A few years ago, my dance partner Ben was posting a bunch of dance videos as he does, and we had a running joke to see if anyone would outdo my mother in being the first one to like it or comment. Most of the time, Sue Grippo won. I can list a bunch of friends who can attest to Mom’s supportive, enthusiastic Facebook-liking habits, often accompanied by a comment that ends in an exclamation point! (Noelle, Allison, Melanie, Shandoah, - amiright?)
In other words, if you ever feel down on yourself or not good enough, friend my mother on Facebook. Her name is Susan Grippo. I got her permission. This woman is everyone’s biggest fan.
and I say that jokingly, but also for real.
When you hold yourself back from doing something creative or dancing, think about my mom scrolling through Facebook and waiting to see something inspiring. Think about my mom saying “woo!” loudly and clapping right before she hits the “like” button. Think of my mom who has been a caretaker for my father for the last 7 years after a debilitating stroke, who went through treatment for and survived stage 3 breast cancer and stage 4 melanoma at the same time, who is one of the strongest women I know - to her fault sometimes.
She wants to, needs to, see your creative energy coming through the screen so that she can be reminded of her own. And she doesn’t just like your posts because she feels obligated to, she likes them because she sees what you’re doing as truly a miracle.
that’s how I want you to see yourself.
(And of course, Mom, that’s how I want YOU to see yourself.)
Now, here’s the trap. I’m not saying you should ONLY see yourself as a miracle IF my mother likes your post. You are a miracle no matter what she or anyone else says or does. Approval seeking can become a drug. If you find yourself double-checking (or quintuple-checking) social media posts to see the status of likes received, chances are, you are an approval seeker. Chances are your mother or father didn’t give you enough approval, or gave you conditional approval - as in, you only felt loved when you performed well in school or won a soccer game.
I’m not a therapist, but I am a coach and I thought that was worth mentioning. If you get really emotional reading that OR if you feel totally numb, it might be worth talking to your therapist or coach about it.
here’s something that might help in the meantime.
Instead of looking to my mother or your mother for approval, let’s turn our attention to the Great Mother. The maker of rain and sun and also rainbows. The Mother who is with us always, even when we choose to ignore her or drink Starbucks and feel guilty after throwing out the disposable cup, imagining how many thousands of those get thrown out every day.
I’m talking about Mama Earth, the Great Goddess we live in. If that’s too hippie-dippy for you, I’m talking about Mother Nature. If that’s too hippie-dippy for you, I’m not sure why you’re reading this book because I am quite a bit hippie-dippy once you get to know me. Maybe this chapter will make you feel more comfortable with what all that crap is about anyway.
So why am I talking about earthly goddess stuff in a book about dance? Well, dance involves our BODIES and our bodies are so connected to the earth. And the moon. If you’re someone who menstruates, your cycle is influenced by the tides of the moon each month. If you’re not, your body is still 80% water and is still influenced. The seasons around us are cyclical, too, and all of that affects how we feel, think, and act - whether or not we know it.
I also bring this up here because if you can tap into this ever present energy around us in nature, you might find relief from approval seeking. You might just remember that you are one with nature. She is supporting you. She is literally holding you here on your feet or butt by the forces of gravity. She’s not letting go. You are ok. You are more than ok - here’s that reminder again-
you are a miracle.
No matter what your mama or someone else’s mama has said or done, Mama Earth is ever loving and will help restore you. If you’ve ever found solace in being by the ocean, you’ll know what I mean.
Tapping into more of this energy - maybe through actually going to the ocean more, or going to the park, or spending time with puppies or trees - will without a doubt help you feel more grounded. From that place you can mother yourself the way you’ve always wished you were mothered. You can approve of yourself. You can like your own facebook posts if you want! Do what it takes to love and approve of yourself and watch your world transform.
the miracle is in you. my mom said so.
with love from Sue and me,
p.s. One way to feel less lonely is to check out my new online program called Dance Alone, Together. It’s a series of videos that guide you, while you’re alone in your room, into your body and creative expression. It’s currently the same cost as a dance class, but it contains so much more. Find out more and sign up here.