I’m pretty sure that first photo was taken in 1988. It was at the Father-Daughter Dance that my alma mater, Presentation Academy, held every year.
I know we were at the Moose Lodge (of COURSE we were at at place called the Moose Lodge — lol). The band might have been Caribou. I know they played a cover of Bon Jovi’s “Livin’ On a Prayer.” And I was by no means a hair-band girl — I would have been all, “for the love of all that is holy, would someone please throw on some Violent Femmes?!” But I was there with my classmates and our daddies, so I played along and danced and sang loudly.
From all appearances, it looks like I was into it — my shirt’s about half tucked in and I’ve got that concentrated dancing overbite. The truth is, it really didn’t matter too much what songs they were playing, I was up and tearing it up. Right next to the stage, no less.
My essential self, the core of who I am heart and soul, can’t help but sing and dance. It’s the spirit of who I am and how I move throughout the world. I do not sing and dance in therapy or coaching sessions (unless asked), but what I bring to my work and play has that passion and energy. And sometimes there’s a discipline to it — the artful harness of that energy to adapt to the environment or situation I am in. That is where my social self comes in.
We all have a social self, and sometimes we let our social self step into the limelight a bit more than our essential self. There’s nothing wrong with that — that’s the part of us that can help the essential self get shit done.
Sometimes, though, that social self can take over and cast a shadow over our essence. A lot of times, that’s when a potential client will connect with me and say, “On paper, I have an amazing life, but I feel empty inside or like there is something more to life than this.” They’ve lost that loving feeling for their essential self. Or it’s buried under a lot of “shoulds” or “should nots.” I’m great at helping you reconnect with that part of yourself. It didn’t go anywhere. It’s not something you have to find. Often, it’s something you return to.
Case in point, that 16 year old girl gettin’ after it at the Daddy-Daughter dance has found her way to age 42. And there I am, still dancing. Still singing phonetically to Spanish lyrics I don’t know the meaning behind (but am pretty sure are along the lines of “hey girl, you so fine” and I’ll keep it at that).
Check in with yourself nostalgically. See your little girl self — your essential self — at age 8. Growing into age 12. Age 16. Age 20. Love her. Think about her. She is not gone and you do not need to find her. She has been with you all along, just waiting for you to return.
You want to know something funny / kinda cool?
Tomorrow morning, my high school, Presentation Academy, is having their annual walkathon that is a fundraiser for the school. I’m madly in love with that school and have stayed very connected since I graduated. My daughter will be going to school there in a couple of years, actually. Anyway, they want to do a big kickoff before the girls and other participants head out for the walk and they’re going to have a deejay with a lot of music and hubbub.
And guess who will lead the “warm up” for them with two Zumba routines? Oh. Yeah. Essential self. As I live and breathe.
I can’t leave you without a Throwback Thursday soundtrack, now can I? Click the Spotify link and get down on it (And yes, both Bon Jovi and The Violent Femmes are included . Warning – Parental Advisory – Explicit Lyrics. My essential self likes explicit lyrics sometimes.):