MPIPersona Project
robynhood/EyeEm

Amy

Portrait of Amy
Age
33
Race
White
Hometown
Kenner, Louisiana
Now lives
Baton Rouge, Louisiana
Job Title
Yoga Instructor
Income
$25,000
Education
Some College
Group
Routine Local
Occupation
Personal Care & Service
Industry
Local Hospitality Establishments
Artifact: Business Card

Artifact: Business Card

This is from my friend’s yoga studio. We kind of opened it together because he had the money and I had the business experience. A lot of the times, the people with the knowledge don’t have the money to create what they really want.

Hopeful yogi, living the change she wants to see in the world
“Part of me says that I could go live in Boulder or Asheville or Austin or Portland, the more progressive cities. But I also want to be one of the reasons why this hatred doesn’t exist here anymore.”
Amy's Community niisha/EyeEm

Community

Louisiana is a pretty conservative state, probably because of the religious beliefs; there’s not a whole lot of separation of church and state down here. I’m gay, which is one of the reasons I left for college. I moved back home 6 years ago. Acceptance is slowly coming. Like, my girlfriend and I are taking jitterbug dance classes at this little hole-in-the-wall bar. At first, all these older, straight couples ignored us. When we left the first night, they said: “The next time you come back, bring some boys with you!” The owner of the bar has been a big supporter; he’ll buy us a drink and say “Oh, y’all just keep on coming back. They’ll get over it.” I learned it’s about exposure. These people who probably don’t know any gay people in the community, all of a sudden they have taken us in now like we’re their daughters and their walls have come down.

“I felt like more of a citizen. Now, I’ll be acknowledged and I’ll be equal, not less than. It’s not even gay marriage now, just marriage.”
Amy's Politics blackboard1965/Shutterstock.com

Politics | Government

When I think of government, I think about the schools and the roads or the post office and some of our other institutions that are run by the government. It’s probably a softer feeling towards government than to politicians and politics. There’s something about politics, especially in Louisiana. We have a history of a lot of dirty politicians. Our governor, Bobby Jindal, is just terrible. When Bobby stands up in front of people, he takes a conservative stance but behind closed doors, he’s a Democrat. It’s just about the image, the money and being re-elected. Because he didn’t raise taxes, we had to shut down hospitals and schools. He also did everything he could to shut down marriage equality in the State. But, when the Supreme Court decision came through, it was incredible. I had been attending rallies to raise awareness, but I didn’t expect it to feel so personal. I get goosebumps thinking about it. I remember, I stared at the news on my phone, sat down on the ground and started crying. I felt like more of a citizen. Now, I’ll be acknowledged and I’ll be equal, not less than. It’s not even gay marriage now, just marriage. I’m not planning on getting married in the next couple of months, but it’s nice to know that when the time comes, I can just be like everyone else.

Hopeful yogi, living the change she wants to see in the world
“Part of me says that I could go live in Boulder or Asheville or Austin or Portland, the more progressive cities. But I also want to be one of the reasons why this hatred doesn’t exist here anymore.”

Economy | Spirituality

I don’t think my contributions to the community have a strong economic effect. The global economy — I can probably tell you more about what’s happening spiritually in some of those places like China and India than I can tell you about the economy because my life is super focused in that direction. Although I know it affects everything, I also know that I’m just this really, really small piece of that whole entire puzzle. I don’t like to get too caught up in it and stress out about it because, again, it doesn’t affect my day to day. I think about my role more in terms of health and wellbeing. I help people become healthier and happier — and then they’ll be able to work. But I guess, if there was another stock market crash and it affected my private clients, then it would affect me too. After all, yoga is really a luxury.

“Although I know [the economy] affects everything, I also know that I’m just this really, really small piece of that whole entire puzzle. I don’t like to get too caught up in it and stress out about it because, again, it doesn’t affect my day to day.”

Work

I feel really lucky I get to teach yoga full-time — every day I get to do what I want to do. I do struggle — sometimes it is like being a starving artist. I’m in the process of figuring out what’s next — what’s the right formula for me to maintain a steady income through yoga. There’s no job security as an independent contractor, but it’s worth it to me. I don’t expect it to come easily. I expect a fair amount of work in order to get to where I want to be. I don’t let those hiccups get in the way of my bigger dreams. I had a break today in my schedule so I went to the park for an hour. For me, that is living my dream.

Meditation YuDuNu/EyeEm

Community

There’s a lot of people, they just don’t want to take care of each other. They’re much more comfortable creating separation than cultivating compassion. To create that separation makes the upper class feel a lot more comfortable with the money that they have. They’re so afraid that they’re going to lose it that they don’t want to help anybody else out. Ultimately, I’ve got a mindset of plenty. I don’t know about money, but I think that you can help people out in other ways. It’s not about putting money in their hands but putting shelter over people’s heads and food in their bellies. I think a lot more of that could be happening.

“I do struggle — sometimes it is like being a starving artist. I’m in the process of figuring out what’s next — what’s the right formula for me to maintain a steady income through yoga. There’s no job security as an independent contractor, but it’s worth it to me.”

America

I grew up understanding the American Dream as: you get your education, do what you love and you can make a living out of it. I just don’t think it’s realistic. Success doesn’t really have anything to do with education or training or things like that. Not everybody has the same opportunities.

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