Lost & Found
By Trish Reyburn
I lost myself just before I turned five years old. I had lost parts of myself prior but the rest went when I began kindergarten. My teacher, Mrs. Alquist, began the first few days calling me Patricia. Of course, I knew that was my full name but everyone at home called me Tricia.
On the third or fourth day of school I heard Mrs. Alquist calling across the room, “Patty. Patty! PATTY McAVOY!!!”
My stomach pulled right up to my ribs and I felt all sick inside as I asked myself,
“Why is she calling me that weird name?”
No one at home had explained to me that Patty was an alternative name for Patricia. I was devastated and too scared to tell the teacher that my REAL name was Tricia; that was the name everyone at home and in my neighborhood called me. So, I whispered to my new friends nearby, “My name is really Tricia.” But they each replied, “The teacher calls you Patty so I’m going to call you Patty, too.” It was so terrible and yet I resigned myself to it and that was grammar school.
When I entered middle school (or Junior High, was it was called back then), I was determined to be Tricia again. All the local elementary schools combined together in this one building and I began introducing myself to all my new friends and teachers as Tricia. Everything was going swell the first week but sometime in week two, one of my new friends said something to me in class and a grammar school acquaintance said, “That’s Patty. Why are you calling her Tricia?”
My new friend was shocked and didn’t understand why I would tell them my name was something different. I tried to explain but it didn’t work. I was Patty again.
A similar experience happened in college when someone from my high school corrected everyone and the Patty legacy continued. After that I stopped trying for a while. What difference did it make anyhow? Isn’t it better that everyone else is happy and comfortable with my name (even though I HATED IT)?
I did an internship at The Boston Globe newspaper during my third year of college. There I knew that I wouldn’t run into anyone from my hometown. I was so happy that everyone referred to me as Tricia and on some level I began to reclaim myself.
I became a certified yoga teacher when I was 30-years-old. That was when I decided that I would call myself Tricia and not worry what anyone else decided to call me. I wrote Tricia on my name tag during the training and nobody gave me any arguments. When I completed the training I made business cards with my name on them and didn’t look back from there.
This sounds like a story about a name but it is really much deeper than that. I had lost my voice. I had lost my courage. I had lost myself.
It was during my yoga teacher training program that I again became curious about that little girl. Wasn’t she exuberant and excitable? Wasn’t she bright and curious? I knew she loved climbing trees and running as fast as she could. She liked playing tag and exploring the woods.
It was time to reclaim that wild spirit.
The practice of yoga is to continue reclaiming ourselves. Whether you lost your name or a piece of yourself that you remember from long ago.
Yoga calls us to look deeper inside with curiosity. Yoga is a practice of self-inquiry.
And the most profound question that one can ask is “Who am I?”
“Who am I?” Video Meditation