ropes, mirrors, and voices.

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LOVE TAZA x OLAY-4LOVE TAZA x OLAY-3LOVE TAZA x OLAY-2LOVE TAZA x OLAYfor a large majority of my life, i was a dancer. you know that cheesy quote you see everywhere that says “eat, sleep, breathe, dance”? that was me. like, 24/7. that was my life. i was obsessed and i loved it and it made me feel alive and fulfilled and everything else. for many years, i felt most at home on a big old stage, dancing my heart out in front of an audience and most comfortable alone in a dark studio late at night, improv-ing to everything from radiohead to mozart. i spent hours and hours and hours in the dance studio, from the time i was a little girl until moments before i graduated from the juilliard school with my bachelor of fine arts degree in dance. dancing was my life. i truly would only eat, sleep, breathe, and dance.

it was also incredibly brutal. a dance studio with mirrors on every wall, repeating steps and choreography countless times in a row striving towards perfecting it, combined with the unfortunate reality that some teachers vocalize critique in rather hurtful ways doesn’t necessarily do much for your confidence at times. and so sometimes, when i wasn’t feeling my strongest, there would be these voices within my own head that would show up. they weren’t kind. they weren’t encouraging. and they have taken years to quiet, even after i’ve moved on from my time inside a dance studio.

while often times others might be the ones to first plant voices of doubt in our heads saying we aren’t good enough, smart enough, thin enough, we’re too sensitive, not sensitive enough, i mean the list is never ending…, why do we allow them any space in our valuable real estate of a mind to linger? constructive criticism is one thing, but inside and outside of the dance studio in my life, i’ve had my share of hurtful comments thrown my way that i’ve given much more thought to than i ever should have.

josh shared a story with me the other day about elephants. how when baby elephants are captured, the capturer uses a simple small rope. as the elephant grows and becomes an adult, the capturer never switches out the rope for something stronger, even though the elephant is fully capable of breaking through that small rope now without any problem and becoming free. there is no need to change the rope out because the elephant believes he cannot break it, and so he never tries.

i hate admitting it, but there have been things said to me in my upbringing and years in the studio that i have believed to be true about myself, because someone with more power at the time over me said them. and so i took them to heart. and i let them fester inside of me. sometimes, for years. and unfortunately, those comments paved a path in my own mind for my own thoughts along similar lines to start being believed by me. and while sticking up for yourself takes guts, sticking up for yourself from yourself sometimes takes more guts.

while i loved how i felt being on a stage dancing my heart out, it has been more gratifying at times over the last decade, to look in the mirror at myself and love the woman i see, rather than pick her apart. being hard on yourself comes with being human. but being kind to yourself comes with a lot of self-care and self-love.

it’s worth it.

now that i am a mother, i want to make sure my sons and daughters know and trust their self-worth from an early age. i can’t shelter them from the comments of others, but hopefully if they know how to love themselves, their inner dialogue about themselves will always be a little more kind and forgiving. one of the best ways i can do that is to show them that i love my own self. my flaws, my changing body from child birth and aging. my growth as a woman, a wife, a mama, a friend. love yourself and yourself will love you back. i just wish i could have told that to my twelve-year-old self, my sixteen-year-old self. even my twenty-one-year-old self. it’s okay though, because i’m telling it to my thirty-two-year-old self. and while quieting that inner voice of negativity surely won’t always be smooth sailing in the years to come, i know i’m more than that voice, through practice i’ve learned how to soften that voice, and with time i’m confident that voice will be gone forever.

thank you to olay for sponsoring this blog post.

  1. Caitlin

    My favorite post to date. ❤️

  2. I can relate to this so much! I received my A.A. with an emphasis in Dance and later received my B.A. in Dane Studies and I know first hand how studio/rehearsal life can be on your mind and body! Thankfully I am at a place where I no longer “eat, sleep, breathe dance” but I am out enjoying life and feeling confident about it!

  3. I almost cried reading this. It really hit home, I guess I never realized how hard I was on my own self before. The pressure of being a mom and wife and blogger and everything else in between. I guess it gets so hard to remember to love yourself but it’s very important. Thank you Naomi for that reminder on this beautiful Friday morning.

    P.S I love this part
    “i can’t shelter them from the comments of others, but hopefully if they know how to love themselves, their inner dialogue about themselves will always be a little more kind and forgiving. one of the best ways i can do that is to show them that i love my own self. my flaws, my changing body from child birth and aging. my growth as a woman, a wife, a mama, a friend. “

  4. Sophie

    Oh i remember videos of you dancing and you were amazing!

    If you d like to share some, I d like to see them!

  5. Possibly my favorite post of yours. Beautiful words and beautiful message. Thanks for the inspiration.

  6. Claire

    ❤️

    this post and the “TWO PIECES OF MY HEART, AT TEN WEEKS”‘s one truly make me love your blog even more (if that’s even possible!)!

    I find it really hard to trust myself, to be positive and to try my best to believe in my abilities (like many people I guess…). currently preparing an examination, these words are just perfect and make me wanna try harder to calm those voices too!

    thank you so much for your blog, your words and all the positive vibes you put in everything you share! I follow your blog since the birth of samson and it’s always a real pleasure to come and read your posts, here or on instagram!

    all the best for the 7 of you! best regards from France,
    Claire.

  7. Kris

    That is so wonderfully put into words. That low self esteem and self hate that is generated by our society and upbringing. Tis so hard to be a woman and break free of the ropes of this world.
    Everyday i try my best to be the beautifull example of self love for myself and my children. Whenever i say i’m their beautifull momma their spirits lift and they come to hug me.
    Pls use this blog to spread this message. It can only lead to more love and kindness in this world.
    Thank you for sharing.

  8. Ashlyn

    You continue to amaze me! Thank you for being such a positive influence and a force for good in this overly critical world we live in. I love reading your blog and always feel inspired through your apparent commitment to your family, faith, and continual self-love and self-care. You’re such an incredible example to me!

  9. Lara

    I think this is my favorite post you’ve ever written. This message resonates deeply. Thank you.

  10. Hey Naomi!

    I have been following your content for a few months now and I have loved everything! You have such a precious personality that shines through all of your posts! Thank you for sharing your light.

    I really enjoyed reading this post. I, too, was a dancer and have felt many of the same emotions and have had the same thoughts you did. I now teach at a studio in Utah and I love it. I am always very cautious to what I say/how I critique my dancers because I don’t want them feeling those same things. The world is a much harsher place today than it was even a decade ago, and we all have enough negativity going on without our teachers and bosses and whoever adding to it.

    Thank you again. I love keeping up with you and your adorable family. I am excited to read more! <3

  11. josh

    How does that make it less sincere??

  12. Teresita

    I needed this.
    From one mama to another mama, thank you for sharing your heart with all of us, dear one.

  13. kristen

    So good, Naomi! Best thing you’ve ever written!

    btw, I was searching eBay for vintage piggy banks and saw one that reminded me of your daughter and her love of pandas. Had to share! :) It’s absolutely darling!

    https://www.ebay.com/itm/253808631396

  14. Mo

    I love all of your posts, Naomi, but this in my absolute favorite. Just wonderful! Have a great day!

  15. Maya

    SO, SO, SO BEAUTIFULLY PUT <3, HOW OH HOW DID YOU AND jOSH MEET? I BET IT IS THE MOST ADORABLE STORY. XO, maya

  16. Taryn Mendenhall

    Hi Naomi! I’ve been following your blog for years and I LOVED this post! I have really enjoyed reading about you and your family growing and changing and adapting to life’s ups and downs – and I am glad you have reached this place in your life where you are loving yourself and quieting negativity. Thank you for inspiring me to keep doing the same and thanks for sharing your lives with the world!

  17. Rocio

    I stopped following your blog for a while for some reason, after reading this I’m a fan again. Thank you for your honesty, you are a brave soul <3

  18. Ela

    💕

  19. Lucie

    Thank you. I cried. And I will definitely try a bit more. For the sake of my, my family, my children. Thank you.

  20. beautiful post, naomi. not only are those voices hard to silence but sometimes they become a part of our own dialogue with others & we shift from one who is hurt to the one hurting others. I hope others will read this and break the cycle. It’s not alway easy.

  21. Allison

    I read this post right when you posted it and I loved it! I feel the same way about my kids now that I’m a new mom, Thank you for posting this.

    love, Allison
    http://clementschronicles.com

  22. My daughter is in Dance, and I know that is why she loves y’all over here. Thann you for sharing Taza. I’m on break reading as usual.
    tangie

  23. Anastasia

    If that story about the elephants bothered you, I recommend you do a little research about dairy cows. They are often treated worse. So sad.
    It’s important to free yourself, but once you are in a safe and confident position, it is also important to extend that hand to others.

    Think about going vegan! :)

  24. Susanna

    Love this post so much!!! I was a dancer too but I feel like this can be applied to so many things in life! Thanks for posting :-)

  25. Jenny

    what an inspiring message! i was not a dancer & i completely can relate to this whole post! I’ve had always been inspired by you to start a blog since i started following you eight years ago but i have always doubted myself because of how negative & judgemental people are. you are so strong & inspirational never stop being you!

  26. Lauren

    I can’t thank you enough for this post. It was exactly what I needed to hear. Thank you so much. ❤️

  27. marie

    Thank you so much for this blog you and your lovely family make me smile.

  28. Allie

    Where in the world did you get that adorable lobster top?

  29. Loved reading this. Thank you so much for sharing. 💛