Alone-Ly

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I call bullshit on the notion that as modern women we should be satisfied with being alone. Okay, okay, don’t get your panties in a bunch ladies! I’m definitely NOT saying that another person, especially a man, can come along and magically make you happy. I am NOT saying that you should devote yourself to finding a mythical something to take the pain away, and make everything that isn’t okay, okay (impossible, by the way, but if you already knew that, read on).

What I AM saying is the modernist notion of women always having to have it all together is way off. We are complex, multifaceted, and cannot be boiled down to basics.

Now that I’ve quelled my need to scream this at the world, we can get down to brass tacks.

I am single and there’s no shame in my game. I like being able to do whatever I please- leave my bed messy, avoid shaving my legs without embarrassment or consequence, et cetera. Being single allows me a kind of absolute freedom that’s truly difficult to enjoy when you’re attached to someone. I make my own money, use a vibrator, own a tool kit, and can pretty much do whatever you would need a man for all by myself. But something I recently discovered is that my fuck-you attitude is not serving my highest good.

Backtrack with me for a moment.

Picture a very little Lindsay-desperate for her parent’s attention as nearly all children are-and never quite getting what she would deem adequate love from her childhood. So she grows up with an aching sense that something is missing.That if only she could be noticed and validated by a mail counterpart, she would be fulfilled and completed as a person.

So yes while this is true-I never got the attention and felt abandoned in my childhood-I was and am exactly where I need to be. This challenge of lacking has made me who I am today. Capable, independent, strong and determined. So if I’m capable and even successful in my life, why the heck do I still feel the need to be with or connect with someone? Why can’t I just chill all by myself? Because I’m a human being.

As human beings, it’s true that being in this world (especially in this city), we can tend to go on autopilot. We tend to shrug off suggestions of assistance or support by others in lieu of doing it all on our own. I know there are plenty of women-and believe me, I’ve met my fair share-who sit and pine away for a man to come along and make life bearable, but the tide seems to have changed.

It’s now the trend to be your own woman.  Alone. Solo and content with a table for one or not having to share the popcorn at the movies (not to mention the movie choices). It’s not to say that I’m not one hundred percent supportive of the aforementioned scenarios. Personally, I need me time, where I don’t have to be involved with another person-their thoughts, feelings, problems. But I also need time with others. Not companionable isolation, like with strangers at my local bar, but real intimacy with other human beings.

My need for autonomy does not usurp my need for connection. If you’re anything like me you’ve forgone deep bonds with others for a tough gal act that keeps you at arms length of any real emotions. Instead of feeling  what we should we make the goal to feel as little as possible.

My desire for autonomy does not usurp my need for connection. The fashion, and pressure for so many of us, is to forgo creating bonds with others for an unnecessary “tough girl” act that keeps you an arm’s length from any breadth of emotion. Instead of acknowledging our feelings, we make the goal to feel as close to nothing as possible. “Tough girl-hood” even becomes a bade of honor in some sense-to be able to handle even the most egregious heartbreak, betrayal, pain, without flinching. Wait a freakin’ second. Have we forgotten that we are the feeling half of the food chain?

My solution to being a more complete person is to feel, and feel everything. Feel what it’s like to be on my own, and even sometimes lonely. We can feel the pain of reticent parents, painful losses, lacking childhoods without becoming it.

I can be the benevolent observer of my suffering rather than a slave to its narrative. To ask for help when I need it without shame. To open myself up to the possibility that I can have my needs met by many different people, and in turn have a deeply connected romantic partner. Someone who not only replaces my vibrator, but reminds me that I deserve to be loved, and that I am the shit.

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How Going Out On My Own Changed My Life

TakeALeap

It’s a fact- I am the more adventurous type. I chose the performing world despite my parents’ request to do something more stable. I left home at 17 and moved to Hawaii for a boy and ended up being a showgirl. I had my own little business as soon as I could afford a reformer that I stuck in my dining room. Despite all my boldness, three years ago I found myself working for the man in a glass fishbowl I affectionately called the, “Pilates Prison”.  I was a 30-something, unemployed professional dancer with a torn hamstring, things were feeling way more scary than exciting. It was right about that time that I got an offer that changed my life.

As luck would have it, unbeknown to the Pilates Prison Police, I acquired some private clients from a dear friend that left the city for warmer climes. I found a studio in Union Square that would rent to me and started my own thing. Over time the Prison became jealous and suspicious that my little one man show somehow hindered its multimillion dollar empire. I tried to leave, they asked me to stay, and reluctantly I did- big mistake. Eventually what is a long drawn out story that really should be told while enjoying some alcohol- I was forced to resign. Yes please. F@*k you very much.

On my own and flying free was a little like riding a bike for me. I jumped in and built up my private clientele to 5 clients 5 days a week. A solid practice. I was doing what I was good at surviving but who wants to just exist right? My hamstring healed and I desperately tried to regain what once was and the gods responded- YOU WILL NOT KICK BALL CHANGE ANYMORE YOU WILL TAKE OVER THIS PILATES STUDIO!!! The owner of said studio was moving away, was I interested in taking over? I was shocked that an opportunity like this could just land at my feet and during a time when my head was filled with, “what’s next”. Was someone listening in? Apparently so.

What was a difficult decision was followed by many more obstacles, like finding financing and getting new equipment, but ultimately everything worked out. Here I am 3 years later helping other teachers break out of their “Pilates Prisons” and find the business of their dreams. I would never have thought, back in the days of wearing a g-string and a head-dress on the showgirl stage that I would be doing some of the most fulfilling work of my life (and that it wouldn’t be while dancing). Being willing to jump at the opportunity that was presented to me, and taking a leap brought me to where I needed to be. Playing it safe never brought greatness. What are you holding yourself back from and what steps can you take to play big today? 

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Don’t give up.

81489682ba2f05b13c3ce8af8d39a155Just six short months ago my life was at a standstill. Due to the wear and tear of being a professional dancer, I had seriously pulled my left hamstring. I always thought that when I had a life altering injury it would be my back or my knee. Although back and knee injuries are much worse, they often require surgery with a prescribed recovery. Hamstring injuries are much more elusive. No one really knows how long it can take to heal. In denial and jobless, I continued to dance and desperately audition on it for months. One particularly hectic morning, I forgot to pack my dance pants to wear under my skirt for an audition of West Side Story. I franticly ran around the garment district praying for a solution. Finally, I had to purchase an industrial sized pack of granny panties! By then I was too late to properly warm up for the audition (which always includes my hundred!) and dancing on it cold just made it worse. Finally, with much regret I realized I had better lay off of it or it wasn’t getting better. So, I went back to my roots. My Pilates roots that is.

At first I was unable to perform anything more than beginner Pilates exercises. I was pissed off and depressed not being able to dance for the first time in my life.  Somehow everyday I painstakingly practiced the basic Pilates repertoire. The hundred with bent knees, the 1/2 roll down, single leg circles with bent knees. Pilates was the only thing I could do to be physical and I clung to it like a girl overboard clings to her life raft. The days crept by like a death march and there was many a time during my long eight-month recovery (and my boyfriend can attest to this, he’s a saint by the way) that I was ready to throw up my hands. I was thoroughly convinced that I was never getting better, that I’d never be like I was before. I had resolved to give up my dreams. Before my injury I was an advanced Pilates student, and avid yogi, a professional dancer, a warrior. Being weak and in pain almost constantly drained my natural good nature and strength. I had no sense of who I was without my physicality. I wanted to give up and just be miserable and bitter, but I didn’t. Well at least not for long.

That’s when I started thinking, when do you know it’s time to give up? At what point do you accept where you’re at and just resign? As a Pilates instructor, I have had many a client try to convince me that they “can’t” get an exercise or “never will” progress. And although normally it’s an easy job to inspire them and convince them otherwise I was at a loss in my state. I could barely convince myself to get out of bed some mornings. I felt like a sham.  Who am I to lead others to recovery and health when I couldn’t inspire myself? My mentor overcame a serious neck injury with Pilates (and LOTS of hard work) and is now the strongest woman I know. I decided to make Mr. Pilates prove himself. It was him that said, “Rome wasn’t built in a day” and “Patience and persistence are vital qualities in the ultimate successful accomplishment of any worthwhile endeavor.” How do you begin to build without a single brick? Or be patient when you can’t seem to find anything worthwhile? Peter Drucker said “There is a risk you cannot afford to take, and there is the risk you cannot afford not to take.” Giving up gets you nothing. I decided to plant the seeds and try not to get discouraged if I didn’t see immediate results. So I pulled up my boot straps and kept going.

Here’s some tips that helped me:

1-    Find a mentor. When I lived in Los Angeles I had a Pilates instructor that knew my weakness and pushed me accordingly. Now in NYC I had to really look to find someone that inspired me. Taking with a great teacher motivates me to do the exercises correctly and do my homework.

2-    Do the things you don’t want to do. In my experience, the exercises and systems I loathe are the best ones for me. If I continued to only perform the easy exercises I’d have never gotten stronger. The added benefit of doing something you hate is the self confidence that only comes with slaying the demon.

3-    Limit stinkin’ thinkin’. Negative thoughts lead you down the road to no-where. Why not believe in the impossible?

4-    Progress is personal. Comparison to others is pointless. In the studio and in life. We’re all originals. There is no one just like you, so celebrate your unique-ness. Make the most of your sessions and focus on you!

Sometimes life takes you in a different direction than you were first headed, often at an entirely slower pace (just click to tweet;) Pilates is a constant. The specificity of the order and the precision of the exercises can lend comfort and familiarity during a time when nothing else can. I’ve been practicing Pilates for over ten years now (I’m older than you think!) and it always fits in my life wherever I’m at. Pilates is for you whether you’re healthy or injured, fit or out of shape, young or old, That is it’s magic. My advice is to you, take it or leave it, is not give up on yourself five minutes before the breakthrough occurs. In the end it’s always worth the effort, whatever the outcome.

Want more business bounty? Join us this Friday June 20th for our monthly live event, the FORM Biz-nass Social. http://www.formpilates.com/the-form-biz-nass-social/ Get more info and register here today!

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