THE ARENA: A Constant Theme
Updated: Jun 29
A Facebook Post:
“If you are not in the arena getting your ass kicked on occasion because you were being brave, I am not interested in or open to your feedback about my work.“ ~Brene Brown, Call To Courage, Netflix
I’m not sure what’s going on today, but The Arena keeps popping up everywhere I go. I ran across the Making Of for one of my favorite Lindsey Stirling videos—her song “The Arena” that opens with the famous quote by Theodore Roosevelt, so of course I had to watch the music video again. That led me some of her other moments of her behind the scenes, wearing no makeup, ratty hair full of sweat, on the first day of bungling through new dances.
It reminds me of the blog post I wrote sometime ago, Naked In the Arena, inspired by that video, that song, and that quote (all of which are are in the post). Naturally, the words “vulnerability hangover“ are all over my blog as I open up about this creative process I slog through and wrangle...as I open old Tupperware containers long ago shoved in the back of the freezer because they were full of worms... as I talk about injury and recovery.
Fast forward to evening. I hunt for some distraction while I do physical therapy. I come across Brene Brown’s Netflix show on how vulnerability and courage are the same. She opens up about her first horrific experience after giving her famous vulnerability TED talk, and how that vulnerability hangover led her to discover that very Roosevelt quote. The quote would give her the name of her first book, Daring Greatly. (Great book, great talk.)
This was absolutely an act of Synchronicity, like mine today. So many Muses, all bwonging me on the head that I’m headed in the right direction.
--Today I started the video editing of the footage from my Memphis show, where I did some experimental stuff I’ve never put on the stage before.
--For the last couple weeks, I’ve been drafting up a blog series that outlines my journey from baby dancer through the belly dance extravaganza to the grand experiment I’m playing with now. As I said, there are Tupperware boxes thawing on the counter. The worms within are wriggling, and I’m about to spill some things that I have always held close against my heart in the Book of Secrets.
--Much of my days lately are taken up choreographing to a famous song composed for Riverdance. And I’m not doing Irish dance to it. I’m introducing the range of movements that comprise the Earth Element of my System, because this song has always been the culminating seed-flourish-death-rebirth song since the first time I taught this class--before I was really ready.
I rarely feel “ready” for much of anything I do. After this latest ass kicking, lying splattered in the sand for six years, it’s been a feat to get back up and go another round. It was easier when I had this slew of people behind me, rallying against drunk driving and gathering a wave of rah-rah as I went.
This time, because I’ve done it mostly in the cave while licking my black sheep wounds and playing mad scientist in the laboratory...I have my nearest and dearest, and I have myself. And that’s been enough.
I’ve been gathering the armor and weapons that let me re-enter the arena. Brene Brown's quote above, and others from Game of Thrones techie/creator geeks become armor that let world-renowned creators answer some of the biggest condemnations of my career for me. 🖕😻🖕
It’s actually less like armor and weapons than it is having the courage to become transparent because I trust my art so much that I’m therefore unable to be wounded by projectiles and punches. When I can get to that state, attacks pass through me like I’m not even there.
So here’s to being nekkid in the arena, round after round, year after year.