Authenticity is a rare creature, only poking its head out when it deems it safe enough to emerge from the cocoon of your soul. Unfortunately, something usually comes along to send authenticity scurrying back down to the depths to hide again. Authenticity is easily frightened. There is a safety in conforming, in not being vulnerable. The hard edge and protective layers we shroud ourselves in for protection, actually wind up doing more harm than good. There comes a time when we feel trapped, helpless and shame from conforming and not being our true selves. We get stuck in this loop not knowing how to escape – because again, vulnerability is unthinkable. Pulling yourself in so many different directions you don’t know what is up, down, left or right any longer. You’re saying one thing, but thinking another and in constant fear you will be found to be a fraud, which leads to the circle of shame. The funny thing is, trying to fit in and being “societally acceptable” does not lead to anything but the shame circle. People won’t like you better or trust you more, and even if they did, are those the type of people you want in your life anyway?
Being authentic means being in complete alignment with yourself. Your head, heart, body and soul. Once you move past the fear of “will they like me” you will be able to let your vulnerability out and people will love you for you.
So how can we become more authentic in our everyday lives?
- Love yourself first. Being kind to yourself and acknowledging who you truly are is the first step towards being authentic. If you hate something about yourself, (or tell yourself you do even if you don’t deep down) how will you be able to recognize when other people are being kind or loving? Be proud of who you are, portray that image to the world, and the world will follow suit.
- Be courageous. Being yourself is a scary prospect, but acknowledging the fear and still moving past it is courageous. Empower yourself to set your own rules and live the way you want to. Want to dye your hair purple? Do it! As long as you aren't actively trying to harm someone else or yourself in the process go for it!
- Trust yourself. Paying attention to your gut feelings and instincts telling you when you are being inauthentic. You’ll know when you are putting a mask on and when you are being genuine. Becoming mindful to when we are being inauthentic takes practice. It is so easy to slip on the societal masks of “proper” behavior sometimes we don’t even realize we are wearing one. Being mindful to what situations we put our masks on for, will help us in future situations to be authentically ourselves.
- Connect with your values. Learning to recognize when your actions do not line up with your values helps you build the life you desire. You aren’t just talking the talk, you are walking the walk and aligning your entire being.
In honor of David Bowie and the authentic life he lead, I dare each of you to live more courageously, more authentically every day. Farewell my Goblin King, for you rest among the stars now.
I don’t ever necessarily mean to procrastinate (although to be honest there are times I do it on purpose!), it’s something that seems to just happen naturally. I’m going to get on the internet and look something up, then 2 hours later I’ve been sucked into a black hole of Pinterest and research on organization that I will never ever put into place. Or I’ll start watching Netflix and 6 episodes of a new show later I emerge from the fog and realize I’ve wasted my entire day.
Recently I was watching Labyrinth for the 50 millionth time and as I became mesmerized by David Bowie and his package, again!, the thought popped into my head that his package is not unlike what procrastination has to offer. Now I’m not talking about his generous, albeit spectacular, codpiece. The package I’m referring to is his offer to Sarah, his effort to seduce her.
|Yes, yes I do.|
Instead we submit to his awe inspiring, glitter fueled, synthesized proclamations of love and obsession until one day we wake up and find ourselves with a back full of worldly possessions we could care less about and have lost sight of what we find important. As our world falls down around us, we try and break free – try to shatter the illusions we have created, or have let other create for us, hoping we don’t become battle weary as we fight our way through untold dangers and unnumbered hardships. Every day we fight and strive until finally we see the light and reach the center thinking we are home free – only to be faced with his package once again.
This time however, we are prepared. Today we fought his package and were not seduced – even though we really and truly wanted him to rule us. We remembered he has no power over us, but what will tomorrow bring? More than likely we will feel the urge to run away from our responsibilities and gifts and give him the baby. We must fight that urge and be able to say the right words to resist him and all he offers. We can overcome his package – procrastination has no power over us - we had the power all along.
Now that we know we have the power, what can help keep us on track?
- Break your task down into smaller pieces, a.k.a. efficient planning. The larger goal often becomes overwhelming, but by breaking it down into small manageable chunks you are more likely to focus and get started. Do not get pulled into the non-effective planning where you give a large goal, but no actual action steps. David Bowie’s Package, loves vague goals. He is warded off by actionable steps.
- Vague: I want to lose weight
- Efficient: I want to lose 10 lbs. in the next 8 weeks. I will determine my total calories expended per day based on the TDEE method, resolve to cut my calories by 20% per day and will use a tracking app to make sure I am eating within my calorie goal.
- Find your tribe. Connect with a group of like-minded individuals, either online or in person, and set a time to meet and discuss your goals, progress, etc. Accountability is a powerful tool.
- Don’t get distracted by shiny objects. The internet is a great way to waste a bunch of time, so is TV, or anything else that takes your focus away from what you set out to do. Don’t fall into the internet’s oubliette and become trapped! Use productivity tools if you must that will block the internet – or better yet, unplug your modem!
- When in doubt, dance it out. Movement gets the juices flowing so crank up the Magic Dance and get your “want to” going!
- Race against the clock. Set a timer for 10 minutes (or 13 hours) and see what happens. Anyone can spare 10 minutes to work on a piece of their goal, and that 10 minutes may turn into 13 hours once you get going!
What it boils down to though is fear. We are so afraid to take the first step because we fear failure, or
even success that it freezes us. Recognizing the fear is the first step, moving past it is hard, and doesn’t seem to get any easier, but it is possible.
Remember, things are not always what they seem and David Bowie’s package will show up at every turn to try and derail us, don’t give up and remember as tempting as he may be in his splendor, he has no power over you.
The trick is to acknowledge those feelings, yet not dwell. If you don't acknowledge and instead try and ignore is when they get angry, and loud. They start shouting at you until finally you snap and can't take it anymore.
Not the real Amanda Palmer mind you, but the Amanda Palmer I dreamt about last night. I’ve been reading, devouring really, Amanda’s book The Art of Asking the past week and she is quickly becoming my art idol. Plus she’s married to Neil Gaiman so there’s that.
I have these pink Gripfast steel toed most awesome boots in the world I recently bought from a friend. In my dream Amanda came up to me and offered to buy them from me for $100. When I told her no, she upped the offer to $1,000. I still told her no. She looked at me and said, but your daughter needs braces and your plumbing needs to be fixed, why would you turn down that kind of money?
Dream me, looks at her and says you don’t understand. These boots represent so much more than $1,000 could buy. You see every day I go to a day job I abso-fucking-lutley cannot stand because I have bills to pay (like aforementioned braces and plumbing and student loans I swear seem like will never be paid off!) and yet, in the back of my mind, when I’m in my work clothes to go to my boring accounting job, I think, ah but I have the most awesome pink boots in the world at home, the real me, the me who doesn’t have to put on a mask and pretend to be someone I’m not to make a paycheck.
The artist me who will one day have a large enough tribe to quit my day job. Those boots represent my hope and the sliver of the real me I have to hold onto every day. Even though I’m not wearing them at work, I can remember when I’m walking down the beige halls, looking at the people in the gray and tan work wear, and think to myself la la la, I may be conforming on the outside but on the inside I’m wearing pink motherfucking combat boots and I am awesome.
Dinah dear where is Alice? It is such a wonderful day for tea!
then you shouldn't talk, said the Hatter.”
Dinah, did you hear that? It sounded like thunder. I do hope our day is not ruined.
|And apparently you turn into a doll when entering Wonderland. Pretty weird huh|
Zombies always make the best fertilizer.
And so ends our tale of Alice in Zombieland.
Be careful fellow party goers, you never know when a Jaberwock is lurking around the corner.
I hope you enjoyed my tea party! Thank you for visiting!
p.s. The zombie dolls were handmade by me, (the Red Queen is a Living Dead Doll - I did not make her!)
The dolls will be for sale, but may not be up in my online shop until after a show I'm getting ready for.
I will also have some postcards of the Jaberwock available soon!
p.p.s A big thank you to my awesome husband, delightful niece and crazy daughter for being a good sports about playing dress up when I have a crazy whim!
p.p.s. Combing Alice and Zombies was a no brainer (ha!) for me. I haven't seen it done before, so if some hollywood bigwig sees this and steals it - well you saw it here first! (or not, I didn't go searching the net to see if had been done before!!)
My inspiration for the song challenge came from Jill Tracy. Her music has the ability to create such emotion from her listeners I knew she was the artist I had to use. I decided to use her song "Haunted by the Thought of You", which I believe explores the theme of longing for someone almost to the point of obsession.
Last year around this time (December actually) I was browsing the Etsy Forums and came across a post that made me stop and think. I had been struggling with finding my identity as an artist (and still do everyday!) so this post really hit home for me.
posted a topic titled
. She relates a conversation between her and an artist friend.
I am still fairly new to this whole world of creating and selling said creations. Don't get me wrong.I am having a great time learning how to run my little shop, take photos, network, show in galleries, etc. I did feel a bit overwhelmed yesterday, so I went to visit an artist friend of mine. The business side of this process has really been a downer and I needed David to cheer me up. He is a very successful ceramic artist, but kind of a hermit. I arrived at his home studio where he was already sipping sangria at 10am and glazing a stunning sculpture piece. He is a shy man, who works in his studio, gardens, goes for hikes, and has a very small circle of friends. No website, no Twitter, no Facebook, no cell phone! I pointed these facts out to him and asked him how he promotes himself without these things, yet still has top galleries showing his work, collectors, television features, and consistent sales. He pointed out to me that he also has, a modest house, a used car, and a simple life.
David: "If I wanted to be rich, I made a poor career choice. I do my work, put it in a few places and let it be. It takes time."
Me: "What if you don't want to be rich, but you want to be able to live and do what you love, but there is so much competition out there. I feel like such a small fish in this huge pond. I'm afraid I will never be seen. I haven't even sold anything yet during this Christmas rush. I've hardly sold anything period!"
David: "Do the work, stay out of the results"
Me: "What the heck does that mean?"
David:" You are a small fish, deal with it. Just do your work, do it well and with integrity. Do the work to please yourself and maybe the rest will come, maybe not. Maybe you always drive a used car. Maybe you don't sell and have to work two jobs, so what! You work just to sell...you kill the spirit!"
Me: "But if I don't sell my work, I don't feel like I can call myself an artist."
David: "What would you say if I told you, You are not a woman?"
Me: "I would beg to differ."
David: " What would you say if I told you, You are not an artist?"
Me: "I would probably be hurt."
David: "There is your problem! Fact...you are a woman, yes? To say different would be laughable. You would laugh at my stupidity to say otherwise! Yet I say you are not an artist and it hurts you because you don't believe it is fact! If you don't believe how will anyone else believe? You are too worried about results! Do the work little fish."
I poured myself a large glass of sangria."
I printed this conversation out and read it at least once a week to remind myself the work itself is what is important - not the results. Of course I wish I made something perfect, breathtaking, etc each and every time I created something, but I know that is not possible. It's not possible for anyone! We all have struggles and frustrations in our process. It helps knowing that other people are in the same boat!