Wednesday, 28 October 2015
The first time I realised the power of performing was when I was in the first grade.
My class had been scheduled to go to the Egypt exhibit for a field trip. We had been instructed the Friday before to dress-up in "Egyptian style" costumes to get into the spirit for our class trip. Unfortunately we were told this information on the Friday and by the time Monday rolled around most of the kids in my class had forgotten to tell their parents.
After all, we were only little kids and we couldn't always be trusted to remember dates and details.
Except for me.
I woke up early on Monday morning and had my mom help me put on eyeliner and lip stick, and wrap me in a Cleopatra inspired sheet. I felt amazing.
I arrived at school and quickly discovered that despite our previous instructions the Friday before, only two other kids in my class had dressed up. And neither of them had gone "all-out" like me.
I stood in front of my class dressed like a mini-Cleopatra while everyone else in my grade sported their Gap and American Eagle outfits. I was shocked.
Let me be clear that I was quite shy when I was young. Like Painfully shy. Like have-your-brother-make-your-friends-for-you-because-you-were-afraid-to-talk kind of shy. So the thought of standing out in any way was horrific to me.
This situation could have gone really horribly for my six year old self. However for some reason, on this day, I felt amazing. I loved Egypt. I loved field trips. And I lovvvvvved dressing up. So I took my new spotlight in stride.
And you know what? The kids in my class were obsessed with my bold new look!
"uh, Yes" I replied.
"You look so pretty! Oh no, I forgot to dress up."
"That's okay" I smiled sweetly.
"You can be our Queen for the day."
We sort of forget that Cleopatra was a Pharaoh and not a queen but whatever. We were only six.
And so my reign started. I was in charge. I got to pick the music we listened to on the bus. The other kids brought me my tray of food at lunch to my "queenly" table. Everyone called me "Cleopatra." I even had the option of throwing one of my classmates into a sarcophagus when were playing in the kids area-which, being the loving and kind-hearted Cleopatra that I was, I declined. Much to the relief of my classmate Patrick.
You're welcome Patrick.
And for the first time in my life, this kind of attention didn't feel so bad. I realised that standing out wasn't always a negative thing. That I could talk and be seen and it was okay. I wasn't going to be shunned. People even listened. By pretending to be someone who was powerful and confident, it helped me, the shy kid who never talked, become brave.
I went home that night and told my mom, "I had the best day ever."
And when I get asked as a 26 year old woman why I do what I do, I think of this moment. My day as Cleopatra made me realise, consciously or not, the power in playing pretend. In dressing up. In believing you could be an even more amazing version of yourself.
I still think about that field trip to this day. It's helped me on Job interviews, at special events and even on-stage. Whenever I'm nervous, I remember my sassy six-year-old self feeling so beautiful in my Cleopatra get-up. I am confident. I am in charge. Even if at the end of the day all I'm really doing is acting the part.
So thank you to Cleopatra for this wonderful lesson which has truly solidified my ability to rock a toga and fierce eye-liner and be a bad ass boss. And thank you for all the times in my childhood and adult life where I have been able to play pretend. It has helped me create a version of myself that I am truly proud of.
Wednesday, 14 October 2015
Today's theme is carving out some space for the things that you love.
Since returning to Toronto, I have flung myself into old patterns of work, work, work which is not necessarily a bad thing. It's just a thing. Old belief systems mixed with perfectionism mixed with who the hell knows. But enough with self-analysis.
It's amazing how much you can think you have grown-just to find yourself falling back into the same old patterns.
I've grown! I've changed! I swear...
Oh Life. You tricky vixen.
However, I am trying to remind myself that making the same choices is not necessarily the issue. Not realizing you're making the same choices IS the issue. Because if you don't know you're doing something, you can't change it.
This brings me to my topic of today: Consciousness.
How many times have you thought to yourself "I will never do that again" only to find yourself doing the exact same behaviour well...again. And then again. And maybe again, just for fun.
If you're anything like me, it might be often. Don't worry. It's cool. We're human. Sometimes it takes a few tries. Or many tries.
Our patterning is not always a bad thing. It adds comfort and stability and a sense of security to our lives that makes us feel we have some sort of control.
On the flip side, It can also trap us into repeating the same situations over and over again.
So what is the solution? The only alternative I can see working is being conscious and checking-in with yourself. Is this making me happy? If yes, keep going. If no, then well...change your behaviour or change your situation.
Easier said then done? Maybe.
Our patterning can be difficult to break and it can make us feel like we are destined to make the same "mistakes" or have the same thoughts again and again.
I, for one, have been neglecting my blog which makes me sad. I like the check-in and the structure of it. But sometimes I'm running around so much I don't have the time to sit down and breathe and think what is it that I'd like to say. So it drifts away week after week and then it gets so far off that I lose momentum.
So here is me recommitting to myself. I know, I know. I have been neglecting you but I promise to try to do better.
I find it boils down to me saying, "I'm important. How can I treat myself the best way possible?" And do it.
Do less of what stresses you out. Do more of what brings a freaking smile to your face.
The same can be said for other elements of life. Work, relationships, friendships, etc. It's a balancing act. Of time to be selfish and time to give back to the people that you love.
So in the spirit of Halloween, I propose the practise of "carving" out some time. AHAHAHAH! Carving? Like a pumpkin...eeep. BAD Joke. This is what happens when you leave your writing for a while.
A side effect of not writing is bad jokes.
So on this Wednesday, I'd like to wish you a little time to do the things that make you happy. To be exactly where you are and think "I can't do it perfectly but I can slowly make adjustments every day to my life." You can change things. If you want.
I, in turn, will also practise this. Thanks for listening. Have a beautiful day.
Have you ever experienced repeating your patterns? If so, I'd love to hear from you. For more info about Laurel's upcoming shows and workshops, check out laurelbradycreations.com!