by Cassendre Xavier
Although I have lived outside of the USA (part of my childhood was spent in Port-au-Prince Haiti), most of my residential experience has been within the borders of the land of milk and honey.
And I've long dreamed of relocating or at least living for a year or two, in various parts of Europe I've been attracted to: Scotland, for its castles, Germany for its order, Switzerland for its wealth.
I have yet to be on a plane to Europe, though, and I'm beginning to think I have an emotional block around this issue, one that is causing me to create various delay tactics of this life-long dream.
Delay tactics are fear-based thoughts and behaviors we use to continue our procrastination.
One way to tell if you are experiencing a delay tactic is if you have created a belief or system of beliefs that keep you going around in circles, comfortably or uncomfortably avoiding a dream of yours.
For instance, one of my delay tactics is coming up with questions – or overanalyzing things.
It can be many questions or just one, and only one question can be enough to put your dreams on hold for a very long time!
One of my major delay tactics (one that I don't just use to avoid moving to a new exciting place, but also to avoid taking part in creative endeavors, like acting, or painting, or writing my first book, or putting together a band to perform my music) is the "task" of being my boldest, most authentic self first.
I tell myself I "can't" just move, that it wouldn't work and I wouldn't be able to make a living in or outside of the fine arts and entertainment sectors. I tell myself I couldn't do any of the things I really want to do until I become the persun I really want to be – which, and this is very, very important, would include looking a certain way.
I tell myself I need to be dressed in this certain, special way, so that upon being seen I am immediately recognized as a "fabulous artist", and then I'll be cool enough to be a success in that new town I live in.
I think of Louise Nevelson, the sculptor, who was, like me, a late bloomer, only coming into her own when in part she changed her wardrobe and started looking as eccentric as her works and her personal and professional beliefs were known to be.
I remember comedian Rodney Dangerfield who also didn't become successful in show business until he began wearing suits on stage, earning him the "respect" that had so long eluded him.
Ironically, I not only was waiting until I had changed my look and become the "fabulous" persun I thought I needed to become before I moved to a new "fabulous" place, I was also waiting until I moved away before I made those changes in my appearance and public persona!
This happens quite often with delay tactics. Our minds are not only good at creating fearful thoughts, they can create multiple ones that work against one another, creating an environment of total emotional paralysis!
If there's something about your appearance you've been wanting to change for a long time, whether it's your weight, your hairstyle, getting your teeth fixed, wearing hippie clothes or goddess gowns or witch/warlock robes, or high fashion… don't wait until you've moved to a new city to do it. And if you want to move to a new city, town, or country, do it! Don't wait until you've created a new "character" you're then confident enough to present to the world. You are good enough right now as you are. You can follow your dreams right now, whatever they are, whether they involve a new creative endeavor, changing your look, taking on personality traits or habits you've admired or invented. You can do what you want, right now, in the body you have right now, and with the resources you have right now. You can do all of this in the town or city you live in right now, no matter where that place is in the world.
Don't worry about any challenges you'll face as you begin to create the changes from your former, more fear-driven appearance and persona to your newer, bolder, more authentic one.
As you make changes, the universe will support you in making smoother transitions into the new, bolder, more authentic you!
A couple of things happened in my life recently to support this.
First, I was on a bus, and one of the passengers was standing near me as I sat. He was black, average height and build, looked to be in his mid 30s, and all "punked" out. He was wearing blue jeans, and a black t-shirt with a heavy metal band's name and graphic image on the front. He wore a black leather vest, had tattoos on his arms, and wore black leather shoes with a huge unicorn-horn-like spike sticking out of the front of each shoe, with smaller spikes in graduating sizes along the sides. On his head were dreadlocks on top, sides shaved, and his ears were adorned with not an excessive multitude but just the right amount of surgical stainless steel studs and bars. And the kicker for me was his facial hair. He wore one very long goatee, which was braided and wrapped on the tip in colorful string.
Now, I've wanted to "punk out" like this many times since the early 1990s. The furthest I've gone is a similar hairstyle of dredlucks on top with sides shaved, with colored string throughout, and with various facial piercings, including eyebrow, nostril, lip, and tongue. I wore blue jeans, rock band black t-shirts, and black leather steel-toe boots.
But this fellow had gone several steps further. He looked, "Unemployable".
One of the reasons I'd not severely changed my look was because I feared not being "employable". But looking at this guy, as I wondered what he did for a living, I realized then that the point is not to avoid being more authentic and bold because you don't know how you'll make a living, but to be and fully express yourself and know that your doing so will present a myriad of ways to provide and sustain you. This guy, I figured, probably worked as a bouncer or bartender in a punk rock or heavy metal band bar or venue, or maybe he was a promoter, or maybe he was a writer, musician, fine arts or house painter, or compute programmer or IT tech, or worked in a restaurant. Who knows? Maybe he changes clothes at his "day job" and looks completely different when he's on the clock.
It was exciting for me to learn I don't have to wait anymore. I can be, or become myself.
The second happening was a couple of weeks ago in University City/West Philly where I live and work.
I have always had facial hair, but I haven't always gotten rid of it to appease what one of my former sweeties used to call "the dominant culture".
About a month ago, and for the first time in over 10 years, I decided to let it grow again. As occurred in the past, this time my letting my facial hair grow was a spiritual yearning, and since then I've enjoyed it greatly, finding my feminine mustache and soft goatee an almost erotic experience to have.
My facial hair is, to me, visible proof of my confidence in my self and in my natural beauty, talents, and powers from nature.
At first I was worried it (my unshaven, untweezed, unbleached, unwaxed, undepilatoried look) would be a big problem in my immediate surroundings.
But the more I focused on my own love and unbridled enjoyment of it, the more I oiled and massaged it in public (just before putting on my eyeliner, mascara and lip gloss because I'm still a girl who likes her make ups!) the more I noticed how responses to it were mostly positive or neutral.
Women I saw every day where I lived seemed to really like it, and smiled at me more. And men smiled, too. Sure, some stared and some were slightly rude about it, but the overall response was a match and a mirror to my own feelings about my facial hair: love, admiration, and enjoyment.
I also noticed I was in probably one of the very best places in Philadelphia to be a woman with facial hair: University City/West Philly.
The immediate neighborhood within which I reside and work is full of transgender and otherwise very progressive folks, as well as various ethnic groups of people who are not strangers to facial hair on women.
Today I am expressing myself more authentically and visualizing traveling and going places where I can be my bolder, more authentic self. And today I'm not holding back doing anything, whether it's altering my appearance, or making plans to travel or begin creative endeavors I've dreamt of for years.
I know being more of myself with joy will show me the way to continue being more of myself with joy.
I encourage you on your path of travel, new adventures and creativity, and becoming more of your own beautiful, bolder, courageous and authentic self!
Cassendre Xavier has been writing the "Soulmate Attraction for the Rest of Us" series at Wisdom Magazine's online edition since 2011. She is the author of the forthcoming book Soulmate Attraction for the Rest of Us: Dating & Relationships for the Poly, Recovering, Survivor & Tantric, and has presented her workshop of the same title at Sisterspace Weekend in Darlington, Maryland (September 5-7, 2014) and the 10th Annual Poly Living Conference in Philadelphia 2015 (February 20-22). Cassendre has been living with bipolar depression her whole life, been a member of Philadelphia's LGBT, polyamorous, and New Age communities since 1991, and from 1996-1999 facilitated Sisters Healing Together, a peer support group for women survivors of incest with a special focus on compulsive overeating, which she also founded, at the William Way LGBT Community Center in Philadelphia. Cassendre is the creator of the popular Affirmations for Survivors guided meditation audio series ("Self-Love" and "Spirituality" were released in 2007; "Sexuality" and "Life Skills" are forthcoming later in 2015). For more information, please visit http://cassEndrExavier.com