Bright side, will you marry me?
Negativity is taught by society. Here's why I think that and how to I unlearn beating myself up: A cry to your own power.
Day 17 ︱ Dear Quarantine Diary: Can you remember when you were competing with your friends as a kid? We said things like: "OK, who's stronger!? / Prettier? / Greater?!" And everyone was down for it! Everyone believed they were the strongest, prettiest, greatest. It was so easy, it was a fact. We all were. It wasn't arrogance or selfishness, it was pure love. A beautiful game.
Caroline McHugh spoke about this in The art of being yourself that I came across lately. Being yourself is art. And art is also hard, yes. And art is never finished, only abandoned, like Leonardo DaVinci said. Caroline McHugh found, though, that self-respect and -love depends on the age. She did an experiment in which she asked groups of children of different ages the same question: Who is the greatest?
The younger the children, the more confident they were. Boys in the first grade were more likely to admit they were the strongest (whether that was true or not). However, boys in the firth grade hesitated and checked the room first before they rose their hand. Insecure.
Most people don't know how insecure I actually am myself. On social media we always get exposed to positivity, hustling, goals, fame and fortune... I hardly find time, space and the courage to open up about my weaknesses, worries and wounds——but I have them. Just like you. It's funny because especially acting has helped me heal them. But it also got me back in my head often. There was a time——before I went to college for it——that acting was freedom for me. The freedom to live stories, to revive words, to be me for everyone to be seen and accepted.
In acting school that changed. We got feed so much knowledge, rules and exercises that I completely lost myself in it. I actually lost me. Because I wanted too badly to be right, too badly to be the best. So I hid. I went up as the last. I lost courage, I was afraid. I had to unlearn doubt. I had to unlearn negativity.
By today I've learned that I wasn't afraid of failure, though, I was afraid of my own power. That stuff could actually work out the way I do it. That I could actually be interesting by just being myself.
The mother of all fears [is] so close to us that even when we verbalize it we don't believe it. Fear That We Will Succeed.——Steven Pressfield (from: The War of Art, great book tip, woot-woot!)
And yes, Steven Pressfield has been a loyal companion in spirit along the way. I do believe that many are afraid to acknowledge and step into their own power. Me included. Now here's why I think that is...
Remember two things: First, Caroline's experiment. And secondly, feel back to when you were a kid and enthusiastic all day. Children laugh 70 percent more often than adults within 24 hours. The sad truth. Let's challenge it!
I did my own experiment. I closed my eyes wondering... What does enthusiasm feel like in my veins? When was the last time I actually laughed my ass off? Why do I think I am not enough?
I noticed that enthusiasm and excitement is actually pretty close to having an orgasm. Maybe even better? (Or maybe my disappointing sex history doesn't do excitement in kindergarden justice, I'm not sure... Email me if you think otherwise, let's talk about sex.) ——Anyway, now that I actually have your full attention, I noticed it's also been a whiiiiiiiiiiile since last time rolling on the floor laughing... And last but not least: I think I'm not enough, well, because #daddyissues and my fear of failure. I wanna be perfect but often think I cannot live up to my own understanding of perfection.
"You know, I think you've gotten so used to your own high standards that you don't see how strong you are," my quarantine buddy once told me. He would have given up from the start, if he were in my shoes, he said. Living with cerebral palsy requires more of you. And I haven't really seen that because I have gotten so used to my normality. It's true. The work I put into just walking would be the work you do running a marathon. A limp is the best workout. "Your workout is my warm up," my acting instructor, Frederik Malsy, likes to say. Seriously, get a limp, get in shape. (Attention: By reading my articles you also get to learn what sarcasm is, it's the best.)
So I close my eyes and feel once again... What does my power feel like? How do I talk, walk and act as my most powerful self?
Who am I inspired by to inspire you being a better version yourself?
It's getting pretty corny now. But I like corniness. So, here's a reminder how powerful you are. Join me in this experiment. You are at home right now anyway, so go inside. I know you are as strong as me. Society keeps teaching us self-confidence as something evil. I'm not referring to selfishness or arrogance. I mean knowing how capable you are. Knowing that you——right now,——can light your fire others can warm themselves on. That's why I started this diary in the first place. Our day is full of news, despair and stupid but funny Corona memes... If I can make time for that stuff, I can also make time to build a healing cocoon for my old issues. I know anything happens for a reason. It's Corona time. And I want everyone to get out of this cocooning as the most beautiful butterfly you've ever imagined. If society can teach us how dim our light, then we can also unlearn how to listen; shifting focus and making our own bonfire. Today I'm marrying my brightest, most powerful self. Will you, too? "I am the greatest," Muhammad Ali said even before he was. So are you. I love you so. ——Co-cocoon 🦋 (couldn't help this joke...)