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After what feels like forever but was actually only about 2 weeks of intense back to back everything, I fell down. I was exhausted. I was ok with that, realizing the run had been not the last two weeks, but the last 6 months coming to a head. This was a wake up call for balance.

Rest, rejuvenation and a reset were necessary to come back to my body, to quiet my mind and let my soul simmer in serenity. Being an artist and entrepreneur there is really no such thing as a “day off”. There is always something to do, be done, and plan to do. Do it more, do it better – then do it again. Recognizing I have this quality in not only my passionate profession but in my personality, illuminated a few things that needed to be addressed.

So I did what any rational self-loving person would do. I took a day off. There, there, body – no classes, rehearsals, coachings, yoga, writing, planning, shows, etc., etc. You can have a day to be still and recover. I even went for a massage… That’s where it all went side ways.

My body is an instrument and a tool. My work is physical and emotional. The mind is very powerful, but the body is also incredibly intelligent. Memories, emotion and energy get stored in the body and released at different times through different experiences. So when an already tired mind and even more tired body get together for a little R&R, things can come up and get very clear, very quickly.

The clarity often involves bringing to light what was there the whole time, but being put off for the pursuit of achievement. The Dig Deep factor – the push on and go forward mechanism. Don’t get me wrong; I live for the life I live! I fought hard to be able to do what I am doing and wouldn’t change it for the world. It’s my joy and my purpose.

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But like anything you care about that much, you can push yourself incredibly hard without nurturing the small things that come up. While too busy preparing for that next show, developing that next act, creating that next class, or growing that amazing relationship, little things like a self-care take the backseat.

A wise and talented woman I love and trust named Cass King approached me after yoga class at the VBC one morning. I was in the thick of my fog and feeling at the edge. She sat down softly beside me, so soft, in fact, I barely felt her do so. She turned and asked how I was. Not wanting to be ungrateful for all the gifts in my life, getting the work I do, or having the freedom to create openly, I admitted bravely that I was indeed exhausted.

Cass then said something so simple that resonated so incredibly clear to me it was like a horn cutting through the fog. “Your masculine energy is tired.” She paused and went on, “You need to let that feminine energy out and be felt – let it be seen and heard.”

A friend had told her the same thing once and it brought to light that energy balance comparison. It took a moment to sink in, but as she spoke about her struggles to never stop and always be creating it became all the more clear to me how I approach things. My first reaction was to fight and say “I know, but…” Instead, I let her in – I listened. I stepped away from my rational self and looked at my emotional self.

The revelations were crawling up my neck like icy fingers; fresh feelings were threatening my ocular nerves with a flood.
I love my art, why would I get tired?
I took a day off, I should be better.
I’m strong yet vulnerable, I shouldn’t feel weak.
Weak.
I turned to Cass and told her I’m not afraid to be vulnerable, but I don’t like to feel weak, or be perceived as weak.

It then dawned on me that my attachment to being strong, always together, self sufficient and proud of it were attached to the male energy she had spoken about.
To me, strength.

I then attuned to the qualities that wanted to come out – softness, nurturing, receptive, and connectedness – to an unfamiliar vulnerability, the feminine.
To me, weakness.

Now, when and why I started associating my gender with weakness is very aloof yet crystal clear. The same goes for my intense desire to go it alone. I don’t need you, and only when I want you, will I call. Warrior. I want to have the capacity to fight until the end and need nothing in return.

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The stereotypes of the “crazy emotional girl” in our society are not the best role models when trying to find your feminine voice. The gender roles put upon us to silence any uproar of seemingly irrational emotion are hard to break through. We think as modern women we are above those labels, but those labels hold the weight of centuries.

Growing up in a single parent family without a strong male presence influenced me to take on that role myself. I was blessed with a thousand lifetimes of good grace to have the mother that I do. Her strength is unfathomable. But she is no girly girl. None of the women in my family are. We are Warriors. Fighting for ourselves and each other – becoming untouchable. There is no obstacle too big, no complication too intense, and we definitely don’t need help to get there.

Being an emotionally sensitive being, I truly take time to wade into the darkness; to look into the cracks and see what’s underneath. I believe once I realize and understand something, it’s fixed. Then my feminine energy comes in and tells me to feel it. Then she tells me to feel it again, just to be sure I’ve got it. It travels up, down and through my body. It heaves, pulls, jerks and stabs. It then melts out of me like black honey burning my cheeks with tears, carving new spaces to breathe and see.

Just when you think you have reached capacity in your heart, another universe unfolds for you to explore.

“Strength to Surrender” is a term I keep up close to my heart. When this need to push through and be strong comes up, I tap into the wisdom that resonates deep with in me. Stopping to listen, the voice is always so sweet and loving, so tender and true. She is asking if I can provide love and softness to others, then why not to myself. She tells me to not fear asking for a hand. To trust when I do, those I love are going to pull me up. They are there to wipe the dirt off my knees that were skinned because I was wearing a frilly pink dress that day.

I know rationally it’s ok to ask, but the feeling of accepting the help is foreign to me. I put up the wall myself, because yes, I will be fine. But it sure feels good to have those people at your back. I also know it’s ok to wear the girly dresses sometimes because I can accessorizes them with spiked bracelets and ninja throwing stars.

We all fight an incredible battle everyday where victories are ecstatic and losses devastating. Our struggles are uniting; though each unique they share a common thread of fear and acceptance. Tapping into your vulnerability allows others to see you, to connect to you. In this life of seeking connection what better way than to let ourselves be seen.

You may need a moment to come back from that soft space; you may also need a day, week or even a month. I encourage you to take it. Our amour can be both visual and emotional, but dropping the burden and holding a strong hand does not make you weak – it makes you beautiful, and you are worthy of receiving every bit of it.

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Some inspiring videos worth watching, more than once –
Amanda Palmer and the Art of Asking 
and
Brene Brown and The Power of Venerability 

Photos used of me are shot by Ned Tobin at the Vancouver Burlesque Centre.

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