I stood in a vast venue, with a tiny stage and not your average yoga vibe. Still, I was the picture of zen. After an hour and a half class instructed in person by my favorite Youtube human I felt like I was made out of pure bliss, and nothing else. Every word she said had driven home, every unique series of poses and movement lifted my heart and dropped me in to the perfect present moment. With my yoga mat leaning heavily in my hand, I stared around the room waiting for her to come out and the long line of fans to begin meeting the woman we had all come to love in our very own living rooms.
My mom and I at the Yoga with Adriene New Jersey class.
She came out with a hop, skip, and a jump. A vibrant model of energy she began hugging, talking to, and taking a picture with each person in line. Her energy never dimmed, her genuine smiles never faltered. Every interaction looked warm, loving, and true. Without a doubt it was. I came up to the end of the line scrambling my brain for the perfect words to utter quickly to this woman, explaining what she had given me. She greeted me with a “come into the light!” ushering me forward into the better lighting for the picture. I had seen her do this with many others. With a sincere interest she asked me and my mom for our names, we posed with her for a picture, and then with a last hug we were off and I realized I had no way. There was no way to say all the gratitude that was excitedly humming in me. I quickly stuttered a last sentence, she smiled and said keep in touch, sister! Of course, there isn’t really any way for me to keep in touch. She has two million followers.
Before I go any further, let me explain that this woman in no way is carrying around a giant ego. With so many people avidly following her she doesn’t say things like she’s grateful for us, she says she is grateful for the community. Because with so many people following she took that and encouraged these people to connect to one another. She never shows any insane amount of arrogance, in fact she flippantly maintains a very humble attitude. She has literally two million people following her and in the multiple years I have been watching her videos and reading her community emails and seeing her replies, she has consistently been down to earth, real, and putting others before herself.
Now here I am, walking away from finally seeing her in person, blazing with bliss from the class and feeling..empty. Yes, in my wild imagination I thought that she would somehow recognize me from the years of following her. Or maybe we would just have had a more unique connection. I know, it was ridiculous, but it was there. I sat in my moms truck in juxtapose. After an hour and a half of building appreciation for the present moment I was being eddied with disappointment for a magical moment missed.
That was when the truly exciting thing happened. I watched my mind unfold, and as it opened it held a clear, perfect realization. For years I have followed this woman, been built up by her kind words, seen her more than I have my own friends, felt an absolute connection to her. As real as she had kept herself though, nothing is more real than being with someone face to face. I realized I didn’t know her, had never had lunch with her, had never had a complete conversation. I know that is obvious, but when someone says the kindest things you’ve heard all the time, those simple facts fade. Suddenly it was hitting me that while Adriene had helped me through some serious shiza in my life, not one ounce of it was actually real. Her love for the community, for all of the people who follow her is one hundred percent real. Her kindness, generosity, and words were real. I know she means it when she says we are all worthy. But that connection I had imagined was not.
Other connections are. My connection to yoga, to my friends, to the present moment. These are real. Like a brick it hit me, I already have all of these things that I had stored into the idea of one woman. I have my own self love, my own gratitude, my own practice. I have friends who are absolutely as real and unique and exceptional as Adriene is to her friends. I am an Adriene to my friends. Not to say that I have two million followers and can teach the whole world yoga, but I can bring love and joy to my friends lives, to the exact same extent that she did to mine. All of these things exist, right here, in this moment and they are intensely real.
Only genuine warmth and kindness from this amazing lady.
A screen can show us something, the speakers can tell us things, and we can convince ourselves that it is enough, that it is real. It isn’t. Real is the person standing in front of you. Real is your actions in this moment. Real is music live and art that you can press your nose up against. Real is a cat you can pet and a friend you can hug. Real is right there.
Yes, I’m writing this to you on a screen and sharing it on a screen. Yes, music on our computers is great and finding new art online amazing. I absolutely appreciate every Youtube video of hers I watched, and every kind thought she had shared on there. Everything in moderation, even eye opening realizations. Except, how much time are we wasting here? On Facebook, Youtube, Instagram. How much time are we living in imaginary worlds?
Life is waiting for you, if you haven’t already (and I hope you have) close this screen. Walk away. Don’t leave me a comment or like. Find me, talk to me, scream to me how you feel. I, personally, am opting for more real.