The air in the studio was buzzing with young girl energy, literally and figuratively. We’d come to watch our 8 year old granddaughter participate in one of her many interests, dance. Observing the 8 and 9 year old girls interact and practice was energizing in itself. The enthusiasm, the openness, the joy not only made me smile but sent me down nostalgia lane. I tried to remember when I’d last felt the freedom I saw exhibited all around me. Here were young girls who haven’t stopped being who they are yet. They haven’t stopped believing they can do anything they dream of. They haven’t started comparing themselves to the girl next to them. You know, the one with perfect curls, or perfect abs, or the one who does perfect cartwheels. They haven’t started thinking there’s something lacking in them or continually adding to the list of things they can’t do or aren’t.
Like me. I’m deathly afraid to try the social painting party fad. I’d describe my painting ability as that of a 6 year old. I’m absolutely positive that if I attended a Painting With a Twist party, it would not matter how much wine I consumed, I would still be painfully aware that my painting looked like a first grader had done it and I’d be so embarrassed! Sitting in the dance studio I began to wonder exactly when I began to measure my artistic ability against that of others, to the point where I could not even have fun with it. When did I begin to judge my own creative expression as good or bad ? When did I begin to worry what others thought of my art? When did I stop dancing, singing, drawing and painting because of what others might think of me?
I was lucky enough to take a class recently with an author I both admire and adore, Lidia Yuknavitch. It happened to be Easter weekend and she talked about resurrection and how that time of year was an annual time of rebirth for her personally, a time for taking inventory and letting go of that which no longer served her, of both growing and shedding the chrysalis. That really resonated with me, as I feel I’m at a time in my life where my caterpillar body is itching for its next phase. It’s not a mid-life crisis or anything close to it. I don’t want to run away from the wonderful life I have. I’m not channeling Thelma or Louise. I just want to be the girl I once was again.
The girl I was before-
before I was “that girl”, or the “good girl”, (oh wait- I was never that)
the “bad girl”, or the “weird girl”,
before I was the girl I became when I was “his girl”, or “his girl”, or “his girl”,
the girl who couldn’t or the girl who didn’t try,
the girl who failed, the “different girl”,
the girl who was too tall, too big, too quiet, too much,
the girl who did “that”,
the girl who can’t paint.
I just want to be that little girl who loves her body again,
who hums and sings, who dances without a thought about who’s listening,
the little girl who jumps right in,
gives it a shot,
laughs when she falls
and tries again and
again and again.
I’m intelligent enough to know that while the media and the “world” has certainly played a part in the suppression of that little girl, it’s not anyone else’s fault that she’s been lost for so long, it’s solely my own. And it’s solely me who can change that. So “what now ?”, as another adored writer/yogi/incredible human (non-asshole) being, Jennifer Pastiloff would say. What am I going to do with this desire?
Have a painting party, what else?
My calendar message this morning told me it was time! “If not now, when?”
Look for your invitation.
Peace and Love