How long did it take you to become this seemingly confident/secure/free with who you are?
It was a question in response to a video of me dancing around in my bikinis in my living room with the tunes up, a huge smile on my face and the hashtag #sacredsmoothiedance
I have been posting daily videos of me dancing my feelings in my Insta stories as a way of igniting others to get up and move their own feelings, their own incredible body. Truth is it helps me and seems like it is inspiring many other gorgeous women to get up and move any way they can; so I am going to keep going.
I get an inbox filled with sweet comments and cute emojis. I am grateful and hyped up on dopamine because of that but it is not why I do it. I love the curiosity it ignites.
Yes, I am turned on by curious women.
Yes, I am going to use the word turned on because I don’t believe it relates just to being sexually aroused, I use it to describe being lit up in all areas.
Living a turned on life for me means living with eyes wide open to pleasure, receiving that into my body and senses, transmuting that into inspiration and taking an inspired action through writing, dance, art, lovemaking, travel, conversation, moving meditation, music, connection.
So yes, this woman’s question and curiosity turned me on.
I happened to be sitting on my Mum’s couch when I read it in the tiny Insta inbox (so much happens in that little white, black, grey and emoji-filled epicenter) so I turned to my Mum and I asked,
“Mum was I always confident?” To which, my always brutally honest mother said “You weren’t always confident but you were always a show off”
I let that ring through me for a day or two.
I wasn’t always confident. Am I always confident now? What changed along the way? How do I find the confidence to do what I do?
Where do I get the confidence to prance around in front of the camera?
Where did I get the confidence to make bold choices for my life, my art, my work, sexuality, relationships, communication?
To quit my job over a decade ago and build a thriving business based on play and pleasure that is still growing and expanding after so long but with so many unknowns and so much trust?
Where did I get the confidence to stand up on podiums in nightclubs in tiny costumes gyrating and pulsing an LED hoop around my body?
Where do I get the confidence to ask for what I need, speak up, show up, say what is on my mind?
Firstly, it is important to note that I grapple with self-doubt every day, I cringe when I watch my videos, I still struggle with parts of my body and now the aging process is igniting some new wobbles, I stumble over my words, I worry when I put myself out there, I question if they love me, I don’t always say what I mean, I get nervous to ask for what I need. It is not like fear does not exist in all of my waking moments, it is just that I have grown a relationship with it and I invite other powerful players to the party.
Pleasure. Courage. Vulnerability. Awareness. Risk taking. Flow.
It is very simple. I love pleasure. But in order to have such a deep bond with my pleasure, I have had to craft a growing relationship and awareness of pain. So I would say much of my confidence comes from watching the play between pleasure and pain in my life, at it’s most potent in the meeting point of the two. I get great pleasure from dancing around in my bikinis, laughing at myself, smoothie in hand, breathing in life, watching my image, sharing that with others in the hopes of inspiring them to ignite joy but also for the sake of creativity, being connected, feeling a response, having a purpose, being on a mission to make something, share something, be of service to myself and others in any way that I can, breaking rules, defining a new way, just being myself…and then the pain exists in empathy, deeply understanding self-doubt, the feeling of not being in love with yourself, your life, unshakable darkness at times, a fear of total rejection, a fear of being unloved, not accepted, hated, the pain of not living out my fullest creative potential, not being enough, not knowing what is next, not being honest with myself and others. The exhilaration of feeling the fear and doing it anyway because pleasure is more ripe and juicy than the darkness.
“We cannot be more sensitive to pleasure without being more sensitive to pain” Alan Watts
This in itself could be a whole podcast…
I unlocked my ability to receive pleasure most powerfully when I devoted my life to practices many years ago that released the divine serpent energy that lay dormant inside me. Call it kundalini, call it feminine energy, sexual energy, call it creativity, call it energetic flow. Movement, breath, ecstatic dance, creativity, sacral rocking, core pulsing, voice activation, orgasmic pleasure….movement, movement, more movement. The movement of my body, my breath, my blood, my ideas, creativity, wonderment. I aligned my cycles with nature and the moon celebrating the wisdom of my body, it’s natural flow and blood. And I recognized the energetics of everything around me, the vibration of a leaf, the aura of water. That might all sound a bit esoteric and far fetched, hard to grasp, but essentially I widened my receptivity to pleasure by opening my body and visions to allow feeling good to be my dominant mission and motivation. As a result, I became hungry to share, connect, be a vessel for permission to others to experience these heightened states of creation and joy, inspire and be inspired.
And all of this boils down to one huge, overarching connection. Flow. I deeply trust in flow. The flow of creativity, the flow of life, the flow of connection, abundance, pain, ideas, inspiration.
Now, what does that all have to do with confidence?
Because I have allowed myself to experience heightened states of flow which I feel is synonymous with pleasure and awareness of pain it has really allowed me to understand where my fears stem from, feel into them, embody great pleasure and recognize I source that from sharing, inspiring and being inspired, being eternally connected. That doesn’t mean I always feel flow, it means I have the trust that it is always accessible and that brings me great confidence in life.
I have a very strong belief that confidence is courage on repeat. I don’t think confidence is something I was born with, nor was it strongly modeled to me as a child. Confidence came from the repeated action of grasping courage, taking an action and repeating that cycle until I became quote-unquote good at something or held confidence around it. My confidence has come from the practice of courage, showing up, trying time and time again, failing, learning, not holding back (p.s. I still hold back all of the time but I recognize it…and it pisses me off most of the time)
To add to this, I am a risk taker. I take big and small risks every day. We all do. They are different in nature but they are risks. I read this quote from Elizabeth Gilbert last week
“Life is both fleeting and dangerous, and there is no point in denying yourself pleasure or being anything other than what you are.”
Dangerous? Yep, totally. Some people risk their lives every day, some people take creative risks, physical risks, emotional risks. Some people take out mortgages on houses they can’t afford, others quit jobs without a plan just a knowing, some jump out of planes, others get into cars to drive to work, some send risky texts and others dance around in their undies with a smoothie in their hand and post it to Instagram hoping and praying that at least one other woman will find the courage in herself to get up and move any way she can and embrace that she is a miracle in motion and allow that to ripple out into all other parts of her life.
We are all risk takers. Confidence comes from taking courageous acts repetitively. When we do something enough times we build a deeper trust in ourselves and we feel confident, skilled, accomplished.
As I was writing this podcast I was texting back and forward with my friend, hairdresser and confidante Grace.
( @grace.your.self )We exchange about 3000 texts a day but today’s back and forward was particularly potent because Grace is a talented creative who puts herself out there on stages, videos and in real life with such absurd confidence it is intoxicating but I also know she has a delicious relationship with risk-taking and courage that comes from a place of softness and shadow. The banter is enthralling. We should really do a podcast together. Watch this space.
In one text she said
“Yes I agree I feel like confidence comes from practice. You practice something for a while in your own time alone until you are ready to share. And once you share it is delivered with confidence however not everyone sees the practice that goes into it. When no one is around it gives me room to make mistakes and sound like absolute shit and then from practice to get better without distraction. I feel like spending time alone helps create confidence”
Wise words from the soul of a creative. And p.s we are all creative. I relate so strongly to the process she was speaking of. Having the courage to try something new, taking your time to explore it on your own, feel into the flow, try it again and again on repeat, share it, try again, show up, be courageous, take risks and allow the confidence to build from there.
There is a misguided rumor going around that being vulnerable is synonymous with being weak or less than. I call bullshit on the two words even existing in the same sentence together. When I think of vulnerability and the opening, the intimacy, the strength that it requires I feel into words like fierce, empowering, heart opening, wild, expansive, deepening. Oh there is more…belonging, connection, responsibility, love, understanding, empathy.
Big call here. I would say that I could not connect with authentic courage and confidence until I allowed myself to sink deeply into the daily practice of vulnerability. What does that look like, feel like? For me, it looks and feels like sharing all parts of myself, asking big questions, revealing truth, allowing joy to be dominant, facing fears, expressing love, embracing passion, chasing purpose, being open to hurt, being accepting of failure, acknowledging shadows. Still endeavoring to open and express more compassionately, still learning, still growing.
Vulnerability is the path to ever-growing confidence.
Self- awareness. I left this to last because I think that all of the other elements I have talked about strengthen this. Knowing your pleasure, feeling it, being receptive and exploring it. Understanding your pain, it’s patterns, what it feeds off, how to transmute it. Watching yourself, connecting with your responses, your personality, what you love and offer, how you receive or communicate. Putting yourself in arenas outside your comfort zone as a way to take risks, repeat courageous acts and blossom more confidence. Residing in vulnerability with intention, seeking it’s awakening, learning from its greatness and taking the lessons into other facets of life and growth.
I have always been fascinated by myself, in relation to all that is around me, the other humans I connect with and the situations or thought patterns and feelings I find myself in. I have been curious. Aren’t we all? As a child, I recognized that I could tap into sensory perception and a freedom from over thinking by connecting to nature, imagery and movement. As I developed a greater understanding of what this all meant and how connected I was to a curious sense of self-awareness I grew more of a thirst for self-development. I waded through the era of “self-help” and got spat out with a hyper awareness of where my strengths and weaknesses liked to play and then continued to experiment on the never-ending merry-go-round of self-exploration.
Oh the mysteries and wisdom to be uncovered.
Know thy self. Yes, some really old dude said that, and he was onto a winner.
When I know myself I can make friends with my inner mean girl, or at least understand that when she tells me I look like shit in those videos I can choose not to engage with her, simply witness those thoughts, see them as a story I have acquired and choose to focus on the greater purpose which is to inspire and be inspired, to share joy, to be vulnerable, to open up to pleasure.
Self-awareness gives me the superpowers to take courageous actions, big and small, which lead to the strengthening of my confidence.
“Be aware of yourself as you are without judgment. See what is. You have no further problem. The most important thing is self-remembering. Always at every moment be aware of what you are doing. Watch yourself” Alan Watts
There is a caveat that exists in all of this. Here it is. The response I get to most things that I share is dominantly positive. Because that positivity flows back to me in the form of admiration, comments that confirm my purpose is empowering or just general love and sweetness my courage is validated and it drives more of it to come forth. I wonder what might happen if I receive more hate. (I am not calling that in btw I am just noticing the contrast) I think back to a time when I was severely bullied for being a “show off” or for “loving myself” in high school, that negativity and bullying had a huge impact on my confidence, it also forced me to build internal strength and stamina over time and not rely on external validation to bring joy and pleasure but foster internal resilience and self-love. Confidence can come from darkness and reside in the light.
Aren’t we fascinating creatures?
All of this goes into the decision to post 15 seconds of me hip shaking in bikinis and let others witness me. We reside in fascinating times where we have the privilege and platforms to make choices to stand up and lead courageously in any way we choose.
My confidence; it comes from staying open, being playful, watching myself, being inspired by you, having a purpose, tapping into pleasure, giving myself time to practice, unending curiosity, a love affair with the unknown, practiced courage. It is not always there but when it is you can be damn sure I am going to use it to inspire and be inspired because that is the dance of life.