When I first laid eyes on this dress—one of forty haute couture ensembles from the 1960’s to the 2000’s, featured in the Ebony Fashion Fair exhibit—I laughed out loud at the sheer audacity of the design.
Some of the looks were lavish, like the floor-length coat made of multicolored strips of mink. Others were slyly humorous: a slinky navy blue floor-length gown with silvery beads of “water” cascading down the back from a beaded shower head. And some were simply outrageous, like this beaded explosion.
Some of the designers were already famous. Others were unknown at the time. But they all had one thing in common: they clearly weren’t afraid to express themselves in public. Or if they were, they had overcome their fear with flying colors.
Inspired by audacity
I had expected to enjoy this show. I sewed many of my own clothes when I was younger, and I love textiles, embroidery, and unusual colors and designs. But I came out of the gallery so energized that I ended up spending an entire Focusing session exploring it.
I discovered that this unapologetically flamboyant, extravagant outpouring from others had reassured and inspired the creator in me.
The fact is, I’ve always felt ambivalent being creative in public. In my orchestra playing career, the internal conflict between the “wanting to express” and the “wanting to stay backstage” caused palpable tension in my body before concerts. With writing, the tension is subtler, but it is still there.
Why does hitting the “send” button feel so vulnerable?
I know I’m not the only sensitive person who feels this way. For one thing, we try so hard to think through every possible consequence of anything we do. Once you create something or say something in public, you can’t have it back. There is simply no way to predict what will happen. It’s a big unknown.
That includes the reality that every time I “put myself out there” I might bother someone, bore them, or even piss them off. I know I have no control over other people or their reactions. But like many sensitive people, I struggle not to take others’ critical or upset reactions personally.
On top of that, by the time I’ve pondered and clarified an idea enough to share it, I start to question its value. I re-read it and think, “Well, of course! That’s obvious!” Then I get confused about whether to share it: will I insult other people’s intelligence? Will I get a Homer Simpson “DUH!” in my blog comments?!
But not to hit “send…”
That’s much worse. I’ve tried putting my creative side in the closet. But once the short-term relief wears off, I realize I’d rather risk criticism than feel dead like that. It feels terrible enough to get me back “out there” again.
So here’s to the outrageous visionaries who inspire people like me to venture back into their personal “audacity zone,” whatever that looks like. This changes my feelings about Lady Gaga. I’ll never make fun of her raw meat dress again.
Thank you, Emily, for sharing your vulnerability. I feel that every time we open ourselves and share what is deep and true for us, in whatever form it comes, it is a great gift we offer to the world.
I know well what it feels like to have something that’s wanting to be expressed and the sometimes terrifying and paralyzing fear that arises about expressing it. Most of my life I have been in a state of fear of other people’s reactions to me and I became a people pleaser who would do anything to avoid conflict.
Since the process of Inner Relationship Focusing has come into my life, all of that and so much more has changed for me. I feel like this process has brought (and continues to bring) me home to myself. I now have a deep, unshakeable sense of self worth and trust and there is no longer any fear within me of being adversely affected by other people’s reactions to me or anything I share.
When I feel something in me that is needing to be shared, I take a lot of time to sense into it from this place of Presence to discover what it is, how it’s wanting to be expressed and who it’s wanting to be shared with. And I know that whatever arises from this place of Presence will be offered with great compassion and care for all.
Knowing that what I’m sharing comes from a deep and true place within me brings a kind of peace for me. I can then hit “send” and release it with a sense of inner peace and trust that no matter how my sharing is received, my foundation of inner strength, self-worth and deep compassion will not be shaken.
In celebration of all that is deep and true within each of us and of that beautiful, courageous life force within us that helps us share ourselves and our gifts with the world.
Peace and bright Blessings to all,
Rainbow, thank you for sharing so specifically about the way you sense and take your time to discover what wants to be expressed and who it’s wanting to be shared with. Your comments helped me perceive more clearly that that is indeed the place from which I write (from a place of “what wants to be said?”) …and at the same time, there is something in me that still fears hitting “send.” Perhaps this will fade with time…in fact I’m realizing it has already or I would not be sending out an article each week at all:) It is encouraging to know that you have completely shifted that old way of being in yourself.