Doubts. Do you have them? I have a lot. Up until now I’ve dealt with them mostly in my familiar, unaware way which is to give in to them, to believe their message. I’m noticing that it’s happening less often these days. It’s not that I have less doubts but I’m more able to see them for what they are: not trusting my thinking as a woman. It helps not to blame myself to know that this is something that women tend to do a lot, that it’s actually part of the way we were socialized and how we internalized sexism. We are hurt around our minds and around our thinking. How often do we have a strong knowing that we don’t act on because we don’t trust it?
Last week I was on my way to teach in a new place. I prepared my playlist like I usually do but I kept feeling like something is not right: it’s too long, it’s too short, etc. etc. I was particularly afraid that if something doesn’t work, I’ll freeze and I won’t be able to think on my feet 🙂
After stressing about it and trying to reach for my thinking for the whole weekend it dawned on me in one moment of clarity, just before class was about to start (thank God!), that feeling like I don’t know what I’m doing is just a feeling and that it has no connection to reality whatsoever. After all, how many times have I done this already? The fear of freezing is just a fear because I know that I know what I know and that past experience indicates that I am capable of thinking freshly when the situation requires going with the flow. And lastly, that it actually makes sense that I feel like there’s no space for my own mind particularly on the weekend when my male-only home is filled with male energy.
This quick reality check turned everything around and I was able to teach in a way that nobody was able to notice that I’ve ever had a single doubt in my entire life. What is really exciting though is that these days I’m doing something new with my doubts, in addition to all the emotional work I’m used to doing. I’m creating a dance piece about them which you’ll probably hear more about.
I love the process of thinking about an idea, exploring it in movement and then putting something together that has meaning. It’s fun to figure out how to use dance, not just as an abstraction, that is, movement for the sake of movement, but rather as an expression of a particular concept. In the piece I’m creating, I’m presenting my challenge, which is facing constant doubt as a woman and I go through a similar transformation that I just told you about in the previous paragraph, only this time through dance.
There’s something deeply healing and satisfying about it and I feel like a whole new world of possibilities is opening up. It seems to me that dancing about my doubts is allowing me to embrace them more. I’m starting to develop a more positive relationship with them, as if they are a dear friend that is struggling and needs a lot of compassion and support. Ironically, as I witness my mind come up with new ideas around creating a dance about my doubts, my notion that my mind is totally trustworthy is being strengthened. I’m learning how powerful art making can be in helping us use our minds more fully and how it counteracts any feelings of powerlessness and inadequateness.