Tonight was rough. Nothing happened, actually, I mean, no event transpired during my day today that would have triggered this reaction. No, this is a reaction to the past, and it is painful.
I’m trying to wrap my head and my heart around it. I want to understand this breakdown because I believe on the other side, there is a breakthrough to be had. This is an opportunity to let go of something that no longer serves me. It means there is something for me to surrender, I just have to figure out what it is and then have the courage to let it go.
So I showed up for my lesson today and although I felt pretty neutral coming in the studio, as I made my way to the bathroom, I began to feel a bit blue. The truth is, as I got dressed for my lesson, I put on a shirt and I didn’t like how it looked on me – my body looked, to me, wide, round, not curvy, just blobby. And don’t even get me started on my arms. Mental sigh. Wear a different shirt that you are more comfortable in so you can ignore the way you look. Focusing on my body brings me no joy and I know this so I try to be as kind as I can to myself and wear things that make me feel a little bit better. So, anyways, the point of this is that the self-judgement, criticism, and rejection had already started before I left home, even if subtly. I tried to brush it off. I tried to take an action to alleviate the demons and shift my focus by changing clothes. It didn’t work.
So the conditioning that I’ve internalized saw that it had a toe-hold on my brain and it hijacked the operation. It took advantage of the mirror in front of me, using it as a rapier to slice my heart, reminding me of all my perceived flaws, making me aware that I’m wishing that I were other that what I am. I waste so much time and energy on this stupid spiral, I keep engaging in it. I know, from an intellectual place, how insane this is, and yet I’m still doing it. It makes me cry. I don’t even want to repeat all the crap this conditioning spewed at me, let’s just say it’s exquisitely painful to look in the mirror and wish that the reflection was different. It’s painful to reject yourself.
I mentioned to Kristijan that I felt like I was twelve years old. This wasn’t so much about the fact that I was being emotional for no apparent reason, but rather because I felt small and insecure. Being the type of person who believes nothing is coincidence and that honing in on a specific age could be a clue, I thought back on my drive home about when I was twelve years old.
I recalled that when I was twelve my family moved from Colorado to Arizona and I started 6th grade. The summer before this move we came to visit and attended a pool party. I remember my mom pointing out to me that everyone in Arizona was fit and trim and that we should be that way too to fit in. Over that summer I was put on a diet and I dropped lots of weight. By beginning of the school year I was deemed acceptable.
I must own my part in this and the fact that I’m going into victim mode around this to a point. I took on the beliefs that created this perspective on the experience. Also, the unconscious message I got very clearly was that I was unacceptable as I was and needed to change to be accepted and loved. I did change, but on one level, this was a betrayal of self and the buying into of a lie that there was something to fix. Also, I remember being so hungry on this diet that I snuck uncooked pasta from the pantry. That doesn’t seem like a normal thing, nor a compassionate way to transform one’s body.
Anyways, that event was what it was. But it was a seed which I then must take responsibility for watering and nurturing until it has grown into a thorny weed around my heart. This weed pricks deeply, I bleed self-rejection.
I say I want to be a joyful person and yet I’m doing this to myself. I’m showing up as sad, drama queen. I’m told one must first fully acknowledge exactly where one is before it can be healed or addressed properly. Normally I’d berate myself for choosing to slide down this particular death spiral, admonishing myself for once again being an asshole for choosing misery when I theoretically know better.
This time, I want to explore it more fully. I want awaken to it so that it can reveal the gift it has in store for me. I don’t want to resist this anymore because that doesn’t change anything, in fact it probably keeps it in place.
One thing that arises is compassion for my twelve-year-old self, who just wanted love and acceptance, who just wanted to be okay, and who rejected herself, took on the job of self-rejection, so that she wouldn’t have to endure it from others around her that she loved. She was trying to protect me/herself in a way, and that is lovely. The only problem is, this protection is not actually protecting me from anything – actually there is nothing to protect me from. Actually, this armor that was built to protect me is weighing me down and causing harm.
I really want to be with whatever this part of me is that needs my love and attention. I no longer wish to shut it down or make it go away because it’s not effective and painful. I want to embrace this sad energy, cradle it in my heart and whisper to it, soothing it, saying, I have enough space for you. You are welcome here. I’m sorry it took so long for me to hear you and attend to you. I love you and I need your love.
I surrender the need for you to grow up or be other than you are. I surrender all my expectations. I let go of all I pressure I put on you. You are perfect just as you are and I’m grateful for your contribution to my life. But this process that we’ve been doing together just brings us both down. It’s not moving us forward, in fact it’s keeping us stuck! And we are missing out on the joy available in the moment. I apologize for every time I think a thought that rejects you or resists reality just as it is, with nothing added and nothing taken away. I’m choosing to choose you and life and me and my body just exactly as it is. I forgive myself for being human and having erroneous thoughts. I will do my best to be aware of them and lovingly correct them as soon as possible.
So here I am, at the end of all that writing and it has nothing to do with dancing. I just knew that I was in a tizzy and needed to work this all out. Writing is my therapy and I thought it might contain something worth sharing. For whatever reason, the place in my life where this particular storyline plays itself out most vehemently is while I’m dancing. It’s the place where I can access the rejected parts of me, they are right there barely under the surface. In most other areas of my life I don’t get this down on myself, nor do I feel the depths of despair. I guess this is why I say that dancing is my practice. Hopefully next time I go, me and my twelve-year-old self can go hand in hand and enjoy our time together, for I am the possibility of compassion and self-love and she is welcome here.
I’m all too familiar with all the terrible things we tell ourselves when we look in the mirror. It’s not surprising that it all comes out when we dance, because everything is exposed. Not to mention every dance studio is FULL of mirrors! Luckily, I have a teacher who I can ask to repeat the last thing he said because the demons in my head are getting really loud as I look at myself in the studio mirrors, and he is understanding and supportive. Sounds like you’ve got great support in your teachers too. You’re on the right path, just keep doing that voodoo that you do so well. 🙂
Sometimes it’s difficult to NOT go into victim mode when something reminds us of a dark time in our past – but it’s beautiful the way that you’re reaching out to yourself with self-love instead of hate. Loving yourself despite your faults can be incredibly difficult, but I’ve always found it to be the most rewarding.
Stay strong!!! 🙂