Susanne chats about how she really doesn’t want to work through the shame she has carried till today. Though she knows the self-power is in the community that shares and talks about the shaming that is present.
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How do we let go of the shame we carry?
Hello, and welcome to another episode of the Pointe To Rise Podcast; my name is Susanne, and I am your host now today. Well, and it’s just going to be shared as always from the most profound struggle that I’m exploring and sharing my journey with you. This one hasn’t healed at all. I am not even willing to go there yet and let that go.
And I’m, I’m talking about the shame that I’m still feeling to this point, and ah, just let the curtain go and open wide up here. I’m 47 years old. I have had three kids. And I still expect to look like I am 18 years old when I was, you know, at one of the phases where it was at my skinniest and like most in shape and, and most of the defined at, I still expect that I look like that now, like from a very realistic point of view, there is nothing that’s holding me back to look that way.
I am not willing to put myself to the pain and shame that I have experienced to get there. Okay. So, let me, let me back up a little bit, because I, I know I haven’t talked about that. I may have like etched and scratched on it a little bit. I want to share a little bit of my experience around my body with you when I was in a ballet school, and that was 1984 till 1992.
And I heard about losing weight seven out of those eight years in ballet school. Seven years in my formative years, I was too big, too fat, too much. All of the girls were weighed every single week. We went on the scale our body mass index was taken to see if we have too much body fat when we would 12 or 13 or 14 still developing.
And we were also shamed into being too thick. Our teachers and that ripple down into the class like we would do it to each other. We would look at each other and said, I think you lost yourself. You gained some weight again; you are going to be in trouble. That was the
being naked? What’s the leotard. And tank, what’s that? That’s nothing that’s like a second skin. So every day, we were somewhere and somewhat, completely naked, and we had to carry ourselves through today with not feeling good enough. Feeling too fat, but looking in the mirror all the time and seeing, you know, having that fat mirror there and feeling bloated when you had your period, and you had no way in hiding it, and people made fun of me all the time.
When I was 15 years old, I was bullied so much by the boys in my class, from the class below me to the class above me. And I remember I was like, I didn’t want to live anymore because I felt so ashamed and ashamed about myself, ashamed my, my inability to be any. And I was not having the possibility or the ability or the permission for that matter.
At that point to give yourself grace and understanding. I am 15 years old. I am growing; I’m developing, I’m becoming a woman, I am having, breasts and that’s okay. And all of that didn’t exist. I was traumatized, and that’s when I started smoking. That’s when I started. I stopped eating some or somewhat when, when all these unhealthy habits that so did not align with who I wanted to become.
And I subconsciously gave up who I wanted to become. And I gave into the version that it was possible to adapt by taking on these unhealthy habits. I’m going to go back to the bullying. Okay. Because I feel like that might be an issue that we, we could see. Because as kids, we, as youngsters, even as, as young adults, we take.
We permit ourselves to act like our surrounding is acting. And when I wasn’t able to participate in pas de deux class, because I had gained 500 grams, Of course, the boys out of my class would say, see, you’re too fat. Nobody wants you. Nobody loves you. Like we are in the industry, not seeing the ripple effect and that my friends are not just the industry.
Like that’s, that’s an Olympic athlete. That’s the cheerleading groups. That’s out of performing artists as well, where we see it as a kind of body shaming. And we’re saying that. When you are not at a certain weight, if you are not looking a certain way, you aren’t worthy, and it has to stop because the inability for the industry to pivot is I’m not, I’m not sad. I’m starting to become frustrated because we don’t want to change. And I think that’s the problem that we’re seeing. It is so comfortable for the leadership to sit there and. Repeat repeat, repeat the patterns that we’re seeing without actually looking at them.
And what are they producing? Like nobody wants to live their dream in their teens or twenties and maybe in their thirties and then be broken for the rest of their lives. Nobody wants that. At least I hope not. So here’s the thing I woke up last night. And my tummy was grumbling. Like it hurt, you know, when you’re hungry and when you forget to eat excuse, you’re giving yourself because you didn’t eat.
Or you think you shouldn’t be eating because you’re too big. Well, that, that was the feeling. So I’ve woke up at night with that feeling with an empty stomach. And I thought, okay, if I eat a banana, now I could go back to bed, and I would probably feel better. And I decided not to because of the banana; where would it end up at 2:00 AM?
It wouldn’t just dissipate. No, it would end up on my tummy or my bum or my cheeks or wherever. I was having that as a 47-year-old that hasn’t been dancing, having these feelings, having these thoughts—goodness, gracious. I don’t have to be that size anymore, but yet I still want it because some were deep down there I think I am only worthy if I have the eight pack if I am ripped, and I don’t know, 110 pounds, and I don’t wish that upon anybody because it is a cage.
It is not free. The reason why I haven’t done that work yet because, hell, I didn’t even know that it was necessary until literally last night. I mean, I knew I have a problem with looking at myself and comparing myself on social media with the other people that wear tank tops, and your tummy looks perfect.
And I still can’t stand up to me becoming an actual woman; imagine that I can’t be because I wasn’t allowed to be a woman when I was a dancer. Let me share this with you. I was 18. We were rehearsing for what was the Balanchine Mozart divertimento number? I don’t remember. And the lead has a when they started their pas de deux, they started bourree on stage, and I was pregnant at that time.
Nobody knew. I had developed breasts, and the teacher in front of me said, “Hey, Susi your, breasts are bouncing and wiggling. It would be best if you flexed that muscle.” And from that moment on, I swore to myself that I would never, ever have breasts when I recovered from that pregnancy. Again, I don’t want to feel this ashamed of my body ever again. It wasn’t just him. There were many other people around me, and I couldn’t deal with the actual shame. Like we never talked about these things either, right? This is how shame can breed when it’s not uncovered. When it doesn’t have a name when we’re not talking about it, I get that now. And this is perhaps me working through all of this. This is why Pointe To Rise is here.
This is why I’m talking about these things. I want you to have permission to do precisely the same. By yourself with somebody else in your diary, on social media, whatever works for you? So you can let go of all the shame that you may be feeling. That has accumulated in your being since you were filtered with these kinds of beliefs.
I don’t know how to end this. I don’t know how to wrap it up. I want to encourage you and, and set, take myself as a prime example of don’t do this. Don’t wait until you’re in your forties to deal with your trauma and deal. To permit yourself and have, I mean, have the courage to look at it because shame only exists.
Suppose you are allowing it to sink into your body as soon as we’re discovering. Our shame, as soon as we’re giving it a name, as soon as it’s coming up and we’re talking with it, and about it, shame dissipates. So take the time to uncover. Your thoughts take the time to become healthy again so that you can be the very best example for that new generation coming in that right here.
Right now today, this pattern of repetitive pain and abuse stops. It stops with us. It has to because I don’t want any other girl to step into the studio ready to live her dream and get out of it broken. What is the point? Right. So it’s on us. It is on us to make that first step, to start exploring what has happened to us and understanding if we are healing.
We’re permitting everybody else around us to do the very same, not talking about it, about what we’ve experienced. It’s not like doing it, but it’s also not helping anybody else. So be brave. Be courageous. If you can’t do it by yourself, find help ask the questions. Reach out, reach out to me for it.
I am not a nutritionist; I can’t help you with that. What I can do is put you in contact with other people that are experts in that area. I can do that for you. So I’m sending you so much love. I would love private messages. Whatever works for you. I want to know if this.
I want to know if I’m making a difference. I’m brutally honest with you. And I also want to know if this is what you want to talk about. Is this something that I should? Dig up more. So not only for me but also for you. So you understand a little bit more that this kind of work is so imperative.
It will set you free. And when I say that, you want to know what that feels like until you start it? Yeah, there you go. I’m sending you so much love.
Thank you so much for listening, guys.
So much ❤
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About Susanne Puerschel
Susanne, Founder of Pointe To Rise, an Empowerment society for dancers and other artists, Wellness Entrepreneur, podcast host, former international ballerina, and an experienced principal chief executive officer had the privilege to grow up behind the iron curtain in Berlin, Germany.
She’s dedicating her time now, after working in cooperate America and running her own businesses, to building community among dancers and artists, providing mindset and high-performance coaching, and building a media company that will be the springboard to revitalizing the Arts.