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“Girls Like Us”

I can remember the shame washing over me like a hot blanket, but not the yummy kind you want when you’re cold – more like the warm blanket when you’ve wet the bed and you know the heat will soon give way to cold, stark, lonely humiliation: perfect for a 15 year old on a large stage in front of several classmates.

It was sophomore year. I had scored my first big part in a school play: Rosie in Bye, Bye, Birdie. I quickly discovered, much to my delight, that I not only got to sing a solo number, but that it required a solo dance as well. Yay! I asked if I could choreograph it; at least that’s how I remember all that happening through the mists of time. So I went to work at it. And over some amount of time that I can no longer recall, but feel comfortable guessing was not insignificant, put together a dance to show to our director, who was on loan from a prestigious local theater.

slide1The time came in rehearsal and I did my dance number for the director’s approval. I was really proud; proud to have the part, proud to have been allowed to handle the dance myself, and proud of having done it and performed it the way I wanted to. When I finished, as I caught my breath, I realized that it was pretty quiet. I looked up at the director, who was sitting on a folding chair at the front of the stage. She looked at me with obvious discomfort and said a few words that I don’t remember and then she said the thing I will always remember: “Girls like us can’t leap.” There was then some elaboration about my size, a vague reference to bustiness, and the way all of that looks in the air to other people. She even demonstrated how she looked leaping so I would really understand, made fun of herself, drew parallels to large animals. And there I stood. Not so proud anymore. Continue reading → “Girls Like Us”

“You Could Be Nicer”

So, I’ve been on a little bit of a social media diet. It probably doesn’t look like it to folks who follow and interact with me because I’ve gotten real strategic about it. I still hop on several times a day, I just don’t stay because, frankly, I have a lot to do and for me personally, there are SO many rabbit holes. I’ve found that my self-imposed limitations have really served to keep me from re-reading stories and news and to prevent me from seeing 7 different versions of the day’s outrage instead of just 1. So, it’s working and yet…

slide2The heightened political and social tensions have brought so much stuff to the forefront. I don’t think anybody would deny that. One of the pieces of stuff that I’ve noticed is a whole lot of attempts to disarm pissed-off women. Now, I know this will come as no surprise to those of you who are married to or live with a woman, or who grew up with sisters, but disarming a pissed-off woman is as tricky as disarming a pissed-off man. Our society has not  seemed terribly interested in disarming men, but we’ve gotten real good at disarming women. Yep, we’ve gotten so good at disarming women that now women will do it to each other. Here are some examples of the ways I’ve seen people attempting to disarm pissed-off women. People tell them to:  1) get the “real” facts or simply state that the disagreement is because of her lack of smarts, 2) let all of that anger go and find some gratitude, 3) focus on herself and her family (you know, because that’s less stressful), and 4) find a nicer way to say what she’s trying to say. “You can say all that in a nicer way, you know without the anger (or the cursing, heaven forbid there be cursing). You can fix it without anger (been there, tried that).” When I see these kinds of responses on social media, I can just hear somebody saying: “You can win more flies with honey you know.” Continue reading → “You Could Be Nicer”

Has Your Play Turned Into Work?

Hey friends…

I have just gotten back from an amazing trip.

I had training with Susan Hyatt and 6 other soon to be BARE coaches in Savannah, Georgia.

The city was beautiful. The weather was perfect. The house and the hospitality were beyond comfortable. The company was stellar AND we spent half a day talking about PLEASURE!!! Oh yeah. Continue reading → Has Your Play Turned Into Work?

There Are Many I’s in Team

I’ve heard it. You’ve heard it. We’ve ALL heard it some time or another: there is no I in team. It’s one of those super swell sentences meant to diminish individual desire in favor of the group goal. You’re on a team. You are no longer an I.

Obliterating the “I” in terms of ego… I get it. I really do. You can’t hog the ball in hopes of scoring every goal when someone else has a better shot. You can’t do a instrumental solo in the middle of the verse. You can’t eat all of the chocolate cake for the family party. You can’t do any of these things and still be working for the good of the group. Yeah, I get it, but still NO “I” in team? NONE? I have a problem with it. Well, I have a couple of problems with it. Continue reading → There Are Many I’s in Team

I Know You’re In There

It is so so so doggone easy to get into a habit.

A habit of turning on the radio or TV when you get in the car or enter a certain room;

A habit of leaving a dirty dish on the counter instead of in the dishwasher so it can call of its friends to join it over time as others see what a good idea you’ve had;

A habit of waiting for a break in the conversation to give your response;

A habit of making sure everyone else has clean underwear without checking your own drawers (see what I did there… drawers… sometimes I crack myself up);

A habit of saying: “No, it’s fine, I’ll get [do, make, clean, carry, fix] it”;

A habit of thinking: “I’ll do that as soon as _______”;

A habit of caring for others instead of yourself;

A habit of ALWAYS thinking;

A habit of filling up all of the spaces with information, sounds, stories, words, entertainment;

slide1A habit of being the last in line;

A habit of going to bed last and getting up first;

A habit of saying yes when you mean no;

A habit of eating the leftovers nobody else wants;

A habit of carrying all of the bags in at the same time rather than asking for help;

A habit of giving up before it actually becomes an argument;

A habit of dressing for function not form and assuming you could never have both;

A habit of being satisfied with not bad;

A habit of shrinking when the voices get loud;

A habit of hiding when it’s time to dance.

I implore you, do something different. The world needs you at your real size, at full volume, on the dance floor, on the street, at the podium, at the lectern, on the phone call, in the studio, at the microphone, on the bullhorn, at your laptop doing YOUR thing. There is nobody else like you. We need what you have inside. If you don’t bring it, where on earth will we get it? Do something different. See how that feels. Call me and tell me about it, put it on my FB page, or tell me why you think you can’t 240-367-9730. I can help.

Overthinking Joy to Death

Something really weird is going on.

As context: I have a tendency, on average and below average days, toward overthinking things. I have an idea about changing something, say scheduling a trip to visit a friend. I’ll start by gathering some info (my M.O.) and then I think, and think, and think, and think, and often I think about whether or not I SHOULD do it (I keep encountering the role this word has played in my life) for long enough to either lose interest or be distracted by some more pressing concern, like what I ‘m going to make for dinner, or why my calendar is blowing up. I overthink my intuitive urges to death.

slide2Right now, though? I assume it’s because I don’t have the emotional energy for the overthinking part, but maybe it’s because I’ve unchosen SHOULD for 2017. Either way I just don’t seem to be going there in the same way. There’s been a lot more action, albeit it slow and gentle. I have a notion about something and maybe I gather some info, but mostly I do something about it. And you know what? Things are SO much better. Even in this time of sloth paced engagement, I am making more important strides than I have in months. I feel more able to see a desirable path in front of me. I am more clear about what needs to happen next and I’m more willing to see where that leads. And all of THAT is adding the hope and joy that I need to weather this loss. Continue reading → Overthinking Joy to Death

When Is It Good Enough?

My friend and I were walking back from the bus stop this morning, lamenting what we still had left to do before the kids return from their last day before the break. I shared that I was almost done getting presents. She pointed out that I had said I was done a couple of days ago…. and I did. And I thought I was. And then I entered the spin zone.

slide1“Maybe that’s not the right gift for her.” “Maybe that won’t actually fit him.” “What if … what if… what if….”  I used to make fun of my mother for this very thing. “Mom, it will all be fine. Everyone will love it. Stop fussing.” I had no idea. As my friend and I talked, she wisely said, “You know you’re never really done,” meaning there’s always one more thing you COULD do if you thought about it. I said, “You’re right. Maybe we should just decide to be done right now.” We laughed, and thought that was a good idea, and then returned to our own homes where we could choose not follow that advice for the rest of the day. But maybe it really is that simple. Maybe it’s as simple as deciding it IS good enough. Continue reading → When Is It Good Enough?

A Little More Should-ing

So this word has just been top of mind for me lately, and I think it’s because this word has governed a good bit of my life. Should. I imagine there are people out there who think that’s probably good. It’s valuable to know what your obligations are and to follow through on them. After all, if we didn’t have a good sense of “should,” what would we ever get done? Given Western culture, I think this is a reasonable line of thought, and it’s one I subscribed to unconsciously and probably consciously for most of my life.

slide2It turns out however, that this notion of needing to “should” ourselves into productivity may be inaccurate. The interesting thing that I’m finding in my life is that when I ignore or re-route my extremely well-developed sense of “should,” I get a lot more done, and more importantly, it’s all the best stuff. Strangely enough I don’t turn into some hedonistic miscreant without my long list of shoulds. That’s what we picture right? Without our obligations, without the tethers, without this burdensome sense of what we ought to do in order to be a good parent, a good citizen, a good employee, heck a good person – what ever would we be?! Continue reading → A Little More Should-ing

A Parade of Shoulds

As the end of the year draws near, many people become reflective. We think about what we’ve accomplished (maybe), and we definitely think about what we have not done (how is this year OVER already?!). This bears some similarity to the effect that adult birthdays sometimes have as we get firmly into middle age. We think about all the things we thought we’d have sorted out by now. We think of all the things we thought we would have accomplished by now. At the end of the year we think of all the resolutions and self-promises we made at the beginning of the year that perhaps we lost track of. I sometimes wonder if the absolute frenzy over the winter holidays is really just an attempt to avoid facing all of that (Holy Crap it’s going to be 2017): the parade of shoulds.

I should have done this; I should have done that. I SHOULD be doing all kinds of things that I’m not currently doing. In order to meet my full potential, I definitely SHOULD… The thing about should-ing yourself is that it really seems to build on itself, especially if the should you think of first is something you really don’t want to do. I SHOULD make a plan for what we’re going to eat all week during the weekend so I’m never caught flatfooted during the week. I REALLY don’t like doing that, so I can quickly come up with all kinds of other shoulds and sort of rifle through them until I find one I can and am willing to do. The problem is the rifling through generates a big parade of shoulds. Now when I say parade, you might be thinking of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade or some other joyful parade with marching bands, floats, children singing in choirs and, some local hero or celebrity. A parade of shoulds is NOTHING like that parade. Continue reading → A Parade of Shoulds

Are You Just Killing Time?

I was recently talking to a super smart coach friend and we were chewing on the idea of bringing more joy and pleasure into our lives. Worthwhile, right? Who doesn’t want more joy and pleasure? Hang on kids, because any minute there’s going to be all kinds of decorations telling you to get your joy on.

As we talked it became pretty clear to me that while I do have a lot of joy in my life, I’m a bit stingy with myself when it comes to joy and pleasure. Productivity? Now THAT’s a measure I can get behind, but joy and pleasure… that’s not a yardstick this girl’s history really supports. As we talked about the time of day when I have the biggest (read kid-free) opportunity to choose to do something for joy or pleasure, I quickly began giving reasons why I can’t do the things I’d like to do. Continue reading → Are You Just Killing Time?