Dancing Till I Drop
January 5th, 2023
Hello 2023. . . I see you. I know your waiting on me to reflect on all the ways I wasn’t enough in 2022. I feel the sense of urgency arising, to make my plans to do better, do more, and resolve to be the best version of me possible. Well, 2023, I am sorry to disappoint. This nurse, mother, artist, dancer, writer, educator and more is tired of spending any energy on not being enough. I am taking a different path this year and I would love some company.
This New Year as I seek to care for myself, I am steering clear of resolutions that are formed around the idea that I am not enough. I have found in the past, my resolutions were centered in scarcity, looking to fix the many ways I did not measure up to our societal version of being enough. This includes, not doing enough, not eating healthy enough, not exercising enough, not creating enough, and simply not being enough. Well, I no longer have any time or desire to be defined by others expectations of me nor do I have any desire to waste an ounce of my precious energy focusing on how I am not enough.
This year I am skipping scarcity and embracing abundance by acknowledging and accepting all the ways I am enough in my perfectly imperfect humanity. From this soft place of acceptance, compassion, and care I invite you to join me in asking ourselves a new question that focuses on our joy and our blessed needs for connection and community.
Knowing what I need has never come easy to me, as the oldest of four and a consistent
sounding board for my mother, I learned quickly that caring for others before myself was intrinsically connected to my survival and guaranteed approval from those closest to me. With four mouths to feed and a brother with Spinabifida my ability to have very few needs gave me the prized label by my mother as “the easy one” or “the golden child”.
This feedback loop created a grooved pathway in my brain that has carried me into adulthood believing that the less I need the more loveable I am. This core belief beset into my heart at an early age, laid the foundation to build a life consistent with being the easy one in all my relationships, caring for others but asking for very little in return. What I didn’t realize was that through this behavior I was unable to cross the chasm between my heart and mind making it really difficult to even know what it was I needed versus what everyone else needed. Since I was not able to define for myself what I needed it was inevitably defined for me by others and sometimes without my best interest in mind.
I am the founder of The Clinic an arts and play-based immersive theater company that creates workshops and performances in hospital settings to raise awareness and offer resources to help develop personal, collective and systemic resiliency or what I have coined as (Re)Brilliancy – a reminder that we are already resilient and brilliant, this is our base line. One main component of these workshops include answering the question, “What do you need to feel seen, heard, and cared for?” It is overwhelming the number of nurses, myself included, who have a very difficult time answering this question. Another surprising, yet not so surprising finding, is how many nurses say in the midst of the workshop how sad it is that no one, including themselves have ever asked them this question. In a profession where we spend our days tending to the needs of others it feels quite normal to not give a second thought to what it is that we need. In fact we simply do not have time for it, leaving us with this chronic inability to connect to our needs on a daily basis.
As an adult I have begun to unravel and disconnect the idea that my worth is directly related to being “the easy one”. I realized that to be human is to have needs, by downplaying my needs I am downplaying my humanity. Our humanity is our greatest gift and a secret pathway into our soul. As I have learned to voice my needs more regularly, I have realized that my needs have always been present, I have either neglected them or got my needs met collaterally in ways that did not always honor who I was and who I am.
I wonder if you would like to join me and look at resolutions differently this year? Instead of creating resolutions based on not being enough, I wonder if we can be straight with ourselves and let’s ask, what do we need in 2023 to feel seen, heard and cared for? May this new question remind you of the importance of having needs, meeting these needs, asking for these needs to be met and all the incredible ways you are enough and always have been.
P.S. 2023, I need more dance in my life. I have decided to teach a dance class starting in
January because dance reminds me that I am worthy of experiencing joy and joy, my friends, is worth sharing with others. If you are in Colorado, I hope you will come dance with me. 2023 I come at you dancing, dancing till I drop.
Thank you so much for reading. -Tara Rynders