Saturday, January 23, 2010

The word "UNIQUE" has always been a bit loaded for me...I have heard this word spoken in conjunction with my personality, my outside appearance, my family, my decisions, etc. SO many times, that I have felt a bit "haunted" by this seemingly harmless word.

Last weekend, I attended a fabulous workshop for Beginners of the 12-Week Creativity Program called the Artist's Way. I am not an Artist's Way virgin. Two years ago, I had the incredible pleasure of taking this class with the author of the book, Julia Cameron. She swears like a sailor, tells it like it is, and has an AMAZING ability to assist her students in embracing their Creative Voice and Spirit...their authentic Self.

This specific class last week was taught by the beautiful Suzanne Boothby, a good friend of mine and incredible teacher. (highly recommend her classes!) One exercise particularly stood out for me. We each designed an affirmation that spoke to our creative, authentic Selves. This was mine:

"I am a fabulous and talented Performer."

We were instructed to write it five times in our notebooks. Then, we were supposed to jot down any of the comments we heard from our Inner Critic, the voice inside our head that tries to keep us from pursuing our dreams. Here were some of mine:

"I am a fabulous and talented Performer."

Critic: "No you're not. You are a Tutor."

hmmm...again. "I am a fabulous and talented Performer."

Critic: "Yes, you and all the other singer/actors/performers without work or money."


Critic: "Sorry, hun, but you are too UNIQUE looking to truly be a performer."

WHOAH! Tears welled up in my eyes. Where did THAT come from???

Flashback: Fourth grade, Hays, KS. (Very Volga German) In a class of blond hair beauties, I was the ONLY one with black hair. The kids nicknamed me Alien Eyes, because my eyes have always been "unique" looking. One VERY religious classmate wouldn't talk to me because she (and her ENTIRE family) thought I was a Witch.

Flashback: Middle School. No boyfriend EVER! Except, when the Popular Guys wanted to be funny and pretend to ask me out. I was a Ballet Dancer in Middle School and was ALWAYS cast as The Witch in all of the productions...because of my "unique" look. (Never the Princess)

Flashback: High-School. I spent much of my four years trying to look less "unique". Well, to BE less unique as well. By Senior Year, I had dyed my hair blonde...and wore more make up than Lady Gaga.

Flashback: College in Los Angeles. Set up on a Blind Date with the Captain of the University of Southern California's Water Polo Team. He took one look at me, pulled my friend into the next room (where I could hear the conversation PERFECTLY) and said, "She's NOT pretty enough." Awkward...and a bit heart breaking at the time.

Flashback: Starbucks, one week ago. The guy at the counter looks at me for a few seconds and then says, "What ARE you?? Your eyes, they are sooooo.....UNIQUE!!"

AAAAAH!!!!!! I've heard it all my life. And through this workshop, I recognized that these memories, that this interpretation of my outside appearance, has played a part in holding me back from pursuing my dream life, from taking actions steps to Live Out Loud in this world as a performer.

I wish I could say I am above all this. That other people's interpretation of me and my appearance has never mattered...but fellow blog readers, friends, family, God, you know otherwise.

This does not serve me...I am letting it go. (or trying to let it go)


I AM RECLAIMING THE WORD UNIQUE...I like it. I take it as a compliment...From this day forward...

so I am closing with a poem of sorts:


maybe I will change my name to this word
that has defined me for years
and held me back from my dreams

because Unique makes waves,
lives Out Loud
turns heads on the street

I may not be your Disney Princess
your blond haired
Abercrombie Doll

I AM ME...


My nose, pronounced, wide,
a nod to my Native American heritage
my Spiritual Center

My eyes, widespread,
turned upwards
like a sliver of the moon, shining

My lips, my mouth
one side slants higher
when I smile, mirroring the love within


My hair,
one third gray or silver
silver with life's lessons and learning

My nails,
rarely cut or cleaned
all different lengths, eclectic, creative

My body
the temple of my soul
my cherished skin, blemishes, wrinkles, warmth with Spirit


I am not your Barbie Doll

I am not your Poster Child

Maybe I AM a witch.

I could be from South America, Italy, KANSAS?


maybe I will change my name to this word
that has defined me for years
and held me back from my dreams


Saturday, January 16, 2010

It has been awhile since my last post. Why, you might ask? I wish I could say that I have been steeped in so many Health Counseling clients that my schedule is too FULL. Or, that I have been diligently at work on my Memoir and I haven't been able to spread the writing love to my blog. Or, that I have been heroically rescuing lost pets and children.

When I was 8, in Council Grove, Kansas, my best friend Cami, and I started a Pet Detective Club. We put fliers all over the town that read "Will find lost pets and small children." I kid you not. We did not receive one phone call.... However we hid and found many different stuffed animals in my own backyard.:)

And no, I have not been training for an Ultra-Marathon up Mount Everest that has left me too exhausted to write.

The truth is, up until NOW, I have been in Self-Punishment mode. For me, writing is an incredible form of self-care, and one of the first to go when I feel like I don't deserve these "luxuries."

Without going into intense detail and rehashing the issue/blessing that occurred, I made a HUGE mistake at my job. HUGE. As a self-professed PEOPLE PLEASER, I chose to de-rail a bit. Or a lot. I had my good days (practicing self-forgiveness, taking feedback neutrally, trusting the Divine Process, etc) and my harder days ( self-berating, ostricizing myself socially, and thinking I should quit before they fire me....)

An ironic part of all of this, is that one hour before I received the infamous phone call from my boss, I stood up at my Graduate School Program in Spritual Psychology and announced, in front of 250 incredible witnesses, that I was letting go of my Addiction to People Pleasing, that it did not serve me anymore. I recognized my Fear of Disappointing Others going all the way back to my parent's divorce and feeling like I was responsible. I stood up, ready to let go of my need to please others, to stop living my life out of fear that if I am not making everyone happy, then they will go away, and I will be alone, have no one.

My teachers instructed me in self-forgiveness: "I forgive myself for ever buying into the misunderstanding that I caused my parent's divorce." Whew...a weight lifted and my heart opened...

Then, "I forgive myself for ever buying into the misunderstanding that I have to contort myself or tone it down, to be loved and accepted." Whoah...another huge energetic shift took place.

The love and support in the room was unbelievable. I felt re-born! I was ready stop People Pleasing, live my truth, own my Voice and my Power.

And then, my cell phone rang. It was my boss. Yelling. Swearing. And I had made a HUGE mistake...("When the student is ready, the teacher will appear"-Buddhist Proverb...the Universe responded QUICKLY!)

Did I get through that infamous phone call and not completely fall apart? YES!

Did I fly back to New York and face my fears of going back to work? YES!

Did I lose my job? NO!

Did I finally stop the self-punishment? YES!

Do I feel stronger in retrospect? YES!


Carl Rogers, famous author and psychologist says, "...the process of CHANGE is life. I realize that if I were stable and steady and static, I would be living death. So I accept confusion and uncertainty and fear and emotional highs and lows because they are the price I willingly pay for a flowing, perplexing, exciting life."

Facing my Unresolved Issues (ie People Pleasing Tendencies) is not easy, but the Healing Process is worth it. The Universe gave me an incredible gift with this experience of letting down my boss. I realized that I could separate my inherent self-worth, from my "bad behavior". I recognized that making mistakes doesn't make me a bad person...

Each time, I deal with an experience like this, I feel like I get to know my True Self even better and learn to love Her even more. And in a way, I feel like I am running the Pet Detective Club all over again...Yet this time, I am searching for my lost Authentic Self, for my true voice, my Inner Power, and I am finding Her, this my Own Backyard.