Oh the joys of being triggered! I had the excellent opportunity to clean some really old wounds this past season as my oil came rising to the surface. Typically, as this happens, I begin to celebrate and say Yes! A worthy obstacle you are! However, this recent experience was not quite that. It started with a Facebook post about the new release of Disney’s Beauty and the Beast, something not too controversial in and of itself. I was curious at first about the original poster’s viewpoint and shared my own. . .and then it digressed. Soon, I had shared my online experience offline with a few close friends and my partner. They had all said pretty much the same thing (stay far away and don’t touch the post any further—it’s not worth it) and I had decided to sleep on it and see where I was in the morning. I woke up in the morning and felt my skin still crawling and this insatiable need to speak my truth. I quickly drafted a response that took years of my self-righteousness and tied it up into a little bow to start public shaming this other woman about her response to me.
I felt the heat in my body. My cheeks getting flushed with rage and also the feeling of relief because I had spoken my truth and it felt good. Only it didn’t, not really. I soon received a sweet but firm message from one of my closest confidants and she invited to see what reaction I was having. I took a deep breath, thanked her for calling me in, and immediately deleted the post, hoping that no one had seen it. I also simultaneously wanted to scream at my friend “BUT IT”S NOT FAIR!” To which point, I know she would have invited me to look back at the Warrior Goddess Training teachings, which I know so intimately already.
The truth is, I got caught in a whirlwind of agreements showing up. I went back and began to track myself. In the Toltec tradition, we call it stalking. I thought back in particular to how my kitten, Daryl, likes to catch wasps and bees. He will stalk them for hours on our balcony and when the time is right—he strikes! If he misses, he just begins the process over again. So that’s what I set out to do. I went back to the original posting and what showed up when I read the comments. I felt into my body around where there may be old wounds showing up. I closed my eyes and I opened. I visualized stalking myself as a witness to the situation.
I did this over a period of a few days. I took maybe an hour a day and simply went through it over and over again with new eyes, witnessing what was showing up. Then on day three it hit me like a ton of bricks while I was rereading the Introduction to Warrior Goddess Training. I came across this quote, " I'm a woman, like you, learning, growing, laughing, and crying. I make mistakes. I step on people's toes. I get caught in fear and self-doubt. I still take things personally. Sometimes I feel invincible, sometimes I feel fragile and vulnerable. I honor and cherish all these parts of myself--even the ones I don't like so much." Then I started half laughing and crying. So, I asked myself, what is it sweetie? What's showing up. And it was my inner teenager. You know, the one that feels like the world is against her and she’ll never be understood as she just wants to show up in her goth clothes and purple hair with her book and art supplies. She’s the one who wrote that response out of hurt. She reminded me, that sometimes she wants to show others the light in the world, to open them up to the beauty that can be there--very similar to Belle actually (in the Beauty and the Beast story).
You see, so often, I've been crushed for it. Told that I'm too childish, not serious enough--that I need to grow up. Those are some deep wounds. My mother has those wounds too. She just turned 70 and I still see her struggling to dim her inner wild child fire, to hold it back so she isn't further scrutinized. It's another layer of assimilation for her as an immigrant, a woman, and converted Buddhist. But she rights me letters. She tells me that she's proud I've learned to let my light shine. She still buys me children's holiday cards because they are covered in glitter and it makes both of us happy.
So, that's where my inner teenager also reminded me of how I used to dance around the house with books and recently I've been reconnecting with my singing through chanting, daily movement through dance, and re-reading my favorite fairy tales and myths.
It wasn't that I wanted to be mean to someone else, it was that I didn't want to feel like I was being pushed down, crammed into my inauthentic box again. The one where I don't dance or sing or read what I want to read for fear that I'm not warrior enough or that I'm too girly.
The truth is, I like sparkly dresses and extravagant meals. I also like my Thai fishing pants and oversized shawls. What I've been rewiring over the last year is allowing myself to show up in the tutu and the leather boots. The bow in my hair and the hiking boots. The blending of my merdragon, pixie, unicorn, peacock warrior goddess essence. And sometimes, I feel like someone is going to come rip it away from me, so I get defensive, fearful, and vulnerable.
That is the moment when my venom comes out. It’s an area of cleaning I needed and I am so appreciative that my friend had the courage to call me in instead of calling me out (public shaming) or simply allowing it to go unchecked. That is true friendship—leaning into the discomfort and calling our friends in when they may have stumbled on their path. Not to blame, but to bring into the light. This action actually encouraged me to look beyond "I'm just standing up to a bully and I need to speak my truth" or "I'm just taking this too personally" and instead, I looked at the why--the how come.
As my oil flowed to the surface, I practiced compassion. I allowed myself to show up as I am. To express the hurt. To hold her (my inner angst teenager) as I let her know we aren't going back into the box. To continue to sing and dance and play with art and reinforce this is the new normal. This is safe. This is OK.This is the warrior goddess way. In this one situation, I both abandoned myself momentarily and was able to hold myself and bring myself back home. This path is not always sparkles and rainbows, but I like to believe that as I clean up my oil and shed the old agreements that keep me trapped on the inside, I am blossoming and growing each day into a more full version of myself that is shining and spreading glitter wherever I go. I know it doesn’t erase the darkness, but for me, it makes it a little more fun when I’m sitting in it. My prayer for each of you reading this is that you stalk yourself with compassion, grace, and little bit of sparkle along this path of the warrior goddess. It’s a much more loving experience that way.
With bright blessings,