Are you there, God? It’s me, Ashli.

This week I had an opportunity to read ARE YOU THERE GOD? IT’S ME, MARGARET. by Judy Blume.  I read it with my Angel Girl for a mother-daughter book club meeting we wanted to attend.  I thought I had read it as a youngster, but I didn’t remember the story, and now I am sure that I had not read it before.

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The book was first published in 1970, and its accuracy and spot-on illustration of life as a preteen girl in the 2010’s says a lot about our failure to make growing up any easier!

The story resonated for me through several threads…being born to a multi-religion family, growing up as a female in this world, and the challenge of discovering who I will be when I grow up.

The lesson I loved most in the book is that no one is perfect, so we should love them in spite of that fact.  Margaret is hurt to find out that her friends are not perfect; in fact, they are just as vulnerable and desperate to protect themselves as anyone else.  Then she learns that grown ups are not perfect when her parents frustrate her and her grandparents just plain infuriate her.  And finally, Margaret realizes that she, too, is not perfect when she “unloads meanness” (that is my own phrasing) on a school mate.

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I am embarrassed to say that I have those same moments of meanness, and I had one yesterday towards the most precious, kindest hearted, sweetest soul that I know:  my Angel Girl.

Yesterday I taught my first full yoga class.  And I botched it badly.  Everything was rolling along pretty well until the final long-hold pose…Malasana (Standing Frog Pose):

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This pose is a fabulous hip, groin, and chest opener.  It is one that is pretty do-able for most people, thus a good choice for ending class on a successful note.  UNLESS God gifted you with legs that have the tightest, least flexible, most severely contracted ligaments, tendons, and muscles on the planet…just like he gave to my Angel Girl.

It is no secret that while I was blessed with natural flexibility but no muscles or strength, Angel Girl was gifted with pure muscle, lithe strength, but very little flexibility.  I have never – and I mean NEVER – watched a person work year after year to overcome an obstacle like she does.  Cheerleading is her sport, her hobby, and her true love.  She refuses to let her natural limitation hold her back from what she loves.  I’ve seen her tendons strained to the point of snapping when pushing into her splits.  I’ve seen tears streaming down her face when overstretching.  The thing that I have never seen is her giving up.

So when I made a hurtful remark that her Malasana was [and I quote] “the worst one out here” I was just like Margaret in our book:

I did an awful thing today.  Just awful!  I’m definitely the most horrible person who ever lived…

I wish I could turn back time and not say that cruel thing.  I wish I didn’t try to build some up by tearing others down.  I wish I was a better yoga leader, mom to my precious gifts, and human being:

  1. In yoga there is no measurement, no comparison, no good/better/best, so my rude comment was totally fabricated in a petty attempt to be funny.
  2. A mom is her child’s biggest fan.  PERIOD!  No qualifications, and no quantifications!  EVER.
  3. Humans should be a source of support and encouragement, never an influence that causes self-doubt or feelings of unworthiness.

In that moment yesterday, I failed at all of these in a big, miserable, un-erasable way.

But, Angel Girl (and all others who might read this confession), you go be YOU regardless of me and my mistakes.  You keep overcoming your obstacles, fighting through your struggles, and seeing the good in everything and everyone around you.

And I will work harder to be part of that good!!

I love and adore you, sweet girl, and I really am your biggest fan.

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Love and hugs to all,

Ashli

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