Monday, January 23, 2017

A Fork in the Road
by Tracey Garcia, CSOY Director of Teacher Trainings

I've never had visions of my name in future generations’ history books, but I still try to instigate changes for the good in my own way, however small. For instance, I have a darling set of To-Go Ware utensils that I carry around and use rather than creating unnecessary waste by using plastic utensils. Sure, I get the side-eye from confused fellow diners, but I quietly create my own little environmental sustainability revolution each time I use them. That's how I roll, small changes for the betterment of all.

During lunch on Friday, my trusty and well-used bamboo fork broke. I had stabbed an unruly (and apparently armored?) piece of lettuce and my fork split right down the fault line between two of the tines. When I arrived home, I despondently showed my husband my demised fork. He’s the cynicism to my optimism, but even so, he said appropriately appeasing words in response and I left my broken fork on the kitchen counter to consider what to do later.

Saturday morning, fork long forgotten, my favorite adventurous girlfriend and I headed out to the Sister March in our hometown, conservative Colorado Springs. A reported 7000 men, women and children peacefully stood together in the name of equality and human rights! It was one of the most memorable and exhilarating moments of my life – a bit more emotional than the activism I engage in with my private plastic utensil revolution. Maybe I actually would be part of history that would be told for years to come, as one of millions who marched for equality and human goodness on this day! I excitedly posted pictures on my Facebook page and rode on a high of sisterhood, community and unity for the rest of the day. 

But on Sunday, the harsh slap of reality knocked the wind out of my sails. Suddenly, some women I love, admire and consider friends felt the need to speak out against the historic March on Washington and Sister Marches across the country and those of us who marched.  My friends and I were called "whiners", "snowflakes", "libtards", "crybabies" "baby killers" and much worse. The Facebook picture of my friend and I posing in front of a cardboard sign calling for kindness resulted in my being blocked by at least one friend. I was too tender to investigate who else might have deemed me unworthy for Facebook friendship. However, I was a glutton for punishment and kept watching dissenting news reports and reading angry messages, letting each one give me what felt like a well-deserved wound for thinking that I could have possibly created change in the world. I found myself taking masochistic delight in making myself pay for my naiveté. 

Head hanging low, I went to the kitchen to make myself a medicinal cup of tea. My gaze forlornly slid across the counter to my broken bamboo fork. I had forgotten all about it, but seeing it again was like the confetti popper in my pity party. I picked it up to reassess the damage. I could see the fracture, but it was no longer hanging loose. Upon deeper examination, I realized that it had been repaired. I asked my husband if he had fixed my fork? He told me that he had, although he wasn’t sure if it would hold up and you could still see where it had broken.

In that moment I realized fractures are inevitable. We might never be the same. We could break again. And someone might quietly, selflessly offer the mending you need to rise and march again. 

Another meal will be had, side-eyes and all. My fork and I will be ready for the unruly lettuce leaf the next time. It, like my heart, is stronger where it once broke standing for equality and the human kindness I believe in.

Tracey is our lead Teacher Trainer in Colorado Springs, CO and the Director of Teacher Training for the Colorado School of Yoga. Learn more about her and where she teaches locally at