True to Type

Felix Russell-Saw

Felix Russell-Saw

Two years ago, I discovered Dressing Your Truth during an internet search on different types of beauty.  As a lover of self discovery quizzes and typology systems, I was immediately drawn to it.  And ever since, I've watched the various Youtube videos, read the book, and wanted to take the actual course.  

They gave me a sense of calm.  I felt settled, affirmed, that it was okay to be me, and beautiful in my uniqueness.  The idea that clothes could have such a lovely effect was fascinating.  As a type 2 with a secondary 4, from a family and culture that value type 3 attributes, that was profound.  My father especially was damaging in that area, viewing typical type 2 traits as weak.  And at school, being reflective and quiet were also negatives - too absent-minded, too dreamy.  For a large part of my life, I've been struggling to find a corner for myself where it's simply safe to wear my own skin, some place where I can finally exhale the breath I've been holding since I was a wee little girl, a nook where I'm free to let this knot in my stomach finally dissolve.  I long for space, but often feel crowded.  I ache for time alone but am surrounded by dozens of people all day long with so many requests that by the end of the week, I'm raw.

We have so many facets to ourselves, but so often only live out two or three.  The others could be squashed because culture or family teaches that they are not acceptable, or that there is a specific way to be.  Sometimes they are kept hidden for so long that we're caught off guard momentarily when they slip to the surface.  But it's now my mission - as an adult seeking healing and wholeness - first to re-discover my true self, and then to nourish and protect it mindfully.

Holding Space

 

"Run like hell my dear, from anyone likely to put a sharp knife into the sacred, tender vision of your beautiful heart." -  Hafiz

A little while ago, I stumbled across Denise's post on 'holding space' for others.  It was initially a strange turn of phrase but as I read on, the words slowly draped themselves around me in a blanket of resonance.  With some regret, I recalled times when I had not held space for someone else.  I thought too of the people who, whether on purpose or accidentally, hadn't done it for me.  I tried to remember an instance when someone had held space for me and how beautifully reassuring it felt.  What came to mind was an experience from eight years ago when I was still a student overseas.

I had a one-on-one meeting with a Spanish translation teacher after an assignment had been graded and returned.  He had such a gentle way of correction, of providing a clever alternative for every awkward word choice, or a practical solution for every shortcoming that it felt like a conversation - not a squirm-inducing, finger-wagging lecture.  I left the encounter with my mind clearer, inspired and encouraged to nail it next time by putting all of the puzzle pieces in the right order.  He wasn't wishy-washy or 'soft', as many people assume quiet correction to be; he artfully balanced his knowledge with experience and gentleness, holding space for me in that moment. 

I have never forgotten him, and he has stood in stark contrast to other teachers and now managers, who use correction as an opportunity to shame.  To hoist themselves a little higher while debasing the other person.  It almost always has the opposite effect to what they intended.  How are you holding space for others? Are you allowing them the room to stand at their full height, or do you cause them to shrink and retract?