Your Online Persona has feelings too
Part 3: Taking care of my demons
When I first started to explore this nagging feeling that my online persona felt like a lame version of the real me, I thought the issue was just a matter of practicing and getting comfortable with occupying space
So I kept going, I kept posting, and I swore I would not do infographic posts unless I felt that they added value. Around that time, I was also using templates that I bought from someone because the visual aspect of Instagram has always kept me from loving the platform as a content creator.
One of the things I learned was how to tap into my intuition to know whether or not a situation required immediate intervention or doing nothing, and trusting that the answers will come to me. Sounds woo woo, I know, but this is an important lesson for a perfectionist/overachiever to understand. There are things you cannot force into existence. My course was one of them. Like a baby, I had to let it gestate until it was ready to be born.
I kept journaling, I kept reading, I kept talking about my idea with anyone that had the time...trusting that the pieces would fall in place at the right moment.
I came up with several concepts, but nothing felt right.
But, on January 17th at 3:17 AM, I rolled out of bed and grabbed my phone to type "Alicia as my maiden". Finally, the seed had sprouted.
That moment changed everything, because I finally knew what direction I needed to take. The Instagram feed that I had did not match the energy and the vibe that I wanted to communicate, the world of Alice in Wonderland is more colorful and surreal than the images I had been posting.
That was another trigger for my recovering perfectionist self. What do I do now? Throw everything away and start over with a new design? And how can I communicate what I want to say with my basic Canva skills? I didn't want to let that become a limitation, but I did not want to feel that I had to add another thing on my list.
Up until February this year, I've been enthusiastic about this idea but I always felt that my perfectionism was a sword dangling over my head, waiting for me to slip so it could have a comeback. It was a demon waiting for me to fail so it could possess me in a vulnerable moment.
I had to sit with this. So I did one of my practices, which is inspired by Tsultrim Allione's book Feeding your Demons. In my visualization, my demon looked exactly like Alice, except she didn't have eyes, nose, or mouth. She sat in a chair, alone, and when I asked her "What do you want?" she said "Certainty."
My demon needed safety in the face of uncertainty. She needed to know this was going to work.
She needed reassurance, and she was so desperate for it that she was willing to drown us both if I didn't comply. The room was filling up with water and snakes and frogs appeared out of nowhere.
I told her I couldn't give her that certainty, and I felt so much love for her, I could feel her fear. Trying to control the outcome of something that is not entirely under my control would be like trying to hold the ocean. That became our mantra. We repeated it together.
You cannot hold the ocean. You cannot hold the ocean. You cannot hold the ocean.
My demon transformed and exploded into thousands of monarch butterflies.
Wow. Not only was that a powerful message from my subconscious, it was also a sample of the feeling I wanted to communicate and the transformation that I wanted to teach in my course.
Safety while throwing yourself into the unknown...that's something I need to provide to myself so I can show up, create, and enjoy the journey.
Part 4: I am not an island
One of the most fascinating things about this work is that it continually makes me work on myself and I keep evolving at a rate that is almost scary. I'm dropping baggage left, right and center! I went from feeling unworthy to feeling that I wanted more out of life and that it was within my reach to make that happen. But, as I am making it happen, I keep discovering new demons, or different versions of the same old story.
I am okay with that, I know that there is no bypassing my demons on my way to making my dreams come true. Transformation and personal growth is not a "set it and forget it" activity. It is a continuous, never ending process. So you better be in love with your present self, warts and all, because you can't wait until you are beautiful and rich to start liking who you are. That's not how it works!
After my experience with demon Alice, I went back to waiting and reflecting mode. I had a lot of work to do. I had to decide how to continue my Instagram feed now that I knew the aesthetics I wanted, and I also had to work on the course content.
I had to give myself permission to feel safe and supported in this process. The more I embodied that, the more clarity I had in what I wanted to do.
In February, I took big steps towards my goal:
- I joined a Mastermind to prepare for the launch
- I decided that I was going to change the design, and I was not going to do it slowly. I was just going to do it, and I was going to start in March.
- I decided that I was capable to create designs that spoke to the surreal world of the subconscious. Within a month, I learned basic Photoshop skills and that was enough to get started.
This may or may not seem like a lot to you, but for me this is the equivalent of bending time and space. It took me almost 4 months to get my act together to launch my Instagram, and in the span of 4 weeks I became a basic Photoshop user, I invested in myself, and I overhauled the entire feed without caring about the consequences (would it look bad? would people like it? was it all a waste of time then?)
You are not an island. Emotional support in your solopreneurship is just as important as strategy!
I created psychological safety not by retreating into an island, but by surrounding myself with other women who are doing the same. Perfectionists have a habit of going at it alone. It is only as I type this paragraph that I realize how much I have come along that I now seek help freely and I do not take that as a reflection of my intellectual capacities.
Who is this woman!? I love her! Just a couple of weeks ago THIS WEBSITE DIDN'T EVEN EXIST. But, when I asked myself, "What would make me feel more confident so I stop beating around the bush and tell people that I got a course and they should get on the list?" My answer was to have a basic website. Having the website made it real. So in less than a month, I designed this from scratched, created content, and I even added a section that I was not anticipating (Bootstrap Marketing).