I am not a follower.
This is not a newsflash but for the purpose of context I feel it needs to be reiterated. If I’m in a situation without an appointed leader, I will naturally gravitate towards creating order out of chaos or bridging gaps in communication. If everyone is floundering, I will pop up with ideas to head us in a direction. If you need someone to quiet a room of hundreds and gather their attention, I’m your girl. In many, many instances this trait is welcomed and applauded. But not all.
When I’m on the dance floor? I need to follow.
This is extremely challenging for me given my proclivity for BEING IN CHARGE. Throughout class last night I was having an internal dialogue that went something like this: “Stop leading! Follow. Follow. Just move in place and let him lead. He’s NOT leading that’s why I am. You need to chill. Just follow. Follow.”
Despite my comfort zone being rocked, I did have fun. Between my internal struggle to relinquish control and the fact that we had to switch partners every few minutes (anxiety! negative thoughts about what they could be thinking about me! shhh!), I tried to just focus on the footwork and not give into my brain’s chatter.
Sometimes you just have to ACT a different way to trigger a different way of being inside.
Trying to be different is not an instantaneous fix though. It’s a process. It’s a journey. I know that these baby steps- like taking a dance class and being the follower- will eventually teach me to relax and not be so uptight about myself, not be so neurotic about assumed negative thoughts that others may or may not be having about me, not feel required to ensure everything is going smoothly. Figuring out when to be in charge and when to let someone else carry the burden- that’s the struggle for me. And the not feeling useful or worthwhile if I am not the leader. I am trying to teach myself that I have more than that to offer- the fixing and the leading and the rescuing.
“Even though I believe in living in the open, parts of me hide. I can’t help it. But what I can help is which parts of me- the open or the hidden- run my life. What I can rely on is this inexplicable knowing that when I am in the open, life nourishes even those parts so sorely hidden. . .We become so preoccupied with what we are not able to address, what we are not able to mend, what we are not able to leave behind, that we forget that whatever we are in the light of day is slowly, but surely, healing the rest of us.” -Mark Nepo