Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Step Right Up . . .

A little handmade circus performer that lives in my living room.
Warning - this post could get a bit whiny.
If you choose to continue to read, just know that you were warned!
Step right up and see the greatest show on earth.
She can juggle mutiple balls in the air while tap dancing, all with a smile on her face!
When I was in college, I met a friend who was one of the funniest people I have ever known.
Quick witted and very talented.
Besides a quick wit - he could juggle.
Really well.
Multiple items at a time.
One day he led a class for several of us that were fascinated with the idea of juggling.
He distributed small bean filled balls - one to each of us, and we practiced throwing them straight up in the air and then having them land back in our hand.
Up. Down. Up. Down.
Don't look at the balls - instead, feel the weight and throw by intuition.
Then we began to toss them from one hand to the other - still a single ball.
Up and over. Up and over.
Again - don't look.
Use intuition.
This was a little more difficult for me, but I soon got the hang of it.
No problem.
Then we added another ball and tried to have them pass in the air - tossing them simultaneously.
Yeah - that didn't work so well for me.
A juggler I was not and I decided to accept that simple fact right then and there.
I would never be a juggler.
Until I became wife and mother and business owner and artist and friend and volunteer and and and...
In fact, at that point,  I got really good at juggling.
At least as far as anyone who saw me was concerned.
I can juggle with the best of them.
For the last 5 years, I have become an expert juggler.
While still married, I would work my full time day job, come home and run my art business, do art festivals and shows on the weekends, continute to do volunteer work through my church, answer the call of need from friends and family, host get togethers and family events and holidays and on and on.
My husband acted as the stage manager of my little operation - working behind the scenes.
There were details that I knew he would just take care of.
Then the world as I knew it changed dramatically and he resigned as the stage manager and stepped out of the picture.
So my stage manager partner was gone,
yet I was still trying to perform my juggling act as if nothing had changed.
I still went to my day job every day from 8-5.
I still showed up and sold art at art festivals and shows.
I still filled my orders.
I still hosted family events.
But I had added new balls to my juggling routine -
things that my husband had managed were now my full responsibility.
So, I worked more props into my juggling routine.
And I kept smiling - as far as the audience could see.
And I am still trying to keep up the facade.
The facade that I can do it all by myself.
That I can keep all of the various juggling balls in the air at the same time and never drop any.
And yes - let's throw in a spontaneous tap dance here and there.
I'll tap dance around my emotions and tell everyone I am just fine and it's no big deal.
I was raised in theatre.
The show MUST go on.
No matter what . . .
Well I have a confession.
I have started to drop some balls lately.
OK - the honest confession -
I have dropped a lot of balls lately.
I have tripped on my feet and forgotten the steps to my tap dance routine.
And I have been beating myself up for it.
My stage make-up is smudged and I'm having a hard time smiling for the audience.
It is so difficult to admit when we have reached our limit.
By admitting that, I feel as if I have failed -
and I can't accept failure at this point.
The irony here is this-
by not admitting that my limit has been reached, I am insuring failure.
My family pays the price with a cranky person.
My business pays the price because my work isn't what it should be and deadlines are not met.
Promises are not kept.
My emotions become raw and fragile.
I want to resign from the circus and not come back ever again.
My friend - the juggler - knew exactly how many items he was capable of juggling at a time.
He knew that if he wanted to perform a clean routine and not drop his props all over the place,
he would have to limit how many he kept in the air at a time.
He never exceeded that limit.
So here is my a-ha moment for this week...
My limit has been reached.
This realization came as a result of a slip and slide backward.
I was beginning to feel strong again - and I picked up an extra juggling prop, and it caused everything to come crashing down around me...
Physically, mentally and emotionally.
After beating myself up for slipping backwards -
I have forgiven myself and I have decided to make some healthy changes.
I will not be adding anything more to my world -
that means committments, obligations and/or things that demand my time and focus.
In fact - I will be removing a committment or two.
I am removing a person or two - those that want to take but not give back.
If I choose to add something- it will not be decided upon easily and it means I will remove something else.
I will allow myself the right to say "no thank-you".
I will allow myself to say "that will not work for me at this time".
I will commit to myself that I will not feel the need to justify my needs to others.
And I will ask for help when needed.
Because every good circus performer needs a backstage crew to make sure that the show can run smoothly.
So here is to finding some new balance in my life.
I still want to be a juggling performer - but I plan on making sure that I limit my props to a more manageable number.
Because every performer wants to give the very best performace possible.


LisaC said...

We should talk. No, really. You just verbalized what I have been dealing with this week. We should talk.
We can start a support group. JA- jugglers anonymous!

Laurie Miller said...

Lisa - I agree! I think we would have a huge support group.

Private message me at my email, and let's chat.

Giggles said...

Sit on your hands dear juggler....keep only the good balls that land in your lap!!Toss the rest off!!

You're on the right track. If there is one thing I learned as an independent woman trying to be everything to everyone is that I too need to ask for help at times. A very difficult thing for me to do!! It's rewarding to know so many people really do care!

Thanks for sharing so much of yourself!!!Never beat yourself up, you are doing the best you can!! You are only one woman!! Sending love your way!!

Hugs Giggles

An'Angelia Thompson said...

Hey, Laurie! Happy New Year!!!! Your juggling analogy is spot on. (Seems I, too, lost my delicate balance lately) I think I forget that when the juggling act goes out of whack, it's not just the last ball that gets dropped but ALL of them. Here's to both us getting back into The Groove! xoxox