“Vulnerability is not winning or losing; it's having the courage to show up and be seen when we have no control over the outcome. Vulnerability is not weakness; it's our greatest measure of courage.” ... “People who wade into discomfort and vulnerability and tell the truth about their stories are the real badasses.”- BRENÉ BROWN
I get it and I don't. I am someone who constantly, idiotically perhaps, tries to push things out. To try things. Go out on a limb, push it, test my anxieties and self-love-meter out. Trigger therapy. Get to the other side. And I seldom feel like a badass, though I love to learn and grow and improve. And I do love how far I've come in the past few years...
I've never had a problem being creative. Writing songs, poetry, short stories. Books. Inspiration abounds, always. But when it comes to the showing up and sharing part...the visible part, the performance part...I have mixed emotions, I always have.
I've recorded myself on video before. Take after take after take, until it was perfect. Usually while doing something fun and light, like singing. Playing guitar. Hanging out with my kid, being silly. Maybe because I don't take these things so seriously, I just enjoy them. But still, the right lighting, angles, the right outfit, good hair... And tonight, I pushed way out of my comfort zone, and did a live video without much thought or preparation. I felt good about it, it wasn't a big turnout, but that's okay. It was good practice...
And then, I watched it back...and all sorts of things happened, inside...it was turbulent...and emotional...
My inner dialogue went like this:
I don't look like that. Sound like that. Why did I make that face, my boobs are hanging out, the scrap of ribbon to hang up my shirt is loose and dangling, and oh, swell...dry, split ends. My roots are growing out. I need to get my hair done. That crease in my forehead...I need Botox, don't I? And on and on... Complete and utter contempt for this strange creature who didn't look or feel like me. I don't do this to others. I look at other people on video and I just enjoy what they have to say, I notice their very human expressions and smiles, and a light in their eyes. I find beauty past any flaws or imperfections.
Yet, I tore myself apart. I looked up this phenomenon:
And do we all do this? They look great, they can do it. Me? No... who even is that?
Perhaps writers ought to stay writers. Or perhaps I need to put more effort and planning into video making. Or perhaps I should stick to pre-recorded video. Or perhaps, better yet, it's a great time to zone out and watch Eat, Pray, Love.
Dolce far niente. - The joy of doing nothing...
Even as I lay here, cozy in blankets, fighting the urge to self-loathe after such a vulnerable and awkward display, life speaks to me. It's enough now. It's enough. Enjoy yourself, you work enough. "Dolce far niente..."
And in these passing moments I feel so far away from myself. Could I find my way back to that return...of "doing nothing?" Of sitting blissfully, freely, in a rose garden. Finding poetry in all things. Living art. Is it a rather remarkable and rebellious idea to opt out of the race? And to simply love your life? Mm. Right. What happened to that? To celebrate. To stand where you are, in each moment, with the joy of being alive? And I'm looking at this scurrying, proving, busy creature... trying to do what? For what? And for whom?
Hm. And when I ask myself what I want, it's more self-care. It's a life worth savoring. Enjoying the fruits of labor. Simple pleasures and live music and daily gratitude and the shimmering bliss of just being healthy and alive, with nothing to prove to anyone. But to breathe. Smile. And know that I am all I need, that I have all I need. And why do I feel the urgency to do and try and produce so much more, more, always more... because that's the culture, now. Fast. And I'm exhausted. Again. I've got a few events in November and December, and the holidays, and I just want to enjoy them. Feel them. Be present, fully present, for them.
Mm, whatever happened to...slow? Heart-full. Free.
And is this deeper inclination, this stirring inside, to pull back and slow down and focus on home, health, and heart... is this laziness in such a fast-paced, purpose driven, better-than-your-best environment of chasing perfection? And for whom, and for what? And... Sacred Mother. And re-connection. And surrender. And a coming home...again, wiser.
And sometimes courage is being exactly who you are without apology. I'm reminded of my days in Monterey, CA... slow. Indulgent. Patient. Pleasing. Relaxed. Feminine. The magic of otters - slow down, play, enjoy life, trust your magic. I found my heart that year, journeying through layers of myself, years of pain and false beliefs set free, and how easy it is, how easy... to drift right back into busy-ness. Proving. Pleasing. Grinding. Producing. Protecting and guarding, instead of flowing and feeling.
Creating...has always felt free, inspired, divine. Magic. Living in harmony with all that is and capturing it, in some sort of art. And I can get lost in the busy, sometimes. The searching. Seeking. Instead of remembering, knowing, and believing in something greater and bigger, guiding me through.
I saw Liz Gilbert, who wrote Eat, Pray, Love, on an interview somewhere recently...in a sound-byte, a quick passing moment, faster than lightning, in my Instagram feed somewhere. And she was talking about...women who know how to relax. How much that would inspire her... And wow. Me too. And why can't I, for more than a moment? Or why won't I? And why don't we, in general?
Oh, to simplify. Once, being free and grateful was enough. Until I was enticed with more. I'm reminded to unclench my fists and to cherish what matters most:
"All my surface worries and preoccupations evaporated: instant clarity. My boy mattered. Health and well-being mattered. Family mattered. Good and true friends mattered. Experience, love, joy, art, human compassion, and adventure mattered. We waste so much time, on this earth. So much precious, valuable time is given to nonsense and fear and unworthiness. How quickly it could all be gone..." - Wild Horses and Mistakes
Grateful for that clarity.
November. Darker. A deeper release. Another shedding. And further inward...may we all find the courage...to relax. And let Love find us, healthy, whole, and at peace. And so wildly enough.
PS...sometime in the nineties, I wrote about adults being this busy. And all that working Mama wanted to do was Slow Down and put her feet up. Life is funny.
© 2019 Stacie Hammond