Behind the scenes of my life in Norway 🇳🇴
This picture was part of a giant photo-video-audio feature in a print + online magazine which i wish i could share with you cause i'm so awks and lolz but i think it's not alive anymore... 2012 is a long time ago to a lot of people i guess? (!) but anyway, here are some screenshots if you're interested!
The leggings i'm wearing were from h&m and i wore them most sessions i taught, and i couldn't afford anything else. I remember in every class being really nervous they would rip at the gusset or something which was particularly awks. lol!
All my clothes had holes in. Cause at this point i was so extremely poor i can't even tell you...Worries about rent + bills + what to eat everyday. Feeling so very cold all of the time. Hunting for coins on the ground to afford food and being so very hungry. So affording a "proper pair" of leggings or any "sportswear" wasn't even possible to be on the agenda.
I was working many jobs simultaneously and was also being bullied terribly at one of the places i taught yoga classes at...a yoga studio.... and still haunted by the racism as it goes....but, teaching was, and still is, something i love to do. I got out of that toxic studio space soon after this photo was taken, and decided to "risk it all" and completely go it alone. Which terrified me due to the lies they wanted me to believe about myself.
It was very clear i wasn't allowed to be me, safely, in certain (most) spaces, and through that lifetime of playing small to appease small minds, i knew and recognised my purpose was to exist outside of the "mainstream". It always has been. That's not a trumpet-blowing piece, rather a celebration of all of us getting to create our own rules if we want.
Although this journey has been really hard at times, i thought it might be helpful to share this little moment in time with you.
Cause everybody, like everybody i knew and came across in the many classes i was teaching, plus lots of strangers, saw this magazine piece featuring this photo and my awks.
Like, you know how shy i am babes?!
my gosh...it was...a wild time!
And a lot of people who saw the piece thought i was "a great success!".
...Whatever that even is, you know?
People congratulated me. Told me i was "living the dream" and i had "arrived". That i was to be "accepted" into Norwegian society now, because i was in the paper and had been an actress, dj + sound designer for the National Theatre (another story for another day?)
This was really interesting to me. Some people started to behave and treat me differently to before. Which is this age-old pattern that keeps coming up during this lifetime on planet earth.
What i know for sure is that popularity and numbers have never been important to me.
Impact, authenticity and integrity, on the other hand, are.
To many, i was this "popular yoga teacher" that was now in the papers and inside certain "important" spaces and validated by people they deemed "important".
Even though in reality, i was struggling to even afford to live. At this moment, had no support system, even friends, to help me out.
There were so many difficult going on at this time, including health stuff... and i wasn't sure i'd make it through....
But somehow, here we are...
-still out here being awks on these streets babes! 🥴
Despite everything, there was something inside me that believed there was something more. That told me to keep going and trying to create the spaces i wanted to see in the world. Even though it was hard (and still is) at every turn.
I knew and felt there was a reason i was on this journey.
Because my experiences in arts, "wellness" and creative industries have been so isolating and often, excruciating, it's always felt imperative to strive to create inclusive spaces and community with folks who also believe there are other ways of doing things.
Spaces where they could be who they were. And explore a life that wasn't dictated by folks on a power trip making you feel bad for not following rules or doing things "correctly", rather, a life where pleasure and feeling better were centred.
I wanted to hold space for people to feel safe to be their fullest selves. In all their glory. Because babes, life can be tricky, and we are all doing the best we can.
I practiced trust in these times, even though the worries and the doubt were real.
Even though giving up was something i contemplated every day.
And i was doing it all, alone, with no guidebook.
But i wasn't alone, you know? Cause people came out to be a part of what i was creating. They believed in the vision too. And i'm so grateful.
I guess this is a way of me encouraging you with your own journey, wherever you might be at. And to those of you who are moving through hard things right now, I want to remind you that you're never alone. That you and your voice and your being are welcomed and appreciated.
But also a reminder that we've all got our own struggles going on, so even if it looks like someone has it all "on paper", what they are actually dealing with can be a very different story.
Whew! What a journey we've had. Sweet tender memories 💜 And i think younger Dionne would be amazed to still be out here 10 years later. And i won't sugar coat this neatly into a "happily ever after" line, because, there are still hard things in life. But i'm very glad of the experiences gained that teach me, i can get through them. With a pair of leggings that have a much stronger gusset than the last (because they gave way of course)....is this the most awful line to end this piece on? Physical and metaphorical gussets? Apols for the potential visions you might be having now.
Let's shift this over to you:
I'd love to know what you were up to in 2012!
Do you remember what you hoped for?
What do you think your younger self would say to you now?
Get in touch here and tell me! If you feel like it....
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