Becoming Hot-sponsible

A few months ago, my friend and I coined the term “hot-sponsible” to describe the sweet spot between “hot mess” and “responsible adult.” Since then, I’ve found some unlikely sources of “hot-sponsibility studies.”

Source #1: “The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma” by Bessel Van Der Kolk, M.D.

Shortly before I came up with the term, another friend told me to check out this book to inform my musicianship and teaching. While my reading of the book got interrupted by what I call my “practicum in trauma,” here are my three main takeaways or connections:

  • Trauma is less about the severity of stressful event(s) (although that certainly factors in) and more about whether you receive healthy support from loved ones (this is especially critical for young children)
  • People who go through highly competitive programs (such as in music) tend to emerge with some form of PTSD because competition discourages consistent, supportive relationships (and places you under constant threat of social rejection, which we’ve evolved to view as a death sentence)
  • Trauma disrupts your brain and body in ways that make it impossible to know yourself and your desires (the hot of hot mess) or to self-regulate (responsibility)

Source #2: “Rethinking Narcissism: The Bad – and Surprising Good – About Feeling Special” by Dr. Craig Malkin

After I started reading “The Body Keeps the Score,” yet another friend told invited me to see Van Der Kolk at a 2-day workshop in Portland. The workshop was life-changing itself, but one unlikely benefit was tangentially learning about “covert narcissism” – which lead me to this book. My takeaways/connections:

  • Narcissism exists on a spectrum of deficient (low self-esteem and sense of self) to healthy (high self-esteem and self-discipline) to extreme (prone to entitlement and exploitation)
  • People in competitive fields tend to develop covert narcissism (ricocheting between narcissism deficit and extremity) because we’re told to pursue our passions at all costs (extreme) and constantly given the message that we’re not good enough (deficient)
  • The key to parenting children with healthy narcissism is to balance warmth (the fun and openness of hot mess) with discipline (the consistency and respect of responsibility)

Source #3: “Dancing with Fire: A Mindful Way to Loving Relationships” by John Amodeo, PhD

“Rethinking Narcissism” led me to this book. While I’ve just started reading this book, it’s already had huge effects. The author opens by telling a story about him and a friend sneaking out for pizza at a meditation retreat – which is an uncannily apt metaphor for most of my life. My takeaways/conections:

  • People suffer because they feel like they must choose between spiritual practice (self-discipline) and loving relationships (pursuing longings for intimacy) – when in fact the two complement each other
  • People in competitive fields suffer because they’re told to forsake relationships for self-discipline and to stoke their “fires” (passions and longings) through substance abuse and other high-risk activities
  • “Dancing with fire” (the process of developing self-intimacy and disciplined pursuit of longings) is basically the same thing as becoming hot-sponsible

Author: Leah Pogwizd

Musician, Educator, and Project Manager

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