“Tonight I can write the saddest lines…”
Neruda’s sentiments echo through me this evening as I recall my 10 year old daughter’s words:
“I don’t think it’s smart to keep being myself. It makes things worse. People say I’m weird, crazy, psycho, strange. I think I have to change and just be the same. The same — like how they are all the same.”
She went stiff when I tried to pull her towards me. Her upper body tight, arms down like a straight jacket. Eyes diverted, jaw clenched. I knew then not to touch her.
“…my heart looks for her, and she is not with me.” – Neruda
I breathed deeply, tried to center myself, and not immediately react, even though I could feel my throat close in, my heart beat fast.
“Sweetheart, those kids are jealous. They see that you are free … that you’re free to be who you truly are.”
She didn’t buy it.
Her response was probably accurate: The kids don’t even know they conform, fit the mold, follow the crowd, do the ‘typical, acceptable’ things so they don’t stand out (or stand out for the ‘right’ and ‘popular’ reasons). Most of them probably don’t realize they aren’t raised to have their unique, quirky personalities celebrated, encouraged, and never dimmed.
After all, quiet, smiling, unassuming, and accommodating are better than opinionated, expressive, and self-assured, right?
Most of us were raised to fit in.
Taught that different was bad.
…if not at home, then at least through societal constructs.
“I don’t belong…” She began to cry.
I, too, want to cry.
“We, of that time, are no longer the same.” – Neruda
I want to cry for her.
For all of us — collectively — who carry this wound of feeling we don’t belong, that we are not part of something (our family, our community, our school, our church, our sisterhood, ourselves!).
I want to cry for the primordial hurt most of us have felt — at least once — that we are utterly disconnected from one another, from Source, from our hearts, from our inner-knowing.
This slicing separation is what causes us to believe we are not worthy, that we are alone, and that we simply don’t belong.
This is THE collective wound that from the core of our bellies rings out in red ache.
Is there anything more crushing?
It is the part of us that clings to whatever feels solid/stable, tells us we’re OK, lets us slip in and out — cloaked — without causing too much attention (at least in any perceived ‘negative’ way).
It’s where we compromise our truth and constantly ask others their opinions, beliefs, thoughts, ideas on what we should do instead of getting quiet and listening to our heart.
It’s where we give ourselves away.
The spiral of forgetting our truth, our Essence begins.
We begin to feel untethered.
As I listened to my daughter, I was aware of how intimately I know this wound.
It’s this very scar that I consciously … mindfully, trace my fingers over and over and over … with love.
It’s this very scar that kept me feeling separate, not-so-worthy, hidden, fairly unsafe, and much more guarded than I wanted to admit — for most of my life.
I’m 43 and only figuring it out now.
I don’t want her to feel this one.
So, I tell her how magnificent she is. How our greatest gift to the world is our uniqueness. That there is nothing, nothing, nothing she needs to change.
And it’s a tough one because my daughter is NOT a typical kid.
She’s on the Autism spectrum and she’s a girl on the spectrum. That makes a difference.
She’s intelligent, quirky, rigid, imaginative, adventurous, deeply — intensely — empathetic towards nature and animals … so much so that she cries when trees have been destroyed in a forest fire, when I cut chicken breasts, or at the thought of an animal being hunted and killed. And that’s REAL for her. Not dramatics.
(For the record, I love her wide-open heart.)
So, her pull to dull her energetic self-expression — to numb down and become chameleon-like — would create enormous distress and pressure on her (as it would anyone) … and even more so in her case since it would take incredible measures on her part to even attempt doing so.
I feel tired just thinking about it!
And that’s exactly what we have done to ourselves, by the way: Exhausted ourselves by dimming our light.
It takes a lot of work to appear the same as everyone else…
I’m going to “out” us ALL, right now.
None of us are the same.
Neither are your kids.
We’ve been playing the biggest game of make-believe — ever.
How does this affect us?
- Choose and stay in careers that don’t bring us joy
- Marry the wrong person
- Desperately hold onto unhealthy relationships
- Say yes when we mean no
- Blame outside circumstances (and others) for our not-so-happy lives
- Disconnect from our purpose, our passions, our Essence
- Feel afraid, overwhelmed, or numbed-out — regularly
- Sell ourselves out over, and over, and over…
…so that we feel we “belong.”
Even if it hurts.
This is what I have to say:
Fuck that shit.
Enough is enough.
It’s time to come out of the shadows.
It’s time to parent our children in a way that allows their audacious, wild, primal, gypsy, freedom-seeking, truth-speaking, flagrant, unapologetic selves LIVE.
It’s time to for us to love those same parts of ourselves back into liberation, too … because I know I’m not the only one who was raised to be a Nice Girl … the girl who keeps a polite smile on her face and swallows her words: That girl isn’t around here much anymore.
It’s time for our men to feel allowed to experience and express rapture under their skin, streaming hot tears, and expansive, explosive, heart-warming tenderness and Love.
It’s time to lick the salt off our tongues, arrive with full-bodied, overflowing heart-presence, and be whoever the hell we were created to be.
Stop rolling eyes.
Stop with the: tone it down; no crying; pull-it-together nonsense.
Stop telling your child to be quiet when they’re laughing so hard, they pee their pants.
Laugh WITH them.
Pee your own goddamned pants.
And let’s remember, remember, remember that we have this particular life only once.
Shall we fill it with a sense of belonging?
Shall we embrace it with Love?
Shall we adore the hell out of every quirk we see in one another — and ourselves?
Especially in these precious children?
(Even if your son wants a Barbie and your daughter wants to wrestle.)
Shall we try?
…I do NOT want to feel this line from Neruda:
“Because through nights like this I one I held her in my arms
my soul is not satisfied that it has lost her.”
I’m not willing to lose my daughter to the so-called dulled-out ‘normalcy’ of life.
…It takes too long to get the spirit back.
And that’s not OK.
We all belong.
(And in case you didn’t catch it: You, too, are magnificent — just the way you TRULY are.)
There are times we need to call on the forces of anger … anger that rises to inform us of when a line has been crossed, when a boundary has been obliterated, or when we turned our backs on ourselves, forgetting we are powerful beings of beauty.
I’ve had a challenging relationship with anger. Most of my life, I’ve vacillated between either being afraid (sometimes terrified!) of it to judging it as as incredibly base, human, and – well – wrong. I’d reject the bubbling of anger, dismiss it, and tell myself that I could transform that feeling into loving, compassionate forgiveness. Wrapped in the tightly held story of being a Nice Girl, I choose to believe anger wasn’t a viable option in my world. Nice Girls don’t get angry…
But, the funny thing is, I’m human. (Gasp.) Which means I really did – and do! – feel anger. Oh, I hated admitting that to myself! It angered me that I could feel angry! See what I mean? Ridiculous, right?
It has taken me awhile to come to a place where I can now feel the fire of anger ignite within my body – usually in my throat or belly – and simply acknowledge it. I’m learning it’s the fuel of self-will. Use it to take a firm stand. To say, “no!”
That kind of power is undeniable.
That kind of power supersedes rage and reactive anger.
This anger is proactive. It serves as kindling for self-honor, self-love. It not only penetrates through any kind of bullshit (like a bullshit meter reader), but radiates a shield of respectful self-authority that declares, “Not in my house!”
(Oohh, that feels good to say! I dare you to try it!)
Voices don’t need to be raised. Nothing needs to be thrown. Forget foaming at the mouth (please tell me you don’t do that when you’re mad!).
Simply place your hands in the center of your body and feel the fire burning you like the beating of a drum.
And if that happens to not be the easiest thing in your world, this poem is for you.
(Yes, I wrote it.)
Bang the drum.
Take a stand.
Feel the grounded force rise through your veins.
You awaken to the once-desired: now double-crossed;
a vanquished line washed in sand.
The line you crossed so another could cross:
the dance of unworthiness.
The sun’s singular, polarized ray
magnetizes your self-denial
(the ways you give yourself away).
A smoldering flame ignites on the horizon.
A fire in your heart.
And nostrils flare with the scent of misalignment.
Smell the anger burn through your skin.
You cannot ignore what you want.
You cannot lay down your freedom.
You cannot play false liberation games.
Hear the call of your inner heart light the sky ablaze.
Bang the drum.
Take your stand.
Stand your ground. Stand your ground. Stand your ground.
Do you know you’re worth it?
In two hours, the doors will gently close on this year, allowing the space for the next to ease in.
I don’t need fireworks or the pop of fizzing champagne tonight. My year doesn’t need to go out with a “bang.”
It wants to burn low to the ashes and dissolve into the crystal snow outside my window.
It wants to be a gracious host and sweetly dim the lights, letting me know it’s time to leave. It feels the story is over; it’s time for the next one to begin.
I want this next year to gently arrive like the tender elegance of fingertips tracing my palm.
I want it to feel like a graceful sway of Love beckoning me closer … alluring, enchanting.
I want to be seduced by the new year, then held in a cherished, spacious embrace.
Let’s slip into a sense of adoration.
Let’s see the divine beauty in stillness.
Let’s feel the stars kiss our hair.
Dearest you … I want to see how you write this next year of your life.
What will your chapters hold? Which lines of poetry will you sing?
How will you love?
May you be filled with an abundance of what you desire.
May you light the inner fire of your spirit.
May you be who you truly are.
…until next year…
The Unknown is a tricky place. It’s full of … well … unknowns. It’s vast and wide open.
The structured, tidy World of Certainty feels more comfortable, fixed. A linear path is set-out with clear instructions and all you have to do is follow them so that you get from Point A to Point B … with ease, of course; there are no surprises in the World of Certainty, right? It’s sterile, clean, and you know exactly where you’re going and how you’re getting there.
Oh, but when you open the door that leads you into The Unknown, where the path is not clearly set, it’s like stepping out into an expansive, dark galaxy. What’s out there? How will you know where you’re going? What will be revealed? And when?
The simple truth is, you have no way of knowing. Not really.
The only way to navigate this vastness is to listen to your inner truth, your North Star, your intuition, and trust it. Trust it with all that you have, believing that things will unfold the way they’re meant.
I’d like to live in the World of Certainty, but the only thing I’m certain of is that it doesn’t exist. Not really.
Being a solopreneur, creating a unique business from the ashes of divorce, I’d really like to know – with certainty – what my monthly income will be. I’d really like a guarantee that clients will be attracted to me, to this work. I’d really like to know that there are no unknowns … that this path I’ve chosen for my life will be clear.
But I don’t.
I chose the path of uncertainty when I decided to combine my passions, gifts, and talents into a career so that I could be of service to others. That’s all I want to do. It’s part of my purpose; if I was a millionaire, I’d still do this work. When I made that choice, I slammed opened the door and stepped right in the middle of the Great Unknown. (I mean, hello. It’s a little crazy for a single mom returning from living overseas, just splitting from her husband, to follow her dreams, right?)
I’m learning that the only way to navigate this place is to surrender. To be humble. To surrender to my intuition, my inner guidance, the Universe, to the Goddess, to God … whatever word you choose. It means taking the time to be silent and still so I can listen to my gut – without my mind chattering away telling me what I “should” be doing – then follow it, even when it seems illogical, trusting that things will evolve and become clear as I continue surrendering to the unknown.
A few weeks ago, I was 90% certain the smart thing to do was to press “pause” on the Writing to Wholeness workshops I offer adults. The number of attendees was dwindling; it made logical sense to stop during the summer and restart in the fall. Yet, as I sat in stillness, it became clear that I should continue them over the summer … and actually create and add workshops for children. And so I am.
I have no idea what will happen along the way or if people will sign up, but I’m running them anyway.
A few days after I surrendered to that moment of clarity, I arrived at the venue for the Writing to Wholeness workshops. 15 minutes passed. I sat alone in the empty conference room of the coffee shop, about to leave. I wondered what the purpose was of me continuing with these workshops if no one came. Why would my intuition tell me to have them when I was sitting in the room by myself?
And then I had the strong sense that it didn’t matter if anyone showed up or not to the workshop … because I did.
I showed up for myself. I showed up in devotion to being of service to others, whether they came or not.
In the past, sitting alone in a conference room, without any attendees, would’ve mortified me. I would’ve been deeply embarrassed. Ashamed. I would’ve felt like a complete failure and questioned if I needed to quit everything I’ve been building. There is no way I would’ve told you – or anyone else – about this.
But, instead, I felt proud for showing up. I felt proud that I listened to my intuition, even though I didn’t understand what was going on.
Within minutes, one person arrived. We held the workshop together. My heart was filled with gratitude and humility. I felt initiated.
I have no idea what will transpire and reveal itself in this expansive unknown, but I’m here. I’m showing up. And I’ve surrendered. And I trust that whatever comes is meant to come.
What are you willing to let go of so that you can enter this great space of the unknown, trusting that it will work out in the way that is best for you?
You don’t have to be a size 8, have a big ass and large breasts, a small waist, wildly swing your hips, and show copious amounts of cleavage to entice a man. I’m not saying those things aren’t sexy. Of course they are; but there’s much more to what makes a woman alluring … and men instinctively know this.
Confidence is one of the sexiest things in a woman, many men say; but it’s deeper than confidence. What men are really picking up on when they see a woman with that gleam in her eyes, that sultry smile on her face, is the self-awareness of sensuality.
Sexuality is usually associated with sensuality; and though there is a strong correlation between the two, you can be sexual without being entirely sensual, and you can certainly be sensual without being sexual.
Women who are aware of what feels good to them, what arouses their senses (not only their sexual ones) ooze sensuality. A knowingness. These women understand this looks like confidence, but smells like seduction. Empowerment. Being in possession of yourself.
It doesn’t matter if you’re a size 6 or a size 32. If you’ve got it, you’ve got it. And men know it when you walk in a room or look them in the eye.
But this smoldering self-awareness is not about gaining the attention of men, either. Real sensuality becomes so … intoxicating, so enchanting … when its power is harnessed with the intention of being whole, of expressing the fiery, vibrant woman within
… not for the purpose of getting a man’s phone number, but rather for the purpose of being free.
Sensuality is about being in-tune with and expressing the feelings that are elicited when we’re captivated in a moment of pleasure.
It requires curiosity. Awareness.
And an openness to surrender, to be fully present, with what we’re experiencing right now. It allows you to feel passionate and alive
To be aware of your senses and express them is an act of devotion
, of loving self-care. And this changes the way you live.
You begin relishing moments of beauty and finding joy in simplicity, like: a full moon; the smell of campfire; the pull of your bottom lip in a passionate kiss; your child’s laughter.
There’s an acknowledgment of the temporary, that life is fleeting and fragile
, and so to experience it fully, we grant ourselves permission the freedom to feel whatever gives us pleasure, without repression. You bless these experiences. They make you whole because you’re expressing who you truly are.
The truth is: We’re all
sensual. We’re made this way.
Yet, our culture continues to have special adjectives for the more sensually and sexually inclined woman: dirty; naughty; loose; slut; whore; bad. It seems we’re afraid to see, in fact, this woman is often radiant and succulent, fully recognizing her desires. What’s “bad” about that?
What’s “bad” about the woman who wears fishnet stockings with a pencil skirt on a Monday afternoon because she feels hot when she does. Because it makes her feel good. Because she can own that look … you know the one: seductive and suggestive in a classyway. The way a grown woman can. The kind of woman who knows herself, what she likes, and what she doesn’t like. The kind of woman who can immerse herself in the moment, with gratitude, and with an acceptance for who she is.
Sensuality is birthed in gratitude. Gratitude for our ability to touch, taste, see, smell, and hear. Gratitude for our bodies and the marvelous sensations we experience through them. The sensual woman wants to devour them all. To feel it all. To be embraced by them.
So, she’s grateful for her body … regardless of the size of her stomach, or the size of her thighs. Even if she’s far from her ideal weight.
She may even spend a little extra time rubbing lotion on her thick upper arms, the ones she wishes weren’t so thick, while facing herself squarely in the mirror, and still managing not to feel overcome with shame and poor body image. Instead, she accepts herself for how she is right now and bravely chooses not let her size stop her from living life passionately.
A woman fully owning her sensuality will moan in delight as a luscious drink reaches her lips; or shudder when a mouth softly brushes across her neck; she will sit outside on a clear night, wrapped in a cozy blanket, mesmerized by the stars. When a song touches her heart with poignancy, resonating to the core of her, she’s not afraid to cry. The next moment, you may find her laying in the grass with her children, finding magical shapes in the clouds. She’s alive.
And though this isn’t about sex or about getting a man, the paradox is, that this kind of woman wields so much inner power, is so scintillating, so enticing, that she can literally bring a man to his knees. Maybe it’s simply to explain a bill to her as she sits in a waiting room. Perhaps it’s to slowly remove her leather boots, or to slip off her clothes as he kisses down her spine.
She gives a gift to a man … allows him, too, to surrender in the moment, to her magnificent self-awareness, to her wild femininity. Together, they experience freedom.
And speaking to you as a big girl, now: Trust me … women of any size
can possess this.