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, and I was sitting under a huge Spanish moss trees, looking out at the pond in the middle of the park. Without asking, telling, or checking with anyone else first, I called 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 yet know over the phone.

“Sydney, what’s wrong? Are you ok?”

“I got an offer with SoulCycle for 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 needed 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.”

One afternoon after training, 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 my life 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 did not 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 what my deepest happiness feels like.