Choosing a Self

I woke up today remembering the feeling of choosing yes.

4 months and 1 year ago I received a phone call that I was accepted into the SoulCycle instructor training. I walked myself to the beautiful City Park of New Orleans. The park was empty, I was sitting under one of the huge Spanish moss trees, and looking out at the pond in the middle of the park. Without asking, telling, or checking with anyone else first, I called up my boss at the time. His 2 year-old son was crying for his attention at home, and his 27 year old employee was crying for some reason he didn’t know over the phone.

“Sydney, what’s wrong? Are you ok?”

“I got an offer with SoulCycle to do the training program in New York City. I think I have to take it.”

“That’s ok! We understand; you have to do what’s right for you.”

Exactly the words I had hoped to hear.

The training program was especially effective at asking us trainees to face our deepest fears. I was lucky enough to have incredible mentors (namely Melanie Griffith and Janet Fitzgerald) who I had watched from afar since I was a teenager, and now had the privilege of knowing and loving up close. Getting up on a podium, wearing a microphone, and convincing myself it was enough to be ME in front of lots of people was a foreign concept. My feedback was pretty consistent, “let go a little bit, Syd.” I walked along Greenwich towards my parent’s house where I was staying during training. My body ached and my shoulders felt heavy with frustration. When I got home, I locked myself in my little brother’s room at the back of the apartment and opened my computer to all the hundreds of tunes I was collecting for playlists. I blasted Robyn “Dancing on My Own.” First, I stared at my computer and cried. Still crying, I got up and started to bounce and move to the music. Something deep inside me was screaming to get out. I danced and jumped and lured my body to move with every bit of freedom I could grasp. With every gesture and gyration I shook off and pleaded out some piece of resistance. I was flailing around the room crying with hysterics. It was random and odd, but it was a defining moment. SoulCycle had come into myself for a purpose. I was being asked to uncover a piece of me that was always there but somehow muted; I was being asked to have a self. 

It takes a lot of bravery, and a LOT of support, to follow the path that is closest to your heart. Our society is slanted towards a trend of pressure and assimilation. You WILL receive backlash every time you choose to express your deepest truth in any defining way. It's intimidating, especially for those stuck on a path their heart didn't choose. But as they say, “if you don’t have haters, what are you even doing?” Do they say that? I hope so…

So here I am, 1 year later. I moved to a city where I didn’t know a soul, to find my soul. I am 28 years old and for the first time in my life I feel I am starting to recognize my true purpose, my deepest happiness, and a semblance of control over going after what I want, fearlessly and unapologetically.

 

You Inspire Me.

April 10, 2018

After class yesterday, one of my favorite clients was kind enough to invite me out to dinner with her family. I was talking to her husband about relationships and the challenges I had in my last one. I explained how my key take away was that it takes time and patience to learn what someone else is bringing to the table and understand you both have years and years of experience, and in many cases trauma, that will impact how you function and what you need. David said, "That's why you don't honk." I met him with a blank stare, he lost me. "You don't honk because you never have any idea what that person is going through or what situation they may have just escaped when you met them at that intersection." It is a lesson about empathy. 

Yesterday, I was having trouble uplifting myself. A recent break up has left me a bit disoriented, and in search of some sort of comfort. While I have felt particularly fortunate in the past few weeks to have a career that brings me so much joy and comfort, it's also been a challenge to BE the positive energy and the group leader when my heart feels heavy. Yesterday, I felt so inspired by the people around me. I learned the details of some of clients' realities, and what challenges they are currently working against. I learned that they use fitness, and the classes that I have the privilege of teaching as a source of inspiration and comfort. One client wrote me to say, "At a time when nothing is certain, I took a chance in the front. I have been counting on you silently to get me through the week every Monday, Wednesday, and Saturday. Your words remind me that I am strong and i can hold on, no matter what, and i cannot thank you enough for that."   

Every day I get to watch people I have learned to love and people I have never met, show up for themselves. Some of them will IMMEDIATELY open their hearts to the journey, feel supported and loved, and access a deep strength and freedom. Others will come to observe, and hesitantly dip their toe in. Some will come back day after day, and others will drift in different directions. But there is a magic in this process. In this interactive performance, we have the opportunity to hold a stranger's heart in our hands and help it beat stronger. We have the privilege of knowing that our words or our strength or our cheers can ignite a fire in the person next to us. What a raw, inspiring, human experience. I am in love with my job, and I am SO in love with the beautiful souls that have walked into my life because of it. I am so full.

Thank you Julia and Heather for sharing your stories with me. Thank you Maxie, Kaitlyn, Cam and Laura for my OG clients and believing in me to guide you in your health journeys. Thank you Eryn, Ferry, Alexis and Gabby for being my Monday night squad when I need a few extra hugs and smiles to get me through. Thank you Ellen and Marci for being my family. Thank you universe for me leading me to the exact space I need to be.