I just had the incredible privilege of participating in a video conversation with the poet Andrea Gibson. It was like she handed me a gift when she said she felt her essence/purpose in life is to publicly feel. This resonates with me so strongly.
I know my public vulnerability about my feeling experience, especially grief in recent years, is uncomfortable for some people to sit with. Earlier this year I lost loved ones who ultimately couldn’t accept that my experience of birth mother grief and on-going ambiguous loss was spoken aloud. But this is how I am wired. This is Who I Am. I am not going to repress myself anymore. I am not going to apologize for the way I am made. I am not going to hide my truth to make others comfortable. In fact, I just realized that at the same time I am asking people about what they sacrifice in order to belong, I have been sacrificing my own voice. And because I am repressing myself I am not able to find new belonging because I’m not offering anything of substance for people to relate to (OMG – I am having BIG insights about my own journey as I do my research on belonging and radical inclusion!).
It’s time for me to stop being afraid because of what I lost in the past and start having courage to speak again so that I can find the tribe that resonates with me and my story and my perspective on this beautiful and brutal journey called life. If my creative heroines (Amanda Palmer!) can find their tribe by publicly feeling, then I certainly can, too.
I held back so much this year because I was shamed and bullied and shunned for using my voice to speak what is true about my experience feels. I have 71 blog post drafts that sit unfinished because of deep insecurity about using my voice, not just about grief, but about EVERYTHING. For the first time in my life I questioned my value in this world because if the people who said they loved me couldn’t accept the wholeness of me, then how would anyone else? But that’s not the truth about how this works. If they couldn’t accept all of me that is about their own discomfort. It’s not about me. And it’s not my responsibility to make anyone else comfortable.
It’s my responsibility to trust myself. To trust my inherent value as a human being. To trust that my story is worthy of telling. To trust that telling my story courageously (with the fullness of my heart) will bring me connection and community.
Here’s something to think about, to show you how this journey toward my own belonging becomes universal – how can I stand for the inherent value of every other human if I cannot trust that I am inherently valued for being here in this life with you? More to come!