There comes a time in life when there is the option that we drop our image-that part of us that demonstrates to others just who we are, what we’re capable of, and what course we have chosen to take.
When I was 15, my dad told me, “you should learn to type in case you need to become a secretary.” At the time, I was an aspiring actress. I would have been better at it if I hadn’t been trying so hard, but his words undercut any kind of confidence that I had in my abilities.
At that point, at that tender point, I gave up. Some part of me understood that I could never be the actress that I’d imagined, that didn’t have the skill or talent that it took, that wasn’t even brave enough to leave San Francisco and move to LA or New York.
I was predestined to fail.
Why? Because, that way, both of my parents could measure themselves against me.
Because, that way, both of them, with failed dreams of their own, could “tut tut,” about mine, and how I had set my ideals too high. How what I desired was out of reach.
I bought their lies. I bought into their insecurities and embodied them.
No, I didn’t go to New York. Or even to L.A. I was preprogrammed to doubt myself enough to fail either, or both.
Still, to this day, I grapple with this. Still, to this day, I weigh my decisions, the ones that speak directly (and loudly) to my heart, for too long. Spontaneity was not approved of in my family (although, with my father, self-absorbed impulsivity was expected and allowed).
When in an altered state of consciousness under the guidance of people who work with sacred medicines, I envisioned myself trapped in a box. The box was comprised of the four members of my family (myself, my younger brother, my mother and my father). We were all merged, like some unhealthy stew brewed of resentment, insufficiency and clearly defined roles (I was not the Queen, although I awkwardly aspired to climb into the throne and wear the crown).
I was taught, through church and family, that I didn’t matter. That my ego was out of whack. That I needed to defer to others in order to gain any attention at all. I was a child at the breast that had too little milk.
Have I succeeded? Absolutely, yes. Have I succeeded in the way that either my father or mother would have defined as success? Absolutely, no. I have failed their dreams, their aspirations. I have not become wealthy. The world at large does not view me as special. I am not the rage.
But I am my own person. I am a warrior. I strive for compassion, I seek strength and courage. I seek to be authentically who I am.
And they would not approve.
Do I care?
Yeah, probably, to a degree. Why? Because , like so many, I just wanted to be loved. I wanted approval. I wanted acceptance. I wanted the Gates to open to me so that I could enter in and become part of something.
But that’s not how it works for me. Maybe it’s not how it works for you, either. Maybe there are those of us who question, who rebel, who individuate. Who disrupt and upset.
We make others think. We make others uncomfortable. We get underneath the emotional skin of people who can’t or won’t go there.
How else are minds and hearts to be opened? There are always those who need to question, to make waves, to do what isn’t socially acceptable. It might feel right to us rebels, but others question or turn away. That doesn’t matter. What matters is to be authentic, even if you’re not understood. If you understand yourself, then you’re good to go.
Here’s the bottom line: Be yourself. Don’t sell out. Let freedom guide you, let love steer your wagon. And start by loving yourself. No other. Because you are the One. You are wise. You are all-knowing. And that means not caring what others think if it feels right to you.
Make that commitment. Make it now. It will set you free.