I would appreciate if the floor would swallow me up now. Thank you. Please and thank you.
I listened to a Ted talk today about the power of vulnerability, the talk was delivered by a qualitive researcher that looks at the human condition and ways to help us all improve what we do each day…. She ended her talk on the foremost important things she had discovered…
Firstly the idea of allowing our selves to be vulnerable, allowing our selves to be open to life and the pleasures and risks being vulnerable allows.
Secondly of loving with all that we are and practising gratitude, most importantly having love and gratitude for our own self, of loving and accepting all that we are, right now.
And the last, and the one I felt most profound was the concept of; I am enough. I am enough, as I am today. The concept that you and I are worthy…
It seems so simple and so very obvious, but based on her research its not as common as one would hope, many are conditioned to feel: I am not enough… until you have that house, complete this work, loose some weight, earn this amount of money, tighten those abs… You are not enough.
So many of us have this negative underpinning image of our own self. The main premise of our marketing industry is to create a feeling that you are not enough until you have this thing, or until you have consumed something more. Then you will be enough. Until the next fad or necessary upgrade…
She finished her talk with one slide that just read, I am enough…
Our internal sense of worth permeates into everything we do, everything. My self esteem has had its fair share of tribulation, a perpetually cheating husband can fuck up a girls sense of worth quite devastatingly. But the shame of it all was that I had become so completely compressed that my own internal voice became my loudest perpetuator of such negative beliefs. I was then and can sometimes still be my own worst enemy.
I am enough… Somewhere in all the noise, that still feels like a lie.
Such nonsense, such stupid notions that I think I have dealt with and overcome. It is the reason I seek out strong women. It is the reason I seek out voices and opinions that break down negative social conditioning and attempt to destroy ideas of some kind of unattainable perfection. It is the reason I love conversations of body and self that can be confronting, conversations that examine our expectations and notions of ideal. Because in all of that I am trying to get a hold of my own negative self beliefs, because I want to see past those things and feel comfortable in my own skin. Because I don’t want my children to live in a society where that kind of negativity is placed on them, because I don’t want that negativity to become their internal belief structure, like it has been for me.
I am enough is not about what every one else thinks of you, it is about what you think of you. Or indeed what I think of me. I am honestly the most comfortable in my own skin than I have ever been in my life, it is lovely getting older, I would not want to return to my 18 year old self. Except to maybe tell her to get in her white Camira, with her camera and Silverchair tape and just drive and drive and explore like she wanted to. My 18 year old self, believed she could, she dreamed big and grand…. Somewhere along the way she was compressed and became dark in a way that did not feed her soul, that did not feed her sense of self. I write and read and seek out strong women because somewhere in this noisy head is that girl, I love her and I want to nourish that sense of being.
But just every now and again she falls out of focus and I am struck with a debilitating sense of unworthiness, I am not enough, consuming and black. Come on now, haven’t we got this shit sorted yet?? Then I get angry at my self, which of course just adds to the cycle.
Mostly I am just going along all cool and something unexpected will pull my feet out from under me and here I am again, in a cloud of I am not at all enough, and I want to go home to bed behind a locked door and not assault the world with my face.
I can be loud and dramatic, and if I love you I will give you all of my crazy self in that moment, but mostly I don’t really like people en-mass, I think perhaps I am a bit of an introvert, I’m not sure. I would much rather be at home with a few people I adore having an in-depth conversation about life and love than out with a big group dancing the night away. I would rather smile and wave and hide behind B and his beard than fake social conversation, fake is so very tedious. I could be home playing with some pixels or lost in words.
Being in a spot light is not exactly a comfortable place for me, needless to say being on a stage in front of a mass of eyes is like my worst nightmare. I like it here, behind the computer, with my own head, free to think and write and let it pour from my fingers however it may. Or behind a camera, I love being there, constructing something that has been itching in my head to get out, just free to be. But I can fake it like the best of us, and I do my best to overcome my need to just be at home all the time. Fake it till you become it. I am practicing, having said that I would rather cut my legs off than be on a stage for any reason.
And through some nightmarish set of circumstances, on a stage was indeed where I found my self one recent Friday night. Unwittingly plucked from the crowd. Help!!!! I want to die, I am not made for a stage. At all. Ok toughen up princess, there is always a risk with this kind of event that this could happen, just get up there and stop being a baby, it is all just in good fun… Except that is was a competition of sorts and we had to dance and get audience approval and applause and my self and the poor girl next to me went strait to high school memories of being picked on and wanted the floor to swallow us whole. Ok think fast before my turn to dance and be judged, a fine tall fellow standing next to me, shall we dance? I beg of you, save me from a fate of standing alone on a stage with no idea what to do? What a wonderful fine gentleman, except I didn’t expect the dip, it could have otherwise been a glamorous dip if it wasn’t me he had in his arms, I awkwardly dipped back terrified I would cripple him with my weight, and with my most unflattering body part protruding to the crowd I begged for something to quite literally kill me on the spot, a bolt of lightning or a falling piano, anything!! Just make me disintegrate into a puff of ash. Please. I beg of you.
I stood awkwardly back in line and faked my smile like my life depended on it, waiting while they insisted the crowd clap the loudest for the best performer… OMG seriously, I want to be dead.
Thank fuck it was all over and I was allowed to slink off the stage and go back to my seat and once again hide behind B and his camera. Except then I stupidly asked B to see the pictures. Bad, bad idea. All I saw was my unbearable form, chicken neck and protruding middle and why the heck did I not wear black stockings!!?? OMG, that is what the poor audience was just subjected to. OMG, now I would really like the floor to absorb me. Even now looking at them just makes me feel ill. Why can’t I just be like all the others…. But then the issue is really why cant how I am just be ok?
I just sat there awaiting the end of the show, lost in my own head and sense of not enough, dying to flee and not speak to another soul. I don’t want to subject any other poor soul to my social inadequacies and inability to just be enough. Ok, disconnect, fake it all, just smile, chat, say good buys, thankfully the kids were home with my mum so we had to go home any way…
I just sat in the car and cried on the way home, got home and curled up in our bed, wishing the world and my head were different than they are.
The issue is this, not that I was asked to be on the stage, not at all, but my consuming sense that I am not enough. The stage had previously been graced with beautiful, finely dressed women taking their courage and a chance to be the best in their field. I admired their courage and their arses.
Here’s the thing, its not about any of them, or any one clapping or not, it is just about me. About finding a way to dissolve such negativity. Often I find the best way to overcome something I am afraid of is to just throw my self in, head first. If I am doing something out there, crazy or bold it is often because I am terrified of it, because I want to dissolve the fear and move past it so it doesn’t control me. I want to feel free and comfortable in my own skin, just as it is, not tethered to some notion of reality that is not me, and therefore feeling I am not enough.
Given I have no stage worthy skills throwing my self in that deep end is not going to alleviate the issues, and really this is not about fear of being on stage, it is about a small voice inside that says you are not enough, you are not worthy to be here. And this juncture is exactly where I find my self… aware of it all but not at all sure how on earth to go about resolving it, I’ve read all the books and put up all the quotes, practiced all the positive affirmations and I think its all good, because mostly it is, but just every now and again it all comes back and drowns me… and I wish I was something other than I am.
And while the TED talk was indeed awesome, and triggered a wave of thought, it did not explain how to feel you are worthy. It just identified that these notions are important, but not how to get to a place where you feel them.
Something I find so very often, is that what logic my head knows does not align with what my heart feels. There is a cavernous disconnection between the two. I know in my head that I am ok, that I am worthy, that such negative notions are nonsense. But I don’t always feel that. Which is nonsense I know.
But here again is where I find myself. What am I not learning, what am I not getting?? I am out of sync, what my head knows to be truth does not align with what my heart feels.
So often it gets in the way of me just being, I get in my own way. All the time. In so many different facets of life my confidence and sense of self worth sabotage my path. My neurosis is not my superpower. At all.
Sometimes I think you just have to keep going, Keep jumping, keep pushing when I am scared, keep fighting when I want to run from confrontation, keep practicing, keep challenging society and my own internal dialogue, keep seeking out beautiful strong voices that cry out with strength and inspire, keep going and believe ‘that in time small incremental changes will make a significant difference.’….. and I think they do.
I was speaking to a beautiful soul I admire about it all and he said to me, but think what it was like a few years ago? I know I still feel challenged by those things but it is easier, it is much better than it was, it is all worth it. And he was right. It is all not perfect, but all the little things along the way have bought me here, a place I much prefer than 5 or 10 years ago. My Grandma would always say that, when I would end up at her door in tears because my ex-husband had just screamed at me until I was terrified and I just wanted to quit, and not go to work tomorrow and just let him have the kids…
You just have to keep going she would say,
It will all come out in the wash.
And ever so slowly it is,
All of it.
One word at a time, one image at a time, one belief at a time, one social notion at a time.
Worthy. I am as you are.
event photography, post production- b.
burlesque idol event- audience participation, holding the ‘L’- Aj