Space.

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I was wondering what I could write about, but I was not really sure. To be honest, at this very moment I want to do lots of things: go on watching Brené Brown on creativity, going to the store and buy eggs and do creative experiments with them (and eat!) and I was toying with the idea for a new blogpost. Today was the first of the three last days of work: I have only two more holiday weeks and the restaurant I work at is open until the end of august. I only worked a few hours yesterday and having so much time to spare and so little of my holiday left I thought to make the time I still had count. I had some very profound experiences last night and today. I finished changing a dress I bought during the last holiday (Christmas +8 months ago), and I decided to just go out and dance salsa at a large Latin dance event. This morning I started watching Brené Brown on creativity and worked in the afternoon. The interesting thing of working in a kitchen and working together and in theory each preparing half of the dishes on the menu is that the orders are different each day. Yesterday only 10 % of the orders were for me, whereas today it was the other way around. So I was working ‘hard’ preparing dishes, prepping and doing the dishes when necessary. And I LOVE worki
ng like that. I discussed this with my boss, the actual chef in the kitchen, and he was like: “Why are you saying this now? We’re closing in a few days.” So I asked him: “Why are you saying that?” He said: “Well, if I knew that I would have let you do more.” I told him that working juggling 3 tasks for me is way easier than doing just one: it has to do with overthinking, a lack of flow. I need a certain pressure to work hard and efficient and then I just want to continue at that pace. He said he was always on this point. Always in flow always in a way ‘on edge’. And it’s true. He’s one of the perhaps only people who never works slowly. I do. I do work slowly and I might love it as much as working fast and hard. I was wondering why that was the case, and in fact the f I saw a great parallel to the salsa dancing of the night before: I love dancing salsa but I’m not really  actually someone who can dance salsa (never had actual training). In fact I don’t know any of the rules. What I did find, is as long as I have the ‘right’ partner I can follow and really enjoy myself, feeling what to do without ever having to think about it. So I wanted to share with him about this comparison so I said: I went last night and dance salsa. And he was like: “Seriously? You share this now? In the last few days that you work here I’m learning so much new things about you that keep surprising me.”
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So why am I writing all of these personal experiences and encounters of the last few days? The couple of Brené Brown videos I was watching were surrounded around a quote from Theodore Roosevelt about ‘daring greatly’ also often referred as the man in the arena quote. And I won’t go in to the quote so much as the idea of being in an arena. Or rather, being on the side-lines. There are a lot of things that I dream of in life and in fact I have pursued and mastered, most of them creative and most of them quite challenging. However, most of these activities I could do on my own. In fact they were based on the vast believe that I could ‘do this myself’. I once told that to someone as an excuse for why I made all these bags and clothes and she replied: “well, that’s something I never think”. Even for someone like me who’s ‘I can do this’ voice is very trained and loud sometimes it is almost inaudible. My dream to dance still has this very small voice. At the event of last night I came in thinking: “Some of my friends are here, I’ve been here before, I want to go out, and I enjoy dancing”. But as I was waiting to be asked to dance (something great and frustrating about these nights) I looked at the dancers and thought: but I am not even trained to do this, and what if in fact people kind of ‘find out I’m no good’.

 

I recall the first time going salsa dancing very clearly. I met two girls perhaps the month before: they both liked to go out and dance salsa and I was ecstatic (and terrified), and basically begged them to take me with them. So they did. And we were there and I saw the people dance and new immediately that I loved it as much as I thought I would love it. So I admired and enjoyed the whole experience until the point when my friends were asked to dance, and it dawned on me that I could be asked to. I was now standing alone and terrified. I liked the idea of dancing, but I never did it before like this and I was not so sure what it would be like, despite my friends saying that the guys are usually nice and will teach you how to dance. So there I was. And I got asked. And I learned how to dance. I learned that with the right partner I would know what to do intuitively and basically forget everything. It is that that I realised and told my boss: it is easier for me to follow or do something more difficult: it blurs all the things in my mind and allows my body to take over and make the right decisions. It is a state of flow that completely relaxes and energises me at the same time.

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So why is this blogpost called Space.? and why did I mention Brené Brown, expert on vulnerability and shame? What do conversations with a co-worker and dancing to do with each other? A Facebook friend of mine shared a quote  from one of these picture quote sharing Facebook pages and in general I find them super shallow, ‘hip'(and not in a good way), and basically obnoxious. But I liked this one:

“Maybe the journey isn’t so much about becoming anything. Maybe it’s about un-becoming everything that isn’t really you so you can be who you were meant to be in the first place. “

Looking up this quote to add it to this post I realise that it has a particular message that perhaps is not exactly the same as I try to bring across here. However it is really concerning identity and perhaps ‘becoming who you are’. And for me this was what was happening and noticed today and throughout the experiences that I described: I know now I am not a person who is lazy, or who can’t dance.  I just need some time and the right circumstances to bring out the capabilities and beauty in me. I don’t show all I do and want to everyone. In another recent encounter someone asked me ‘What is holding you back?’. Even though not intended as such I took it as a moment to personally and philosophically reflect. The person was suggesting that I was held back. I immediately knew that this was true even though I was not fully aware before. I pondered and replied: “I’m held back because of all the expectations I think other have”.  Now I add: and I’m afraid to see what will happen in interaction with these others if I am not holding back.

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My co-worker was surprised at different things that I did say today. He’s known me for a year and in fact the whole times these things were known facts for me, but I did not share them. I did not vocalise them and chose to take a step back, and focus on what others want rather than what I want. Now these sides did come out and came up. Why? Because there was space. We all need space to be, to become more ourselves and do the things we always wanted.  (Honestly I could write a book about this whole subject but let’s keep it at ca. 1500 words for now)

 

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