Bear Runs

The Title Race: The Eve of the Competition

This week I will join my friends in Gettysburg for fun, and a competition I’ve long admired. But today, I’m writing in a local Philly coffee shop. And, I can’t help but wonder how my “platform” for Mr. Mayhem Leather is going to come together.

There are many ways I could choose to represent myself to the community and the judges in particular, but I’ve always valued integrity – a quality which mentors concur is probably my best. However, I’ve recently questioned my own integrity, because of outside forces.

Personally, the public and the concept of community have been difficult to grasp. Mostly because I tend to isolate when life gets rough, instead of reaching out to others. That’s why my integrity is on high alert. I feel prepared to share my experiences, but I’m unsure of how they will be received. Trust me, while I’m not the only person to do this, I think my platform is going to benefit from my shameless tongue.

If I’m being honest, relationships felt like burdens for a long time, prior to quitting my job last May. Why? I’ve been hurt. I’ve been mistreated: by so-called friends I trusted, and mentors I admired.

Those experiences were bright lights, showing the ways I denied myself any grace or love and attracted people who validated my need to appear impossibly perfect. But, appearances disappear in solitude. So, I tended to approach life as the hermit with a heart of gold.

Although, my awareness of relationships; my perception of them as a burden, blocked the connection I so sorely needed. While some relationships are reflective of the best we have to offer the world, what about how we engage ourselves in a relationship?

My self-fulfilling prophecy of broken relationships continued until I started taking my own happiness seriously. I overworked myself in my early 20s and was told to take a week of bed rest because I ignored stress-induced chest pain for 7 days. I cried about it because I admonished myself for taking breaks…keeping up appearances almost killed me.

Fast-forward to last May when I resigned my previous position…I was experiencing panic attacks, and I was crying in my car on the way to work. Having reached peak burnout, as any good workaholic does, I just aimed my sights on myself instead of my career goals…thus began my meditation journey.

The seven chakras are a tool we can use to better understand our emotions and how they affect our behavior. However, we must blend them together. What do I mean? I mean that from my deepest quiet to the outside world, there is a thread of energy I’ve woven between my community and myself. Those relationships don’t cease just because I’m unemployed, or poor, or even depressed. However, my saving grace was the choice to take my struggles, accept their outcomes, and show gratitude for this body which carried me.

In short, I can no longer be concerned about my appearance. Rather, I’m now invested in my personal joy and sharing that with those who are kind to themselves as well.

After the turmoil, betrayal, and false starts, I have no regrets. I have an Onyx family that loves me, real friends who have been supporting me since my sabbatical began, and a competition to look forward to.

As I further cultivate my relationship with BBM & Mr. Mayhem Leather, it’s glaringly apparent that joy and kindness with yourself is my platform. Meditation is a war, and the battle is daily personal.

Right now though, I’ve got five days until the competition begins, and I have a harness to polish because nothing is more important than my relationship to Today!

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