When I was a girl in the seventh grade, I was teased and called "Snowflake." Why? I'm really not sure. That was my first year in a racially "integrated" school in the little town of Star, North Carolina.
I suspect I was called Snowflake by some of my new white classmates because I was classed as "African-American" or "colored" but I looked as white as any of them. Teasing can be a way for kids to deal with their bafflement I guess. But it was frightening and humiliating for me at twelve years old to be taunted. It made me want to hide under a rock and never come out.
The reason that I bring this up now is because the transitions of the past six months - specifically my move to Canada - have for some reason caused a massive insurrection of unresolved fears and internal resistances.
What does a massive insurrection of internal fears and resistances look like? Well mine look like, or sounds like (might be more accurate), a hailstorm of dwarf voices. All of the little voices delivering some kind of nudge towards that rock.
An interesting and effective exercise (suggested by my personal coach Trish Lay when I told her of the paralysis caused by my overwhelming generalized fear) has helped me. She suggested I merely name each fear or "dwarf" as it emerges. (Trish encourages play.)
Meet some of my dwarfs.
1. Blamey (He says "It's <you name him/her but it's usually John's> fault.")
2. Needy (Says "It's too scary to be all alone.")
3. Sneaky (Says "Just check it out when nobody is looking.")
4. Iffy (Says "If you do that, it will end in disaster. Don't do it." - This one sounds familiarly like my older brother's voice from our childhood.)
5. Don't Deservy (Says "That's not appropriate for you anyway. Forget it.")
6. Sleepy (Says "Just take nap" as a solution to just about anything.)
7. Shamey (Says "You SHOULDN'T do <some wonderful thing,> Why? Because <any shaming excuse will do>. )
8. Opposey (Says "I'm not going to do that!" Why? Just because!)
9. Dialoguey (This one just gets into imagined back and forth conversations with someone - often John - then tells the next two to come in and deal with the situation.)
12. Rushy (Just tells me to "Hurry up." Why? Just because. There doesn't have to be any reason at all. Just rush through life.)
13. Pleasey (Says "Just smile and act nice." As if this works in resolving a problem.)
14. Homey (Tells me that the only comfortable and safe place is back at home if I'm out and at home if I've not gone out yet.)
15. Go Alongy (This one tells me that everyone else's idea is better than mine so just go along with them.)
You get it?
It was quite enlightening to learn that I could name more than seventy dwarfs just on my first day of exploring my mental landscape of fears and resistances. No wonder I became paralyzed! Who can function happily with all that going on in her head!
The best lesson I learned from this exercise was that as soon as I named my fear (dwarf), the fear melted away and the little dwarf lost its power over me. I could act again, with confidence.
I wish that I'd known about naming the dwarfs back in seventh grade when life was so new and so frightening and all I'd had to prepare me for what was to come were pictures on television of armed soldiers escorting little black kids through angry white crowds into their classrooms at their new "integrated" school.
Oh well, better to grow later than not at all. Ay?
Do you have any dwarfs?