Do you ever have those lessons that you keep having to go back to because you just can’t seem to get them right? Yah – me too. I mean, we all have something that we are not as good at. Mine was always sports. Although I didn’t care about them, so that didn’t really matter.
But, my current failing lesson is really all about myself – my worth as a dancer, a worker, a spouse, a daughter, a human being. On one level, I know I am fucking amazing. On the other, I am getting older, tired, crankier. I see people doing things all the time that I can’t do. And I have always been a person suffering from imposter syndrome. You know, that underlying feeling that someday, someone is going to find out that I can’t dance, I don’t do my job sufficiently, and am a really shitty human being that hasn’t ever had to grow up and still acts like a spoiled 10-year-old child. I know, I know. You would think I was talking about our current Orange-in-Chief…. However, there is a strong part of me (my inner bitch, if you will) that self-shames. Is it good? Absolutely not. Is it easy to fix? Absolutely not. I have apparently been self-shaming since I was a child and that stuff isn’t easy to let go!
So, I keep trying, I keep taking classes, getting help, looking for new tools. Because I know that this isn’t the way to be. Does it motivate me? Sometimes. But it doesn’t make me happy. And I spend enough time dancing, performing, and living, that I would like to have more appreciation for myself and what I do. Including appreciation and allowance for myself to do nothing. Or even to fail occasionally.
As I performer, I find a lot of us tend to go from the “I’m amazing,” to “I suck,” altogether too quickly. So many of us, including myself, are overly dependent on external stimuli and positive feedback. Which is great! I love positive feedback. I love positive comments. But, often, as a teacher and a show producer I usually don’t get any feedback. I feel like people expect me to just give others positive feedback, or else people think I have my shit together enough that I don’t need to hear feedback.
I also have the strong inner bitch in my brain that often ignores or demeans the positive feedback I get from others. Like: “They don’t know what they are talking about.” “They are only telling me I am good because they want to be in the show.” “They are my friends, of course they are going to say something nice.”
And of course, real feedback is nice, too. Like, how do I improve? How do I make myself better? Which is really a rare gift, because most people are not equipped to provide that type of feedback, and certainly not when they are there just to enjoy a show. So, my inner bitch feels like it is her duty to tell me when I am not stepping up. To tell me when someone is better than I am. To tell me what I screwed up. To tell me when that was okay, but it really wasn’t up to par. To tell me that I am not good enough, not smart enough, not nice enough, not patient enough, not creative enough, not, not, not, not not…. All in the name of making myself better. And, the result is I ultimately make myself an emotional mess. Isn’t performing and creation fun?!?
Is this just me? I know a lot of us are fucked up, but there are so many special, individual ways to be fucked up. So, I am trying to make myself less fucked up. Because telling yourself that you suck and getting older is not a super good combination because eventually my body is going to stop doing some of the things it does now. I mean, it already doesn’t do things it did when I was 20 or 30…
So, I am working on positive self-talk. Although, apparently, I need to find “special time” for that (that I never give myself because busy) because I need to focus in a way that I don’t seem to be able to do when I am walking down the street or sitting on public transportation, although my normal inner bitch seems to work just great 100% of the time! I think it is because I have spent so much of my life down-playing other people’s positive comments about myself, that I sure as hell don’t believe them when I talk about myself, either.
So, I am working on it. If this was a January post, I would say this is my 2019 goal, but since it is February, I am going to say I am working on becoming my own Valentine. Because you really should love yourself most of all. (And no, inner bitch, that is not selfish!!)
So, if you are struggling with this, too, I wish you all the positive thoughts for your loud inner bitch. (I find that ice cream is not effective long-term for keeping mine quiet). Hope to share more as I move down this path of – hopefully – improvement. Just remember, you are worthy, and I am too!