Recently I was asked to speak at Brain Injury Survivor Panel about my work adapting Yoga to people living with traumatic brain injury. The facilitator of the panel called me a few weeks ago to ask me what letters I wanted following my name for the flyer. She listed off examples of the status letters: MD, ph.D, MSW, LCSW, DO, SLP, CCC, RYT, NP, PA, MA, BS, PT, etc… At that moment I was really glad that this was a voice mail, and not a live call, because it took me several hours to come up with a response.
I have no letters.
It is almost comical if it were not also a wound that I have worked to heal. Comical in the sense that despite my efforts, and success, there is still value in those letters that follow a name. Except none of the letters follow my name.
I recalled a moment at a recent Yoga training I attended where the teacher passed out his supplement books for the training. At the bottom of the book, following his name were the letters M.B.S. When an eager student with a serious tone and pencil ready to take notes asked him what it stood for, he smiled and allowed a pause to fill the air. Finally he asked the student if the letters really mattered to her? The student stammered with her response. Finally the teacher said, “It can stand for Mind/Body Specialist……or Master Bull Shitter….you choose”.
Believe me, I considered it.