As the Enrichment investigations moved offstage, I spent countless hours journaling about my own inner workings, my own mysteries.
What prevents me from being creative? Why do I struggle so mightily– usually with the voices in my own head– over naming myself creative?
I began naming those voices, my internal naysayers, as my Shadow Shes. During one especially memorable Creativity Salon with Teejei and Jaia, I realized that– of course– there were seven of them. Seven personas, aspects of myself, who prevent me from being my best self, the sort of person I aspire to daily.
Naming them gave me a modicum of power over them. I began to recognize when one of these Shadows was in ascendancy, even if I was powerless to do anything about it. But this awareness led to more questions peppering my journal and countless violet sticky notes scattered about my house.
Eventually, all these questions boiled down to this: What does She need?
When She Who Compares comes out, and I find myself paralyzed, sleep destroyed by a social hangover, where I question everything I’ve said or done, anxious and worried over the judgments of others . . . Whiskey Tango Foxtrot can I do about it? What does She need?
My answers ranged from basic advice like “listen,” or “eat something nourishing,” to the more nuanced practices of sitting in Circle.
After reading my niece the same storybook approximately twelve times in a row, as she pointed out the impending dangers and sighed over the happy ending, I realized that I needed something just as visual. Something that points out the traps my Shadow Shes fall into, and suggests alternatives.
And so I sketch them out: She Who is Stuck and Prickly She, Linestepper She and She Who Compares, Soliloquy She Who Catalogues Her Shame, She Who Thinks No Thing Good, and She Who is Overwhelmed.
And thus, this project about creativity became about living creatively in an ongoing attempt to find out what I need in order to be my best selves.
In order to create more peace in this fractured world.
Who are your shadow selves? Do you know how to pacify them? Could you benefit from learning about the tools that have worked for others?
By supporting the project, you can help share these stories and practices with a broader Circle, with the Circle of Yourself.