essays by shé

Essay #28: permission

Someone recently asked permission to use a poem of mine in her movement therapy class. She invited me to attend when she read it, with the added incentive, “You can dance to your poem!”

This pissed me off. Who the hell is she to give me permission to dance to my own poem? I kept trying to feel grateful and flattered, but I didn’t.

Weeks went by and finally the penny dropped, the triggering belief emerged: I have been waiting for permission most of my life — to love, to dance, to sing, to act, to publish… to exist!

I’ve been waiting for permission from folks I wouldn’t trust to take out the garbage correctly. No wonder I’m angry at non-dancers teaching dance class, non-writers publishing books. Jealousy joins the bandwagon, stirred up by the thought: if I’m not good enough, they sure as hell aren’t.

Have I mentioned that self-loathing interferes with world peace?

Turns out, once again, I am the one holding me back: thinking, “I’m not good enough yet but if I study another twelve years, maybe I will be.”

The fact is I don’t need anyone’s permission to do what I want, when I want.

So now I’m angry I’ve wasted so much time: auditioning for shows instead of working on my own; applying for jobs instead of creating them.

But was it a waste? Maybe this is all part of my damn (read, wonderful) journey here. Tripping stressfully along until someone finally comes up to me and says point blank: you can dance to your poem.

Of course I can. And this coming ArtsWalk in downtown Olympia, I will.
7pm October 7 at Fusion Studio, 302 Columbia NW.
Come by if you can. I’ll be singing Alleluia, gratefully.




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