Yoga Journal

Brave Face

Do you ever find yourself clenching your jaw waiting for something bad to happen? Or waking up in the morning with a sense of dread? Whether they come in small doses or huge heart-stopping moments of panic, these feelings can be traced back to fear, which can be debilitating, producing a gnawing anxiety that sucks the joy out of life.

In my life, one particularly fearful time stands out: leading up to the moment I told my mother I was gay. I was 17 and confused. I’d found myself living a secret life and not sharing it with her. Speaking my truth was a major victory, and it made me understand even more how fear had been ruling my life.

Those of us who are marginalized tend to internalize our oppression, which can manifest as fear. During this time in my life, I was scared of being different and of being excluded from society—tossed out like garbage. Mostly, I feared disappointing my mother. My self-worth was so intimately tied to what she thought

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