Last week, I did a presentation for Designers and Geeks about how this whole Year of studying habit removal has helped me “Manage Online Personality Disorder.” A few days before it, my friend Emma came over to help prepare and talk landed at her recent struggle with lack of confidence.
I mentioned how the TeleWonderWoman Challenge List of Five has hands-down been the most productive means of bumping up mine. To my surprise, she loved the idea so much that she immediately threw a name on her own list. By the night of the event, she had a second name.
My List has served me well: when I feel a wave of anxiety or overwhelming weight descending, I start repeating a list of five women’s names over and over, channeling them until I feel calm again. It usually only takes two or three rounds. Often, I’ll catch on one I need specifically, honing in on that particular kind of strength within me.
- Wonder Woman: Brute power and honor.
- Carrie Fisher: “Fuck it, why do you care?”
- Michelle Obama: Grace, intelligence, and taking the high road.
- My Muffin: Resilient earth goddess.
- Mitra: Unconditional, sloppy love.
But I need a second list. One not about channeling power or confidence, but for culling calm. I don’t have five yet, but here are my first three:
- Anne Shirley: “…Tomorrow is a brand new day with no mistakes in it yet.” I’m Book 4 into the L.M. Montgomery Anne of Green Gables series, which I have to slow myself from tearing through. It’s like cream to a cat, this storyline, with characters not vital to plot that take chapters of space, jokes pulled from Shakespeare and Poe that make my heart ping, and countless descriptions of sunsets that are new every time. More than anything, Anne’s belief in poetry and magic allow me to put aside the practical and pessimistic parts of myself that have been honed from logic and disappointment in health, work, and love failure. I can let myself love silly things like the Beauty and the Beast movie. I can fully let myself find joy in bird calls, and not apologize for my growing love of flipping tarot cards. And own everything I like because it’s fun to like things! Knowing that feeling is okay!
- Carrie Newcomer: “I thought I’d live a louder life. I’d learn a lot and get it right. I’d rent a loft, I’d drink all night. I’d be a living archetype. And in a blinding flash of light, I’d see that one great insight. But silence called me deeper still. Like nothing else I know ever will.” That’s from her song, I Meant To Do My Work Today. Muffin introduced me to Carrie’s music years ago, and I’ve fallen deeply, soulfully, spiritually in love with it. Songs I’ve heard dozens and hundreds of times over still bring me to tears every time. When I’m my most stressed, I put my “Carrie favs” playlist on to remind me of what “I Believe” to be true about the world. That’s why she’s on this list: she reminds me that many people in this world believe in protecting each other, and the earth, and living beings, and life.
- Iris Higgins: Iris is a hypnotherapist and the owner of The Goldilocks Movement — an online retreat center for women that I was a part of for a year and highly recommend. We met forever ago online (never in person!) via gluten-free blogging. But it was when I heard her first recorded guided meditation that I felt… something… truly significant about what Iris has to offer the world. Her hypnotherapy work pulled things from me that blew my mind, no matter my physical, mental, or emotional strength or vulnerability prior to the private or group session. I carry the work with me today in powerful and intimate ways. From Iris I know: I have the guides I need inside me, if I stay open to hear them.
The idea for crafting this list came about because I wanted to celebrate something tonight. I accomplished something today. The kind of thing that, were I at a different place or a different person right now, I’d celebrate with a drink or ice cream, or buying myself something fun.
As soon as the thing was confirmed, I went to text my family… but then didn’t. I thought about going to the store for something sweet… but nothing in appealed as I’m still not really eating sugar. A social media announcement didn’t sit right.
I’ve learned through this Year that these things are not only Bandaids when facing hard times, but are superficial rewards for achievement, too. Achieving is the win.
So I took Mitra and Georgia outside and sat, looking up at the sky, absorbing all I had done to get to this point in time. Then I went in and made some tea. I asked myself what I wanted to do with my next bit of time and, rather than continue to work, went to write Iris a card in response to the lovely one she had gifted me a few days ago. I’ve yet to articulate my thanks… but this list came as I pondered.
This list is my celebration. It’s better than a drink. Better than ice cream.
Ah! It reminds me of that Sarah McLachlan song: “Your love is better than ice cream. Better than anything else that I’ve tried.”
This makes me happy. The power of wonder women. I guess I can be one of them for myself sometimes, too.