- Charlotte Bayala
Who Are You Really?
My family and I love the Renaissance Fair! We plan our costumes and sometimes we coordinate our look and other times we don’t. It’s a completely different world once you step through the gates. Everyone has to choose if they are going to take on a different persona or try to just walk in as themselves. I love to see both types of people interact with each other. I feel the people who attend in costume are showing a part of themselves that they don’t feel they can freely express on a regular day. The ones that dress up seem to have much more fun than those that don’t and we all acknowledge each other and the person we pretend to be. There is always a part of you that informs who you decide to transform into for the fair. I felt a shaman would be a fun choice for my outfit last year. If I was going to dress up I wanted to be different and not fall into the Royalty, fairy, pirate, viking or wench role you see so much of there. I wanted to be different, maybe slightly intimidating (they leave you alone if you’re a little scary) and I am a sucker for face paint and feathers. Shaman just felt right.
On the day we go to the fair we always find ourselves in a weird predicament in between our home and the fair. We always hope that there isn’t a reason we would need to stop and get out of the car. So no bathroom breaks or gas stops. We get excited about the planning and we love pretending while we are there but the possibility of stepping into our current world in our costume makes us uneasy.
Are you comfortable with who you pretend to be in the world?
It makes me wonder, what/who would we all be if we had the strength, confidence and resources to be who we really feel we are on the inside. How much happier would the world be if we all were doing something we felt we were truly called to do? Sometimes we don’t know what that is until we feel it is “too late”. Believe me, yoga teacher wasn’t on my radar when I stepped into my first class at Temple University in Philadelphia and it wasn’t on my mind when I got my Masters in History from Georgia State. In fact, I feel Yoga found me. I could have very easily continued on the road towards being a
historian but became aware that it was something I was doing only because I felt it was what I was expected to do.
At the Renaissance Fair we feel comfortable being different because we collectively support each other in celebrating who we choose to be that day. We compliment each other on our costumes (this past year a photographer asked permission to take my picture). We interact with each other based on who we have decided to become for the fair (as my husband learned all too well when he went as an assassin one year!). There’s a sense of freedom and acceptance of who you decided to be which isn’t always the case in our regular worlds.
What would you do if you could do anything?
So I ask you, what would you do if you could do anything? How would you be different if you felt you could be your true self? If you felt that the people that are important to you and your society would be accepting of anything you do, how would that change your life? Or maybe you feel you are exactly who you want to be doing what you want to be doing.
On the opposite side, are you supportive of people being themselves even if it is different than who you think they are? Do you accept people that you feel make choices that are different than the rest of society? Have you ever found yourself judging someone who dresses or looks different? Maybe we won’t allow ourselves to make changes in our lives that would bring happiness because we don’t provide that support to other people in our lives.
Support and community on the mat
I am very aware of the uneasiness I feel in between the fair and home and can’t imagine if I felt that way all of my life. I try to keep that in mind as a teacher and hope to create a safe supportive space in my classes. It doesn’t matter to me who you are and what you do outside of the yoga room. I don’t care where you stand on any topic or what political party you associate with. It doesn’t matter to me how you identify or who you love. What I see when someone walks into the room is a body that needs to move and breathe and a person who is seeking out a sense of community. I hope to be able to provide that to you because everyone needs to find a way to have a moment of peace and a chance to slow down and check in with how things in their life are really going.
Can you take it with you?
In class I am always asking you to accept and keep from judging yourself in class. Can you take that acceptance and non judgement off the mat and into the world with you?