began to question her intelligence.  I was having thoughts of ending things.

After everything she’d taught me, could she so be unwise, so unable to do for herself?  She never argued with her abusers.  She never seemed to even stand up for herself.  Then one day, when we were alone, she came off as especially seductive.  She had a proposition for me, I could tell.  We danced for a while before she leaned in and whispered to me.  “I need you”.   I wasn’t trying to hear that,  I was about to check out.  So, I pretended not to hear.

We danced more, like warriors, hot and sweaty, completely in sync.  She leaned in again and whispered “I need you”.  There was something different this time.  It was as though I felt her message before I could process it with my mind.  This time I couldn’t play it off, couldn’t deny that I heard her.  This time, I felt flooded.  I silently shed tears, joyous ones that come straight from the heart, and I knew we were getting hitched.

Fast forward to today, I see myself as wiser, still.  I realize now  that the love that I had for her was just an idea.  I used to love the qualities she brought out in me and the way she made me feel.  She would tell me that my open-hearted swag was way more bomb than the anti-social thing I was on for a while.  I used to love the way she would stay on my mind all day and remind me of how I want to be, especially in key moments.  I used to love the feeling of  being reunited, even after just a weekend away.  There was so much that I thought I loved about her.  At some point, I realized that what I thought I loved about her, was actually all about me seeing and loving myself.  I used to love her, but now clarity suggests: I became one with her.

This girl I’m talking about, of course, is Yoga.