Emotional Spanx

Brushing my teeth this morning, Idina Menzel’s “Let It Go” was playing in my head.

As I dressed, I reflected on an email I received yesterday from a friend who is undergoing what he says is a new way of living as he comes to terms with being in remission from a serious type of cancer. Reading Jean Shinoda Bolen’s Close to the Bone, he was struck by her argument that having a life threatening disease is a spiritual journey, and its components are  “…finding meaning, creativity, and joy in life.…”  He is especially thinking about creativity.

Then I recalled my reunion yesterday with a former colleague who I hadn’t seen in ten years. After many years in a corporate environment, she left without a specific plan. Her skill as a “connector” led her to one person after another, one opportunity after another, and now she has formed dynamic arrangement with a team of like-minded consultants. “I’ve found my people,” she told me.

Welcome to five minutes in my head.

Why these three vignettes in rapid succession? My mind is “background processing” themes of risk, creativity and trust as I prepare to embark on a Master’s in Fine Arts in creative nonfiction. I’ve written that I’m scared, and I am. But this five minutes of synapses felt like taking a step.

As a person immersed in the return-on-investment world of marketing and strategic planning, most of it plied in the corporate world, I have been accustomed to control. I’ve controlled budgets, tactics and people but perhaps most of all, I’ve controlled me. Impulse control isn’t a bad thing, of course. It’s necessary. We learn from an early age that we can’t throw tantrums to get our way. We learn how to stay out of trouble. We learn to conform to the expected.

I became something of an expert in emotional Spanx.

Deciding to write after years of rationalizing why I couldn’t or shouldn’t is frightening. But it’s also freeing. I’m letting it go.

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