I’ve had this word on repeat over the past week or so.
Not even “release.”
It seems to work in a completely different way than the rest. Like an authority figure that immediately gets your respect and attention. My body understands it.
If you’ve been reading recently I think you’ll know that I’ve been having some struggles with my anxiety. If I take you back to before Tuesday’s post, I had been mentioning this surge of physical energy I had been feeling. This increased “hype.” It became more unnerving as the days went on and I was continuously unable to get any sort of grounding or grasp on my feelings. I had become completely hardened. Physically and mentally.
Physically I was tense, my body felt as if I was running on four cups of coffee. Mentally… I was cut off from any sort of emotions. Though of course, because I was numb and fleeting through life at a hundred miles an hour, I didn’t even notice. It felt like I was speedily skimming over top of some surface, not letting myself look down for even a moment to see the ground my feet were not touching.
I had a chronic knot in my abdomen. I’ve written about this before. It’s what happens to me when I feel any sort of stress or anxiety – it seems to go straight to my stomach. I’ve been reading more about it and articles such as this and this and resources like this and this are helping me understand that its not just all in my head.
But understanding doesn’t always make it better. Its uncomfortable and frustrating and affects me daily.
So last week, when the running and skimming and knot in my stomach became all too much, I broke down. I just exploded and didn’t want to hold it together any longer.
After a cry, and then a long meditation focusing on softening this knot in my belly (literally telling it “soften… soften…”) inviting it to let go, and trying to listen really hard to what it was trying to tell me…
I realized what it was trying to tell me was that I was scared.
I was so bloody scared.
It wasnt caffeine giving me the hype. It wasnt food or exercise. It was me pushing down feelings I didnt want to feel.
Once I let myself stop pushing them down, the knot in my stomach went away.
The crappy audition I had last week only increased this fear twisting and turning inside me, as it reminded me how damn hard life is going to be after I graduate as I try to make my way as an actor. It reminded me that as much as you dream and as much as you may see yourself as capable when in the confines of your own studio or practice room, there are a million others out there who may not think or see the same things as you do (FYI – I will not know the results of the big audition I talked about here until the end of April, as I presume. So that just remains an agonizing waiting game).
I wouldn’t be so scared if this was my first go round. When I graduated college, I was so naive. I was passionate, but I hid any feelings of fear deep underground and didn’t let myself feel anything of the sort. The difference between then and now was that I never let myself feel them. I didn’t know this is what was even happening. I simply covered it all up by saying, “meh its okay, there are other things I want to do anyways.” or “maybe this isn’t what I want to do for a living after all…”
I’m scared because I know what happened then. I pushed down all these feelings and instead turned to the numbness of an eating disorder. I got sick and lost myself and my dream, entirely. So the fact that I am about to enter the exact same scenario… with all the same triggers and tempting pulls in front of me again…. its like a blockbuster sized deja view.
But now, since I’ve been there and elsewhere and now back again, I know this is the only thing I want to do. Feeling this level of desire, and being reminded of the very possibility that I may not be given the chance to do it… now that’s terrifying.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. Bodies are amazing. They will not ignore something they know is important to us. They will hold on to it until we get its message to pay attention. And… its okay to let go and listen.Fear is what paralyzes us. Where can you soften? #fear #soften #dreams #selfcare #grace Click To Tweet
Staying grounded and confident is going to be absolute priority as I go after my dream. Especially in this next couple of months, as I transition from training to real life and face a lot of changes and discomfort, I may need some extra help to keep this sensitivity of mine from getting too triggered. And yes, I do have a game plan.
My point to all this is…. it is fear that paralyses us.
Fear hardens us. It masks itself as that urge we feel to “distract distract distract” and make to do lists and run around with our coffee cups. We cease up and try to protect ourselves by ensuring we have no open space to be alone with our thoughts. But this does us no good. It keeps us in robot land, flittering above the surface not feeling or seeing anything around us. To let those feelings through, we must let ourselves feel them.
So to do that, I am repeating
Daily. Many times a day if I have to.
To remind myself to stop holding.
To jump into the scary place of vulnerability and feel what I’m feeling.
Then I can see clearer. Feel my feet on the ground. And then I can go out. More fierce than ever.
Where in your life do you think you can soften?
Are you aware of when you distract yourself from feeling an emotion?
If you are feeling any sort of fear right now… of the unknown, of things not working out as you planned… give yourself the grace to feel what you have to feel. You’re not alone.