So, it’s been a tough week. I do believe I’ve hit what is called Rock Bottom. You see, I need to write. No, not just want to write, need to write. And submit. And get paid. I don’t have my husband’s cushy income to rely on anymore and suddenly, after way too long, I’m finding that I’m almost completely dependent on no one but me. And I’m scared. No, not scared. It’s more like bone-deep terror. I keep telling myself that writing is what I want to do, what I’ve always wanted to do, but somehow, it’s been hard to believe. And, shamefully, the security of a forty hour a week job shackled to a computer in a cubicle somewhere has started to sound pretty good.
And that’s just bullshit.
So, I’m not going to talk about my writing today. I’m going to celebrate the coping skill of avoidance and talk about pole-dancing instead. As it turns out, I’ve been having a problem with that, too.
Here’s the thing: I have cellulite.
I know. Shocker. I’m female and over thirteen. Cellulite is just going to happen.
And until now, I really didn’t care too much about it unless it was bathing suit season. I just never wear shorts. Never. I have a closet full of capri pants and long skirts, but no shorts or short skirts. I just don’t wear them. So, I just figured I wouldn’t wear them when I was dancing, either.
I go to class and wear my long yoga pants and a tank top and I get along just fine. Mostly. When it comes time in the class to do some of the more complicated stunts where I need skin friction, I just roll up my pants. Dorky, sure. But functional. Mostly.
Well, one of the girls I met at the studio has a professional dance troupe. (Which is pretty much the coolest thing ever.) A few weeks ago, she asked me to do a number with her dance troupe in an upcoming show. (No, I’m sorry, that’s the coolest thing ever.) She wants to do a number where the two of us will do some joint choreography and tandem stunts on the pole.
Obviously, I said, “Yes.” Actually, I think I fainted a little bit and said, “OMG! OMG!” and then began to mumble something inarticulate. (I mean, she used to dance and choreograph professionally, in L.A.)
So, we’ve been working on choreography (which is just a treat in itself) and after a while she started talking about what we should wear, which kind of came as a surprise to me because I naturally assumed that I’d be wearing the same thing I wear to class, but when I told her as much, she simply said, “Um, no.” Then she told me that she wants us to wear–get this–booty shorts.
Um, what? Booty shorts? There is no way. No way in hell. Then she tells me that since our choreography is so pretty and the song is so slow and beautiful she wants them to be sparkly. Sparkly booty shorts. I cannot express to you my horror. Sparkly booty shorts will draw people’s attention to the exact area I’ve spent a decade trying to hide.
Let the panic attack begin.
So, I’m in a store, frantically looking for anything that I could possibly wear–latex? A full-length wetsuit?–when I made my decision … (and this is probably the only thing more embarrassing than sparkly booty shorts) … I was going to back out.
There was just no way I could do this. I had my excuses all ready, “Oh, well you know, the divorce … and my biz … and I’m just so busy….” And I rationalized it by telling myself that I wasn’t chickening out or anything, I’d just back out of this one performance, and then, after I’d lost some weight and improved my skill level, well …then I’d approach her again when I’d be good enough–good enough to perform in public, skinny enough to pull off the costume, talented enough to not be self-conscious–then, and only then–would I do it.
And, I know I wasn’t going to talk about my writing, but it’s the same thing there, too, right? Everyone says that writing is hard, but really, it’s not. I know the truth. For a select few, writing is easy, effortless. And if I can just do enough self-work, if I can just get happier, wiser, more confident, more talented, more disciplined, whatever–then the writing will just flow out, beautiful and nearly perfect. Not quite perfect, obviously, but close. Even Shakespeare probably had to do a little editing. But not much, right?
Why is it that a line of bullshit like that is so much easier to believe than the simple truth that we’re all good enough, that we’re all simply magnificent?
And so, standing there in that store, with my lungs collapsing from the pain of the decision to give up the chance to dance again, I realized that she wouldn’t have asked me to dance with her if she thought I was going to embarrass her. I mean, she’s my dance instructor, so she’s seen me dance and she’s seen my body and she asked me anyway! So why, if I was good enough for her, was I not good enough for me?
I know how I look. I have some good stuff and some stuff I’d like to change. Big deal. Everyone does. And I have the choice to focus on that and tell myself the lie of what I’d need to be good enough, or I can simply choose to be good enough right now, right here, with what I’ve got.
I can look like this and dance, or look like this … and not dance.
And you know what I’m going to do every single time?
I’m going to dance.
And the writing? Well, writing is always going to be hard. It’s scary. It can also be exciting, maybe even be thrilling and fun–I sure hope so–but the scary, the unknown, will always be there.
So, I can either be scared and write. Or be scared … and not write.
I’m damn sure going to write.
I’m tired of telling myself that it’s hard. I’m tired of telling myself that I probably don’t have what it takes. I’m tired of listening to my inner critic so intently that I can’t even hear the music. I’m exhausted by it, in fact. I’m going to start telling myself another story. Does anyone else get those little Notes from the Universe? That’s what I’m using as inspiration here. Mine will go something like this:
“Greetings, Diane. This is the Universe. I just wanted to tell you something because it seems like you’ve forgotten it: writing is really pretty fun. Do you remember how much fun it was to write when you were a kid? Well, it’s still like that, and it’s still that easy. It’s a lot like dancing, and you know how much fun that is, right?
And it doesn’t have anything to do with skill or talent, really, it simply has to do with the Awesomeness of You. We call it the Pink and Silver Diane Sparkle Effect. It’s impressive.
So, just do your thing. I’ll take care of the rest. I mean, six months ago you couldn’t even envision a life where you danced every day and now look at what you’ve got going on. You’re welcome. I’ve got your back, sweetpea. I’ve got your whole Writing Life here to hand over, you just need to begin. And beginning isn’t really so hard. You’re right there. You’re already doing it. You see that, don’t you?
Just focus on having fun with it, Diane. That’s all you have to do. After all, that’s really the whole point. ”
Okay, Universe. I’ll give it a go. I’ll keep you posted.