I was taken out of my element today. I attended a luncheon with a friend who has been influential in the community development of our City. This luncheon required me to wear business attire, high heels, and shake lots of hands. As I sat around table #45 (as my name tag told me to do) I observed the room. Lawyers, bankers, politicians, professors, executives of every kind.
I ate the three courses presented to me and grew a little anxious as I wondered if someone would notice I used the wrong fork. I began eating my bread roll…I was the only one eating the bread at our table… was I not supposed to eat the bread yet?… I wanted to take a bite of my dessert…it was sitting right in front of me….why would someone leave such an enticing treat in front of me if I wasn’t supposed to eat it now!!!
*Insert deep breath here*
Then, a funny thing happened. As I pulled myself away from the anxiety I was creating I began to see familiar faces. Faces I couldn’t quite place, but that I knew very well. OMG! At almost every table, in a room of nearly 500 people, I saw my students! The familiar faces were the same sweaty faces that come to my classes week in and week out!
I had allowed myself to get caught up in facade. Caught up in an image. A false Self that I had created. Everything about this luncheon was tied up in a sparkly bow and the presentation made me feel out of place. When, in fact, I was still among people I know and love! This was just new territory. Gone was the comfort of my lululemon racerback top and awear shorts, but I was still Yogi Amber. Once my students began to recognize me in something other than a tank top and capris I received smiles, waves, and introductions to their colleagues. It turns out I wasn’t so far out of place after all.
Am I alone in this? Why is it so easy to forget who we are when we are placed in a new situation? Why do facades come up and conversations get small? I’m so thankful for my experience this afternoon. Just when I thought I didn’t belong, as my small self started to question my big Self, I was reminded I was right where I needed to be. Among the human race. Being a human being.