Mirror, mirror on the wall, who is the most self-critical of them all? Me, me, me!!!
Recently I was asked if I would emcee a local event. What may be a frightening role to many, lands me well within my comfort zone. I really shine in this capacity, thank you to my high school teacher and acting coach Mr. Bashara. I have deeper fears than public speaking but that is whole nuther ball of wax!
Besides, this was an opportunity to dress up and talk to people– two of my favorite activities. My dance group was asked to perform a salsa number at the same event and it was my first time dancing with the team. I may have “Broadway in my blood” but a sparkle bra and choreography tends to knock me a few feet outside of my comfort zone! Oddly I am perfectly comfortable in a solo but group choreography is where the rubber hits the road. Turn the wrong way and everyone knows!
Now if you are going to dance in front of people, I highly recommend wearing a sparkle bra! I felt like my bra gave me “super powers”, which unfortunately did not translate to my feet but did help fuel my DD’s; my Diva-tude Demeanor”! This was part of our costume – to be worn under a sheer blouse. Ok, I admit that it was my idea to make it part of the costume! Go big or go home.
I have always loved acting and perhaps this is one of the reasons I can sell myself. Whoa people– not in the literal sense! I am strictly speaking in metaphors!! I appear super confident and charming and on the outside with Teflon coated nerves. WTF, I just realized I could be describing myself AND a sociopath! Rest assured I am not a sociopath. I care far too much for myself, I mean others, to be labeled this way.
My acting skills allowed me to play the part of a happy person for years. Even my closest friends had no idea that I was struggling with depression. Had they opened my chest, (again, metaphorically as my friends are not creepy like that!) they would have seen my broken heart covered with deep wounds and necrotic tissue. Today those scars have healed and they take up far less space than they did ten years ago. The necrosis has reversed and my heart shines with resilience. What may surprise you are the tiny tender bruises of new injuries; those that I inflict upon myself every time I believe what critical voice has to say.
Yes, my friends. Words are weapons, especially when they originate from your inner critic. So less than twelve hours after a spectacular success, I looked at my photos and felt run over by negative imagery. I laser focused toward the part of me I hate the most, my belly and thought, “You look like you are about to birth twenty two kittens. Who in the hell let me go out there without any Spanx????”
My Girlfriend Voice was silent. I knew...
When I Count My Blessings I Count You Twice
I have a plaque with this phrase hanging by my front door. Every time I come and go, I am reminded that my blessings outweigh my struggles. Focus on the good stuff—–
Lately I’ve had to remind myself of my many blessings because the past two weeks have been hell– laden with struggles. I am being tested! My Girlfriend Voice consoles me and agrees with my plan. In order to take care of myself, I will pull back on my social commitments and activities. I tell myself, “Put on your oxygen mask first before assisting another passenger”. Slow down. Recalibrate. Listen to your body. Indulge in a little self-care.
In the past I equated struggling with being weak and dammit, I AM NOT WEAK. If I didn’t solve each and every problem–figure things out– then I was a failure. Struggling was NOT ACCEPTABLE. Stupid people struggle. Incompetent people struggle. Struggle = weak = failure.
“Never see her sweat,” was my motto but it was exhausting to operate as the perfect woman. I didn’t allow myself to see how unrealistic it was to be a super hero Mom, supportive friend, patient wife and creative business woman all at the same time. Talk about setting myself up for crisis!
Fortunately I learned and now believe that struggling is an accelerator of growth. Struggling is the indicator light on my dashboard that it is time to pause.
On Thursday night I admitted to my friends that I was in a vulnerable place and needed a quiet weekend for self-care so I cancelled our plans. It reinforced what I already knew —- I have phenomenal friends! Friends, who despite what struggles they are going through, such as the death of a parent or unreasonable job expectations, offer to help ME. I can call on them for a late night chocolate delivery, a shoulder to cry on, a belly laugh, retail therapy—you name it. They are there for me, just a phone call (or text) away. No worries about being judged or criticized. My gals got my back!
What is even better is that my friends don’t rely on my drama to feel important. They don’t require updates, solutions, or explanations. They are not trying to fix, save or remodel me. One gal pal in particular is so good at asking me, “do you want me to strictly listen or are you looking for advice?” Sometimes I just want to say (scream) things out loud and have her listen to my ramblings. Sometimes I need her advice. Sometimes I want to hear about her life so I can momentarily forget about mine.
Living an imperfect but perfectly authentic life is so refreshing! To my girlfriends……THANK YOU. You are my SOUL SISTERS of SOLACE! Your Girlfriend Voices have comforted me more than you know!
How do you feel about struggling? What is your support system?...