Why I Can’t Afford Mardi Gras

Krewe de Vieux is kinda like Mardi Gras kick off for me. It’s one of my favorite parades. It’s dirty and political and irreverent af. You can usually find me me in front of Mimi’s glittered and screaming and tripped out on mushrooms.

But not this year.

This year, instead of going to KDV and reveling with the city, I stayed home with my dog and listened to lectures on the Bhagavad Gita.

About now you’re either like, “oh obviously,” or you’re like, “Tracey, WTF?” Both are reasonable responses. And honestly, that’s kind of how I responded to my own lack of attendance.

At first I blamed it on the rain. I canceled all my plans and felt fine about staying home because, whatever, the weather was sucky.

And then the weather cleared and the happy texts started coming. “Yay! Let’s go,” they said. Only I really didn’t want to.

But I didn’t know why I didn’t want to, so the first thing I did was judge myself. I berated myself for being antisocial. There was obviously something wrong with me if I didn’t want to dance in the streets.

I threw myself on my mat and I cried. I tried to rally. I started wondering which wig and eyelash combo would fit my current mood. And still, even beglittered, I did not want to go.

So I called friends. A particularly astute friend asked if I had had any water and if I had mediated. (Thanks Bear.) Another friend said fuck Mardi Gras, it will be there next year (thanks Gayle). So I drank water and meditated on my deep, damaging sense of FOMO.

And what I realized was that I just didn’t want to go. That what I really wanted to do was yoga nerd out alone. And that it’s okay that that’s what I wanted. It doesn’t make me better than you. I’m not yogier than thou. It also doesn’t make me worse. Choosing dharma study over a parade in one instance does not mean that I’ve become a shut in.

A lot of the lessons in the Bhagavad Gita are concerned with the idea of dharma, or of knowing and following your own path and teachings. My lesson that night was there’s nothing wrong with me and there’s nothing wrong with you, we’re just walking our own paths. Mine may seem ascetic to you. Yours may seem decadent to me. We are both wrong. We are each doing what we need to do. That is what it means to do your dharma.

Here are some other things I learned about myself that night:

  • I am really fucking attached to my identity as a person who can perfectly balance the sacred and profane. I am in love with my own image of myself as the girl who can do all the drugs and also do all the yoga. That’s a pretty fucking intense identity to be attached to and it might be okay for me to let go of the image and just be who I am in each moment.
  • I have been through a lot of difficult circumstances lately. I have gotten through them soberly and sanely because of my dedication to the my daily practices. The practices bring me peace. I cannot afford to give them up right now because that peace is fucking precarious. It might not be there if I swing the pendulum of self-indulgence too far in either direction, and honestly, I just don’t want to find out.
  • It took me so long (hours) to get in touch with what I wanted and to accept it because, frankly, I have been doing the practices, but just enough to get by. Not enough to feel clear and aligned. All the cheez its and coffee are clouding my vision. It’s time for me to rethink my approach.

All of this is to say that whatever you did with your weekend, it’s okay. You’re just following your path. If you had a drunken glitter orgy in an alley, then that’s your dharma. If it feels right, go with it.

If it doesn’t feel right, not as in hangover not right, but really not okay, then you gotta ask yourself some questions. Why are you doing what you do? Do you have an image of yourself that you are trying to live up to? Do you feel aligned? Do you have practices that will help you get there?

If you need help troubleshooting, obviously that’s basically my whole fucking job. I’m leading a post-MG immersion, Embodied Alchemy, to help you (and me) make the practices that keep us aligned and healthy and thriving into actual habits. I’d love to see you there. You keep me accountable.

Also, I’m not canceling any of my classes for Mardi Gras. I know that if I need yoga desperately on a parade night, then someone else does too, and I’m gonna be there for you.

Maybe I’ll catch you at Chewbacchus? We shall see.

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