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Behind the Curtain: Owning Our Stories towards Self Mastery -3
Episode 314th May 2024 • Life is a Circus: So, Let’s Step into Self Mastery • Stacy Yardley - Self Mastery & Women’s Entrepreneur Certified Transformational Life Coach
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In this compelling episode of "Life is a Circus," host Stacy Yardley peels back the curtain on her childhood experiences, revealing the pressures of dance competitions and the intense desires to meet expectations that shaped her early years. She dives deep into the significance of owning our stories and how this self acceptance and self worth is crucial for personal power and self mastery. Tune in to discover how Stacy’s past illuminated her path to the circus and beyond, and find out how embracing your own story could be the key to unlocking your potential. This episode is an invitation to reflect, embrace, and transform with Stacy as your guide.

Other episodes of Life Is A Circus referenced-

Episode 2 - The Adventure Begins: Navigating the Space Between Fear and Courage

Stacy Yardley is a Certified Life Coach and Transformation Catalyst specializing in guiding women in business to create more joy, self fulfillment, and satisfied life. Her work includes working with high performance women to create better boundaries, release perfectionism and breakthrough imposter syndrome through self mastery. Drawing from her experience as a former professional circus showgirl, Stacy is passionate about empowering individuals to realize their dreams and unlock their inner potential. Through empathy and intuitive guidance, Stacy helps women harness their personal power to achieve greater well-being and thrive in all aspects of their lives. Based in Vancouver, WA, Stacy enjoys exploring hiking trails, preparing fresh vegan meals, and cherishing moments with loved ones in her free time.  

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Transcripts

We feel it is important to make our podcast transcripts available for accessibility. We use quality artificial intelligence tools to make it possible for us to provide this resource to our audience. We do have human eyes reviewing this, but they will rarely be 100% accurate. We appreciate your patience with the occasional errors you will find in our transcriptions. If you find an error in our transcription, or if you would like to use a quote, or verify what was said, please feel free to reach out to us at connect@37by27.com.

Stacy Yardley [:

Have you ever wondered what kind of past someone must have had to make them wanna run away and join the circus? On today's episode, instead of hearing a story about how I was heading towards my future with the circus, I wanna take you back and give you a glimpse into my childhood as I share with you the experiences that shaped me, how they impacted me, and who I was as I set out on the road with the circus at just 18 years old. Then we'll dive a bit deeper and talk about how stepping into our personal power when it comes to owning our stories is vital on the journey to self mastery. So I hope you'll stick around because we're going deep today. Welcome to Life is a Circus, So let's step into self mastery, where we explore the balancing act of unlocking your inner potential while navigating life's chaos. I'm Stacy Yardley, your host, a former circus showgirl turned transformational life coach. If you're juggling multiple roles or responsibilities and feeling like life is a circus, you are in the right place. Join me each week for captivating tales from my circus days and insights on realizing your dreams. Whether you're an entrepreneur, business owner, or an aspiring leader, this podcast is your guide to self mastery.

Stacy Yardley [:

So grab your top hat, and let's step into the greatest show of all, the circus of life. Ready to embark on this transformative journey together? Let's begin. Stop fussing, my mother said while I pulled on my dance costume. The itch of the sequins hitting my sensitive skin was relentless, and I had a hard time standing still as nervous energy filled my 6 year old body. We were in a crowded dressing room filled with other moms and daughters getting the girls ready for their time on stage. My mom grabbed an extra large can of Aquanet hairspray. While putting her hand over my eyes and lightly touching my forehead to guard my face, she began spraying my bangs to keep them perfectly in place. A cloud of aerosol filled the air, and I held my breath for a few seconds until it dissipated, knowing this was the final touch before leaving the dressing room.

Stacy Yardley [:

It was just about time for me to make my entrance onto the stage a local dance competition, something I've been working towards for months. Hours of practicing both in the dance studio and at home, chasing a trophy that would make me a winner. A of girls surrounded me, each preparing to step into the spotlight and be judged for their looks as well as their performance. As we each stood waiting our turn and began assessing my competition, a filled my mind of, wow. She's pretty. Her costume is so much better, and I wonder if I'll ever be that good. And my mother interrupts my thinking to say, remember to smile. I'll be watching.

Stacy Yardley [:

I was notorious for searching for my mother in the audience while on stage in hopes that she would assist me if I forgot any of my dance moves. As a result, she often hid in the back of the room or ducked behind the people sitting in front of her so as not to be visible and a distraction for me. As I stepped onto the stage and into the spotlight, I would do my best knowing that if I didn't perform good enough, look pretty enough, or impress the judges enough, I wouldn't win. And, therefore, I'd be a disappointment to my dance teacher, my mom, and myself. Of course, there was no real evidence that this was true, that I'd be a disappointment to others. But in the mind of a child, that's the reasoning that happens when the brain isn't fully developed. The problem with dance competitions, just like in sports, is that there's only a winner. But the difference is that winner is determined by judges.

Stacy Yardley [:

And if you didn't win, that meant you were a loser. At least, that's what so many of us were taught to believe back in those days. So it made sense that during dance a, why I would start to feel nauseous right about the time the hula division would hit the stage. Why? Because that was always the last division of the night just before the awards ceremony, and I was nervous. I didn't wanna lose. It wasn't until decades later that I would recognize that this was a symptom of extreme anxiety and fear of experiencing my mother's disappointment that would often lead to her bitter venting regarding the results. Not about me per se, but more so about the judges and the politics that were at play. It was always the big studios that won, and she would get angry when she felt that there was a bias towards the flashy, expensive costumes rather than the technique of the dancers.

Stacy Yardley [:

Like any mom, she was just wanting her daughter to succeed. But what she didn't realize is that her displeasure added to the performance complex that I was never going to be good enough no matter how hard I tried. And that the world wasn't fair and favored the fortunate ones with the flashy costumes and prettier smiles. I often wondered if my brother experienced the same anxieties while playing sports. Of course, in sports, outcomes are typically determined by the skill levels of the players, not points granted by judges, except, of course, sports like cheerleading, gymnastics, and synchronized swimming, all of which, much like dancing, require athleticism and countless hours of training and practice, yet they're judged for their performance. This competitive lifestyle combined with growing up in Southern California made it almost impossible to not conclude that my one goal was to be pretty and perform well, and that would give me the attention I desired, which would ultimately, for me, translate into being loved. I started to develop breast early, and by the time I was 13, my body could pass as a grown young woman. And because I lived in the climate where shorts and tank tops were the norm, I would attract the attention of men very quickly.

Stacy Yardley [:

Cat calls and whistles from passing by cars while simply walking to the store or over to a friend's house were the norm. I would often be left feeling awkward and icky as grown men would sexualize my appearance for their own liking. Like most early teenage girls, I wasn't ready for all that attention. So when going to the beach, I'd cover up my 2 piece swimsuit with a large oversized t shirt a would only briefly take it off to go into the water. In fact, sometimes, I'd leave it on only to come out of the ocean with a wet t shirt stuck to my body, revealing the shape of my breast and hips anyway, and, of course, now with a wet t shirt effect only to make things worse. I can recall a time when I was at the beach with my aunt and was encouraged by her to take my t shirt off and enjoy the sun. As I lay there on my towel and my bikini, a boy my own age, I knew from school, walked by and recognized me. He said hello, and we chatted for a short time.

Stacy Yardley [:

Seemed pretty harmless to me. But it was a few years later when he later told me in high school how that image of me in the white bikini some years prior was still burned in his mind. Once again, I was reminded that my body was more than just my body. It was also something boys and men wanted to use for their own pleasure with very little regard to how it made me feel. This was also the era when young girls like me were mentored through the pages of beauty magazines Life Cosmopolitan, Glamour, and 17. Filled with photoshopped images of perfection and how to be sexy quizzes, I began to obsess over how to be good enough in my own mind. This a with the fallout from my parents' divorce at the age of 10 and my father being absent throughout my adolescent years, I was desperate for love and attention. As I entered high school, alcohol quickly entered my life.

Stacy Yardley [:

I remember the first time I got drunk. I was a freshman and so desperately wanted to run with the cool kids. And while I had an older brother who was a senior, he wasn't popular nor did he want anything to do with me, and we weren't really friends anyway. However, it just so happened that my mom was dating a of the football is, who a would later become my stepdad. And his sister, who was a senior, was also a cheerleader. So when she asked me to hang out a night and go to a college football game, I was all in. As we mixed up some wine and 7 Up to make homemade wine coolers, I played it cool. And as the alcohol entered my system, I began to feel the warm, numbing effects on my nerves.

Stacy Yardley [:

It was as if a feeling of freedom that I had never felt before began to take over me, and I liked it. As we arrived at the community college football game, the alcohol really started kicking in As the song Take On Me by rang out on the loudspeakers before the game, I sang to the top of my lungs and danced to the beat as all inhibitions fell away. At one point, I was told, Stacy, chill out, as I was clearly having a hard time maintaining my cool and wasn't really feeling as self conscious as I normally did when I was sober. I was told to not draw unwanted attention to ourselves from onlookers, or we may get kicked out of the stadium. Not feeling good enough was then transferred into being too much for others to handle. Nevertheless, this was the beginning of finding liquid courage to help me navigate fears and worries of never feeling good a, no matter how hard I tried. I was more interested in where the party was on Friday night than I was in studying and getting good grades. I did what I had to to pass my classes and held a c average at best.

Stacy Yardley [:

And while I tried out for the cheerleading squad 3 years in a row, I never made the cut because of low academic performance and school politics. This too added fuel to the fire of never feeling good enough, and I just wanted to numb the feelings that felt so consuming. I can recall several instances where alcohol was the key component in my mischievous behavior that had me lying to my mom about my whereabouts on the weekends while I took part in some dangerous adventures across the southern border into Tijuana, Mexico as a teenager. Almost every weekend, we'd end up partying to the wee hours of the night, only to return to sleep off the effects of tequila shots and beer chasers well into the following day. Alcohol helped me turbo boost my free spirit, while my inhibitions and insecurities were subdued the more I drank. At the age of 15, almost 16, I lost my virginity to a 19 year old guy who dumped me shortly after taking what I so willingly gave to him under the influence of alcohol. By the time I turned 18, I was obsessed with finding love outside myself. And while I had a steady boyfriend my senior year, that meant sex anytime he wanted it and me giving it to him in exchange for what I thought was his love.

Stacy Yardley [:

Sex and love felt interchangeable to me is one was a means to the other. As graduation hit, I was now about to embark on my adult Life, full of uncertainty and a lost sense of direction on where to go next in my life. That is until that one faithful day in July when everything changed, and I auditioned for the circus. Joining the circus would not only fulfill my dream of becoming a professional dancer, it would also give me the opportunity to enter into the grown up world where I could explore and escape in a whole new way. Not only was I running away to the circus, but I was also running away from myself without even realizing it. This is how my story began. And while there's a lot more to it than what I've mentioned here, it shaped me nonetheless and foreshadowed much of my experience during my time in the circus and beyond, as you'll come to learn in future episodes. Your story may be similar or vastly different from Life, But one thing is for certain, many women resonate with it when it comes to not feeling good a, both internally and externally.

Stacy Yardley [:

And this is where shame can really get in the way of us living up to our full potential. I'll be honest. I was having a hard time releasing this episode. It's vulnerable to talk about our past, and it's hard to share these details with you because I know you'll create a story about who I am as a result of hearing this. But the thing is, just as I mentioned in last week's episode, the quote from Brene Brown really does apply here. She said, owning our story can be hard, but not nearly as difficult as spending our lives running from it. Embracing our vulnerabilities is risky, but not nearly as dangerous as giving up on love and belonging and joy. The experiences that make us the most vulnerable.

Stacy Yardley [:

Only when we are brave enough to explore the darkness will we discover the infinite power of our light. This podcast isn't just about the fun, entertaining stories of my time in the circus. It's about real Life, and real life can be messy, hard, and vulnerable. But in sharing my stories, not just of the fun and joy, but the pain and defeat as well, hopefully, you can relate and see a part of yourself in me, knowing that we are more alike than we are different. Let's dive in now to the dreamer's dilemma and talk about how our stories really do impact us. Whether it be your past trauma, the way you were raised, or the obstacles women face as a result of our current social paradigm, sometimes going after your dreams can feel extremely overwhelming and cause you to feel like you're swimming upstream against the current more often than not. And while that may not stop you from pursuing your dreams or living a life that you enjoy, it can leave you hustling for your worth in more ways than a or simply numbing out when things get too intense. The truth is, when it comes to pursuing your dreams, women do have to navigate some obstacles that men don't, such as the societal barriers of discrimination and bias, gender stereotypes, pay gap, underrepresentation a leadership, and work life balance.

Stacy Yardley [:

These, combined with our early childhood experiences of trauma, can dramatically impact our perceptions and behaviors, our self worth, and our self esteem, making it that much harder to believe in yourself or cope with the intensity of life at times. Before we go any further, let me just say that I'm so grateful for the women who have come before us to pave the way for equal rights and help us get to where we are now. I mean, just in my lifetime alone, women were once not even allowed to have their own credit card. But with that said, we still have quite a ways to go when it comes to being seen as having value and equal worth that men have in the ways of economic, political, and social impact. And what's important to point out, in my opinion, is the journey towards that place begins within. We must come to the understanding that in order to progress, getting out of our own way is vital. It can be easy to blame societal standards or our past trauma for the reasons as to why we're not where we want to be or make these excuses as to why we can't pursue our dreams. But that doesn't empower us.

Stacy Yardley [:

It actually limits us and keeps us in a victim mindset. Now don't get me wrong. I know that many of us are victimized over our lifetime in various ways, myself a. But that doesn't mean these circumstances or situations that victimize us get to write the script and, consequently, the end of the story. We have the power within us to change the narrative regardless of our past or our current circumstances, And that starts with making courageous choices. When it comes to making courageous choices, we have many areas where we could look to in order to make change a, both in our society and ourselves. But, again, as I mentioned, I believe that the real change starts within. If we continue to look outward for our sense of worth, purpose, and cause, we will continue to be at the effect of that which happens outside of us as we seek inner peace, fulfillment, and satisfaction.

Stacy Yardley [:

This is essentially what it means to be in a victim mindset, to be at the effect of something or someone outside of us. Choosing to own your own personal power and to look inward takes courage because that also means addressing our story head on and in our head a taking responsibility for our choices and our actions in a conscious way. Just as Carl Jung said, until you make the unconscious conscious, it will direct your life and you will call it fate. In other words, you have to choose to create the life you want, and that means addressing the behaviors and actions that are being driven at an unconscious level. Oftentimes, change just doesn't happen simply because we wake up one day and think, I a change my life just because I feel like it. More often than not, change happens as a result of pain and discomfort of the way things currently are. As humans, we don't like to be in pain, so we'll do what we can to avoid it, including numbing so we don't have to feel is, But that doesn't make it go away. Addressing it head on is what makes it go away, or, in the very least, more tolerable as you find healthier ways to cope instead of numbing and avoiding it, which a can just lead to more pain.

Stacy Yardley [:

So what do we do? How do we bring the unconscious to the conscious when it much of it is, well, unconscious? This is where the journey to self mastery comes into play. When it comes to practicing self mastery, taking responsibility is a vital component. This includes choosing courage over comfort, like I discussed in episode 2, as well as making the decision to heal from your past. When we're young, we don't know what we don't know. When I went off to join the circus, I wasn't aware of how much my pain and trauma impacted the decisions I would later make. However, as I grew older and life began to show me how I created much of the pain I experienced via my choices, I then was able to venture onto the path of healing. At any point in our lives, we can become more self aware and begin to recognize a role we play in our own lives and some of the pain we've caused ourselves as a result of unhealed wounds. Are you taking responsibility for how you think and how you feel and how you behave, otherwise known as the story you're telling Self? Or are you simply saying, this is just how I am, without taking responsibility for it? If you're not, that's where you begin.

Stacy Yardley [:

Choosing to take responsibility for your healing can unlock doors to your future that you never even knew existed. Because as you heal those past wounds of not enough and choose to love and accept yourself and your past and present circumstances, you then have the ability to make new choices based on the conscious awareness that you are worthy no matter what rather than letting fear, anger, or resentment drive your decisions. The exhaustion for hustling for your worth also stops, and the purpose driven actions begin to take place from knowing your worth rather than a place of seeking it. As a result, you shift your energy. And when you shift your energy, everything changes because everything in our existence is made of energy. I'll talk more about the power of energy in another episode. But for now, it's important to understand that when it comes to self mastery, mastering your personal energy via your thoughts, emotions, and behaviors is essential to living a life of fulfillment, satisfaction, and joy. As you focus forward towards your future that you'd like to create, I'd like to invite you to go within.

Stacy Yardley [:

Ask yourself, are you hiding from being seen not only by those around you, but also from yourself because of your past? Are you willing to roll up your sleeves and dive deep into your own heart and soul to heal the dark places that are unconsciously ruling your life, and is doing so, consciously move towards the life that you desire? If you need help with this, I want to invite you to reach out to me. You can send me an email or simply tag me on social media, and let's start a conversation about what it means to begin healing our stories so that we can live a more fulfilling life. Stepping out of shame and into courage takes bravery. And while it can be hard to do, it is possible. Let's choose to live this circus of life consciously with courage so that we can make our dreams a reality together. Thank you for joining me on this episode of Life is a Circus, so let's step into self mastery. I hope you found inspiration and valuable insights to carry with you on your journey. If you enjoyed today's episode, please share it with a friend and subscribe or follow wherever you're listening.

Stacy Yardley [:

Remember, in the circus of life, the greatest show is the one you create for yourself. Until next time, keep embracing your dreams and stepping into self mastery. Take care a I'll see you next Tuesday.

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