While searching YouTube, I stumbled upon the above Ted talk — perfect for those interested in self-care through self-love. At once, Tracy McMillan’s vulnerable confidence drew me in, translating her mistakes through the lens of experience and self-reflection. She shares herself openly, with an unapologetic, disarming acceptance. By being present, by bearing witness, we the audience experience a rare opportunity for growth through authentic story transfer. This is heart-to-heart story medicine, make no mistake about it. In listening to Tracey’s journey, we get closer to understanding our own vulnerabilities.
As I watched the video I was reminded of the vows I mentioned a couple posts back — the ones taken at 25, promising to see my novel through to publication, promising to value writing as a top priority. As Tracy puts it, this is the day, I dropped down on one knee and put a ring on it. The day I asked myself to marry me; just the way I was. Tracy explains the difficult process of marrying oneself despite the reflective mirrors that distort identity and self-worth, making it seem insufferable to continue on as you are. But continue on you must, because in this marriage there is no hiding from the past — only learning through the pain. There is no opportunity for lies, because you can’t run from you — the bad bits always catch up.
Tracy highlights the importance of embracing the person you are including the faults and imperfections and actively choose to love yourself. For me, my vows marked the day I promised never to let go of my inner visionary self, my inner child dreamer. I, like Tracy, learned how important it was to know that I was always going to be present for myself, and that in time of great peril I’d be able to nurse and love myself back to health. With this knowledge comes a rooted strength, a spiritual home built of bricks, mortar and solid foundational material. The map to inner marriage is a journey uniquely your own, but one worthy of making because afterwards you are transformed. Through self-matrimony, you’ll learn how to love fully, first yourself and then others eventually learning to love and accept others where they are, just the way they are. In many real ways this is my definition of freedom.
Going to the Chapel,
A Warrior Princess
There are Ted.com talks that linger with me and resurface at the most interesting times. Often, I am heard saying, “That reminds me of a Ted Talk about…” or “I listened to a Ted Talk that inspired me to…” The beauty of this online resource is that I or whoever can retrieve the talk at any time. I’m giving a rare Kudos to technology here.
I had such moment last Thursday at my writing mentor’s class. The first day is always the same. Upon arrival there are 15 or so adults scattered amongst seats facing the front of the room. An awkward, muffled silence permeates the air. Eyes shift to the left or right avoiding eye contact with each other as things are shuffled and arranged in an effort to look busy. Enter my writing mentor. She blows through the door like a warm summer wind- vibrant, unapologetic and smiling. She begins, “Hello and welcome. The first thing we need to do is form a circle where everyone can see each other.” She sits in her chair and watches as the circle forms around her, bossing people to move their desks this way or that, ensuring everyone can be seen. After she is satisfied, a brief introduction is shared in which she explains the most important part of being a good writer is learning how to be an excellent listener. She uses this to segue into her famous first day exercise: the class is split in groups of two, each person talks for 5 minutes about their personal journey while the other person remains silent and jots down notes. “This is NOT a conversation!” my writing mentor reminds the class, in a strict motherly tone. “You are LISTENING not asking questions.” When five minutes is over, roles are switched and the talker becomes the listener. After 10 minutes, the group is called back to the circle. Each person will use their notes to introduce their partner to the rest of the class.
I sat there on Thursday night and marveled at the transformation of energy. These strangers who were timid and avoiding eye contact with each other, were all of sudden verbose and excited to share their classmates’ stories. Often introductions began, “My new friend…” and after I returned from our 10 minute bathroom break, the room was lively. People from all different walks of life were talking and laughing with each other. On my walk home, I reflected on what had just transpired and the power of sharing your own individual stories. It only took five minutes for people to open up and connect with each other in a way that reaches far beneath the outer layer of a person. In that reflection this Ted Talk- Chimamanda Adichie: The danger of a single story (click to listen)-came to mind. The talk is 18 minutes long but if you take the time to listen it may linger with you too and pop up in powerful ways that could last a lifetime. I just re-listened to it today and it re-confirmed my resolve to be a storyteller.
Your Story Matters,
A Warrior Princess
Ted.com is like the Captain Planet of valuable information- a combined online resource center where artists, innovators, humanitarians and scientists alike join to share ‘Ideas Worth Sharing’. This ensemble of experts gives talks ranging in length from 3 to 18 minutes. Years of research, life experience and focused knowledge is condensed into a short platform that is both stimulating and informative. For this reason, Ted.com is my primary news source and something I reference often.
Awhile back I stumbled upon this talk Connected, but alone? by Sherry Turkle, a “psychologist and sociologist that has been studying how technology changes not only what we do but who we are.” Her talk elegantly states ideas I’ve been internalizing and getting into heated verbal battles(ooops) over ever since the dawn of the cellular telephone. This past weekend, in the middle of a lively debate over the negative effects technology has on our day-to-day human interaction/communication, I referenced this Ted Talk. It is beyond relevant and solid food for thought. Have a listen and join the international conversation: Connected, but alone? by Sherry Turkle
Quotes straight from the talk:
- “We expect more from technology and less from each other”
- “Technology appeals to us most where we are most vulnerable”
- “We’re lonely but we’re afraid of intimacy”
- “The illusion of companionship without the demands of friendship”
With Our Powers Combined,
A Warrior Princess