The mirror has two faces

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by Suzanne L. Beenackers

I test-felt my cheek with my nails; a firm but numb scratch. It was the kind of sensation that was normal if your dental anesthetics were wearing off, but I didn’t have those. It was a night like any other, when I had come home from teaching, had gotten stuck behind computer or TV (probably both), and went to bed past midnight forgetting all the good I had done, and frustrated with what I didn’t do: Publishing my book. A project that had gotten even bigger because the writing had continued. There were now two unpublished books, which was even more frustrating than having one unpublished book. More reason to be angry with myself. I brushed my teeth and noticed I didn’t feel the cold mouth wash on the inside of my left cheek. The next day I went to my doctor.

What followed were exams, visits to a specialist, scans, hospital bills, all spread out over some time because I didn’t want to rush things. I wanted to see if a new way of life, would change my condition. My approach was two folded: one was diet, as I added green smoothies. This is to illustrate how desperate I was. The other was habits. Since I believe that the body responds to what we do & think, the only way to change the body is to change what you do & think.
But when after a couple of months my condition was still stable, I gave my blender to a vegan student, and cut back my dietary supplements to half a teaspoon of turmeric and a spoon of wheat grass every morning, in fresh orange juice. This was also the only habit that stuck as I relapsed into late night snacking, an inconsistent yoga practice, afternoon napping and a fearless indulgence in exception-based vegetarianism, that included sausages and other processed pork. Every now and then I tested my cheek. Sometimes I felt it had improved. Sometimes that it was still numb. And there were nights (when I was completely sober) that I swore I could feel right side getting numb, left side was fine.
It was my most expensive year from a medical view, and the whole saga left me with the feeling I failed. Because deep down I knew exactly what was causing the numbness. And I knew what I had to do to solve it. And I knew now that even under the threat of facial paralysis, I still didn’t do it. Which indicates the chance that I ever would finish my books was somewhere in the subzeros.
Yes, finish my books.
I have three now.
And that is what caused, and causes, the left side of my face to be numb.

As you may understand my books are not the type that will make me a famous or well-respected yoga teacher. This is not a Dutch version of Yogi Cameron’s “The One Plan”, where I lead you all into enlightenment by the eight folded path of Patanjali.
In fact my books don’t have anything to do with yoga, unless you take Patanjali’s Self-reflection, Svadyaya, very seriously and combine it with the Tantric concept of Bhoga, pleasure.
If you accept your yoga teacher to be a Bhogi instead of a Yogi, you’ll love my books.

I started writing in private in 2006, and I’ve blogged diaries and erotic stories since 2010. Under a pen name. First, because I didn’t want people who Google their yoga teacher to be confronted with that side of me. Secondly because I didn’t want readers of the secret blog to know where I live and work. My life consisted, and consists, of two separately crafted identities.

But lately I’m beginning to realize that those two sides of me may need each other in order to become one complete, whole person. And that until I can accept that second side of me, no book is going to be published.

So I’m taking baby steps.

If you are my student and you want to read that blog, want to know my pen name, you can ask me. You’ve made it all the way down to this terribly long blog post so chances are, you may want to know how the story ends.

And if you see me in class talking to someone about my writing, or about something that you may not wish to be a part of, just leave it. Let it be. It’s me on the road to healing. Because denying half of who you are is not something you can heal with green smoothies, vegan food, or an extra spoon of turmeric. Not unless your name is Yogi Cameron.



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