Name: Michelle Marchildon
Location: Denver, Colorado, United States
Occupation: Author, Columnist, Yoga Teacher & General Rabble Rouser
“I’m tough, ambitious, and I know exactly what I want.
If that makes me a bitch, okay.”
I’m with Madonna. I can be kind of a bitch. And I’m mostly okay with that.
I can be the most loyal, loving and best friend you could ever hope to have. But do not get me wrong; I am one powerful, strong, fierce, and fearless woman and if that makes me a bitch, well I’ll take it.
It’s taken me years to get to this place where I could say I was powerful. Years, and a steady practice of yoga. As a woman, it is not a popular path to be strong. It will cost you a prom date. It will cost you friends. It will make you the target of many people who are uncomfortable with female power, some of which are females.
It even cost me my first marriage. But that relationship, which I call my starter marriage, was probably worth giving up. That’s because I was in it with my starter self, the one that was afraid of her power.
I remember the day my ex-husband announced he was leaving me. We went to a family counselor, who looked at us over his wire-rimmed glasses and said, “Why are you leaving this marriage? Are you not worried about your wife?”
“I’m not worried about Michelle,” my ex said. “She is very competent. (pause) V-e-r-y Com-pe-tent.” He was practically spitting the words.
So there it was. My dirty little secret was now out in the open. I am competent. In fact, I might be one of the most capable people on the planet. However, this marriage disaster was not entirely my ex’s fault as I don’t believe he was truly married to me. He was married to my starter self.
I spent years being a little weak so the boys would feel in control and the girls would be my friend. I smiled, a lot. I hid that I was often the top student in class and graduated Phi Beta Kappa. Now I’m an Ivy League grad, and believe me, that does not get you friends in the yoga world. What gets you friends is Handstand, and I kind of suck at Handstand.
And although I was good at playing the game of being a little less, it wasn’t ‘me.’ It took me years to shed my fears about being powerful. And it took a steady practice of yoga which helped me uncover my inner badass.
Eventually, I got divorced. I changed careers. I made a ton of money in sales. And I met a man who said to me, “Go get ‘em and I will carry your bag.” So I married him.
What are we afraid of?
Women who are powerful are not liked. We get hate mail from anonymous internet writers who say we are bitches. We are told we are not yogic because we speak up and out against injustice.
If the “yogic” path is to sit in silence, let everything go and be a little less, then perhaps I am on a different path. Because my practice helped me find my voice, and I’m not about to get quiet and play nice now.
I come to the mat to rediscover the woman I know lives inside me, fabulous, intelligent and beautiful. And if that is what society calls a bitch, then so be it.
I would rather spend the end of my days being exactly who I am, than trying to be someone else. You cannot hide forever. And when you come out of your own closet, you can be brilliant. This is living stronger and with your true purpose in life. It is so much better to be authentic, than to try to be popular, and I’m mostly okay with that.
Michelle Berman Marchildon is The Yogi Muse. She’s an award-winning journalist, author, and yoga teacher. This blog is based on an excerpt from her book, Finding More on the Mat: How I Grew Better, Wiser and Stronger through Yoga. Her second book, Theme Weaver: Connect the Power of Inspiration to Teaching Yoga, is for yoga teachers who want to inspire their students. Michelle is a columnist for Elephant Journal and Origin Magazine and a contributor to Teachasana, My Yoga Online and other yoga media. She is an E-RYT 500 Hatha teacher with Yoga Alliance and teaches in Denver, Co. You can find her blog and website at www.YogiMuse.com. And you can take her classes on www.yogadownload.com.
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