It sounds so simple. But what first convinced Becca to start coming to CORE/El Centro is still what brings her back today. It’s the friendly greetings, the way people reach out and show they care, even when they’re busy. There is no judgment, just a tone and expectations that help Becca see herself in a more positive way.
“What makes coming here so special to me”, she said, “is that it makes me feel that we’re a team, all working for the same goal.”
A year or so ago, a friend suggested she try taking a Nia class at the center, even though exercise was definitely not Becca’s thing. The staff at CORE/El Centro put no pressure on her to sign up - just gently suggested she try the class first to see how she liked it. It took just one class for Becca to see how Nia engages both the mind and the body. Once she started doing good things for herself, Becca soon found that she was open to whole new avenues of self-care she’d never even considered before.
It has never been easy for Becca to trust people. For much of her life, frankly she used food to build an armor that kept people away. She grew up in a family that tends to be overweight. So she ate to bury her emotions. By age 15 she was diagnosed with severe depression and by her early 20s was so engulfed in her own pain that that she gave up any thoughts of college and a career. Plus, her physical problems kept getting worse. That’s when Becca decided to fight back. With medical help, she began stripping off more than 200 pounds. It was not only shedding the physical weight of a full-grown man from her frame, but also shedding the burden of sexual assault, helping her to feel freer and lighter in spirit.
She took advantage of CORE/El Centro’s sliding fee scale to get the acupuncture, reiki, massages, Nia and yoga classes she needed at prices she could afford on her disability income. Becca also needed to offer her skills as a volunteer so she could feel she was giving back.
Last fall, just when Becca thought she was healed, depression once again descended and closed her off from the world. It took her two months to force herself to show up at the center despite her fears of being rejected. Instead, she was welcomed back and then decided to volunteer in the Nia class for people with disabilities. When Becca saw the lively and involved way in which people in the class dealt with their
significant struggles, she was inspired to deal with her own. To see their joy was so infectious. Nobody cared if she didn’t do all the steps just right. “Who wouldn’t want to be around people like this? When I’m with them, my love, compassion and joy always go up.”
It is fulfilling for Becca to be able to volunteer, giving back in ways that make her feel like a worthwhile human being. Now, she finds she’s far more willing to try new things, thanks to the spirit of acceptance she feels plus all the small successes she’s experienced.
“I’ve gained more confidence and had the opportunity to open up in ways that I never thought I could. And that has opened my mind to many different possibilities.”