Permission doesn’t always come from outside of us
A recent online training I took revealed to me just how much I have been holding myself back from experiencing the best that this life can offer. It wasn’t new information to me at all. It simply revealed a fresh layer of understanding and resonance that I have been seeking to feel and know. Receiving this knowing highlighted so many facets of experiences in my life. Experiences that I thought I already understood and had integrated into my body, mind and soul. This week, I learned how to use permission to open to the gifts of the universe.
How I used to experience Permission
When I was growing up, in the thick of the 80s, I was subjected to the typical patriarchal model of a family. Ironically, being from a mixed family, Mexican on my father’s side and “White” (European descent,) on my mother’s side, dad was in charge. And everything had to be “approved” by dad. A recent conversation on Facebook revealed a comment:
“When raised in the age of “husband rules the roost” it is hard to give up the “must make him happy” syndrome.”-Kelly Martin, (former Bunny Girl at Playboy Club)
This was my experience growing up. Very old school, not typical of a Mexican family at all, which is usually led by the Matriarch. Though when grandma was around, she was definitely in charge! 🤣
Permission to follow my dreams
Permission to follow my dreams did not come easy from my father. He wanted me to be a doctor or a lawyer. Typical, right?
But the stage was calling me. Luckily for me, my parents owned a dance studio. So I sort of had permission to pursue that “hobby.” I was winning first place at all the competitions and ranking high scores overall, as a soloist, at Nationals. Second place overall at Showstoppers Nationals Dallas, at the age of 13, second to a pre-pro boy that was in his last year as an amateur performer. Not too bad for someone that was just enjoying a hobby.
At the age of 14, I chose to pursue ballet as a career. The romantic idea of the starving artist ballerina and her pursuit in using her body as her medium was intoxicating at that age. Yes, I did read, Dancing on My Grave, by Gelsey Kirkland, (affiliate link) and vowed that I would never end up as unstable as she.
Somehow, my mother convinced my dad to invest in my career as a ballerina, and the journey began. I was an apprentice in a regional ballet company at the age of 14. Scholarships to summer programs and a semester at the Bolshoi Ballet Academy in Moscow followed.
And then instead of looking at colleges my junior and senior year, I was looking for ballet companies to join. Despite my contemporary background, it never occurred to me to pursue any contemporary options. But I had permission to pursue the ballet life. Again, not sure how, but it was granted.
Permission to Shine
Becoming a professional ballerina was definitely not the rosey life I had dreamed it would be. I spent 2 and a half miserable years trying to figure out why I wasn’t happy doing what I thought I had wanted to do. A corps de ballet member, with occasional opportunities for soloist roles as “B cast.”
Making the transition from Ballerina to Showgirl and I felt another ignition of my passion. Turns out that I was dying to perform, not rehearse all day for weeks with a small chance to perform every 2 months.
Again, the permission that was needed to make this switch had to come from my parents. I was 20 years old when I made that phone call. My parents granted me permission to audition for a topless Showgirl show. I was granted permission by the artistic director to leave the company. And I gave myself permission to pursue the spotlight in Donn Arden’s Jubilee!
Becoming your own parent
After I retired from the stage and have been navigating this journey through life as a non-performer, I found that I was still seeking permission from my parents. Therapy revealed this. I had no idea that once people left home, they no longer needed to get permission from their parents. That they in fact had to become their own parents.
I have always been a late bloomer.
It took longer than most, but I finally experienced what they call individuation in psychology and became my own parent. This was in 2020, my friend. That year revealed a lot about how I had been living my life and playing small. Maybe you felt the same?
Who gives YOU permission now?
As I have been enjoying this journey of re-igniting my passion of the Showgirl, her history and her legacy, I had a realization. I realized that I had not given myself permission to shine in any other arena than the stage.
This was a huge realization, actually.
I had the permission to pursue my dreams of being a performer. Then I went on to a design career, again, permission was somehow granted to pursue it when I earned a degree. And then when I found that corporate life and employee life weren’t for me, I pursued the entrepreneur life. I sort of had permission from the parents. After all, they too had been entrepreneurs in a previous life.
It is incredible how layers and layers of permissions and consent to be ruled have had to be removed over the past few years. I am sure there are still more layers, on various topics of life, that will have to be examined and removed. But that is a story for another time.
During the online training last week, I realized that I have been struggling with needing permission my whole life.
“Permission to live, permission to love and permission to lead.” Move the People
A lifetime of becoming
As with all learning I experience, I am immediately called to implement. And so I dug backwards into my life experiences and saw how I had been given permission by various sources in this life. Each experience aligned with the teaching of that coach.
I had thought that in my life, I was always just making a decision to do something. But I missed the subtle nuance that is the difference between making a decision and giving permission.
The difference is crystal clear now. I can feel it to my core. I had thought that I was making a decision to change my life in every instance, but what I was really experiencing was granting permission for the next step, the next evolution, the next part of my becoming.
The vibration of decision versus permission is so faint, it took someone else’s spotlight to reveal it to me.
How I use permission now
In just a week, I have figured out how I was able to chose ballet over competitive dance, how I made the leap from ballerina to Showgirl, how I felt confident to pursue the spotlight in Jubilee!, go from Showgirl to designer, and how I went from unemployable to confident entrepreneur. (Giving myself permission to be the mother is a whole different animal to explain…)
Permission—the subtle difference between doubt and commitment.
I have identified the ways in which I have given myself permission over the past few years. Consequently, I created a short guide to help you identify times when you have given away your power. It is filled with prompts and examples so that you can begin with the little things like what color lipstick you put on today to bigger things like putting your health first.
You can download “Why people-pleasing is costing you your freedom: 10 Shifts for Personal Empowerment to Quit Self-Neglect” by subscribing to my email list.
Why people-pleasing is costing you your freedom:
10 Shifts for Personal Empowerment to Quit Self-Neglect
(So that you can start living your best life)
A free guide for curious lifelong learners who want to amplify their presence but don’t know how.