This Thursday, I saw Rogers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella with one of my best friends. Ever since I saw the movie version with Brandy and Whitney Houston (RIP), the Rogers and Hammerstein rendition of the Cinderella story is definitely one of my favorites. So naturally, I was super hyped to see it in person, being both a Cinderella fan and huge theatre geek. My absolute favorite song from the movie version is “Impossible” (because ball gown transformation + Brandy + Whitney Houston + perky optimism):
The stage version was quick to win my heart as well. Especially if you were there… that quick change, live, from her maid outfit to her ballgown? Downright magical. Live theatre is always an incredible experience, but there’s something so refreshingly optimistic about this particular show. It’s all about loving who you are, sharing kindness with others, and speaking up for what you believe in. Plus it features beautiful gowns and sparkly shoes so really, everyone wins!
Since my most recent flare-up of severe anxiety, I’ve begun the process of learning self-compassion and shame-resilience skills. Let me tell you, learning to apply love and kindness to your relationship with yourself when you’ve spent many years feeling ashamed and broken is difficult. Some might even say… impossible. Exercising patience with myself as I learn new habits is often harder than mastering the habits themselves, because patience is a compassionate gift that I have often told myself I do not deserve.
It’s easy to get disheartened when you have a bad day or find yourself slipping into bad habits… and that disheartening feeling often breeds other negative feelings, which makes the pressure feel even more unbearable. In those moments, I spend too much time attending to the content of an anxious episode rather than the cause– because for some reason, contemplating the world’s most pressing questions is much easier to my mind than taking a moment to show myself love. But I’ve learned the value in taking a breath to refocus my energy when it pulls me out of my moment, and then ask myself what the most loving thing I can do for myself is, and then do it.
Cinderella’s impossible was the opportunity to have a day off and meet the love of her life. My impossible is loving myself, anxiety and all. No guilt. No shame. Self-compassion is difficult to prioritize but absolutely necessary, and each time I’m able to choose myself over a less self-loving choice is another step closer to possible. There is a difference between being self-centered and being centered in yourself– that is, remaining rooted in who you are and acting from a place that is grounded and cared for. I may not need a gown and glass slippers (although they are certainly always welcome), but I’m getting there. It’s possible.
I tried to find a video from the company performing the show I saw, but there weren’t any on YouTube. Paige was my Cinderella, and even though this Fairy Godmother is new to me she’s just as spellbinding!
And real talk: Dat. Quick change.