Being a Whisper in a Loud World
Am I really powerful?
Even after learning to own that “I am enough” it isn’t always easy for me to see myself as strong. I see myself as a soft being. I remind myself I can certainly walk softly and carry a big stick but why would I wanna carry a big stick? Isn’t that menacing? I really just want to walk around with a “FREE HUGS” sign and change the world in that way.
I have always seen myself as small in a very big world. How can I be small and brave at the same time? Can I be tender and powerful simultaneously? But we are all these things, aren’t we? We are not singularly powerful or weak. There are aspects of each of these things in all of us. The introvert boldly spoke up one day while the extrovert froze and stood silent. It happens every day in a million different ways, right? We are the sum of our experiences and life itself dictates we’ve all had moments across the spectrum.
So can I accept my inching-to-flight personal metamorphosis as powerful?
I started looking at who I really saw as a superhero. I have never identified with the superheroes of the big screen. What uplifts me are stories of individual perseverance; people overcoming giant physical and emotional obstacles for themselves. And those willing to revisit their experience for the sake of helping others. Those people in the right place at the right time who had no idea they were capable of saving another life or were strong enough in conviction to stand up for someone else’s rights. Those are the real heroes. I want to be but am definitely not like those that rally and carry a megaphone (literally or figuratively) and speak for the oppressed and under-represented. I see this kind of person as strong, but they are motivated by love and compassion and this is also a characteristic of the gentle.
With that in mind, I started to examine my own self.
Quite a few years back, I encountered a Facebook comment by someone who stated their personal power was vulnerability. Reading it made me feel uncomfortable at the core. The journey of my early years was leaving a narcissistic and emotionally unavailable mother only to fall right into the arms of an abusive and narcissistic husband at the age of 19. Sharing was, quite literally, entirely unsafe for the first thirty years of my life. Although I’d spent nearly a decade working on regaining trust at this level, being triggered by this comment showed cause to dig deeper still.
I feel I am best expressing myself through writing. From my young teens until my early 40s, I wrote poetry because I could bury truths and feelings in a creative, imaginative flowing world of words. In my mid-forties I traded in the security of poetic flow for open and honest sharing, finally beginning to reveal real life experience. Exposing the wounds and the messy path to healing was incredibly scary. In fact, it was a struggle to push past those voices of admonishment to share publicly. The ones that told me I was not enough, not allowed, not capable. But then new voices rose up…. the ones seeking to be heard and understood who found similarity in our stories and comfort in my words. Our private dialogues sometimes heavy and soul-bearing, but heart-warming and always filled with love.
And they thanked me and told me I was inspiring. I struggled so much with seeing myself worthy of their gratitude. I mean, who am I anyway … other than just one person trying to figure it all out? And I don’t have any answers, just a trail of trial and error. But as the years passed by and these voices kept seeking to sit together or share an online dialogue, I began to realize the value in giving voice to the journey, although it never once struck me as vulnerability. I was still defining vulnerability as weakness to another. Maybe it just took time to learn to feel entirely comfortable in my own openness. Most recently what I am learning is that I simply cannot define myself as small anymore. I just am. Size is irrelevant to love because love has no boundaries and no limits and shows up in infinite forms.
I am learning that what I have to offer is definitely enough…if for no other reason, because I care. I don’t even need to say it loud or louder, I just need to stand in my truth and say it like “me”… And those that are needing to hear the message would be able to hear it even if I whispered it. I also realize I’m here to own my vulnerability. Even the inexperienced fluttering of newly opened butterfly wings has an effect. We don’t even know how big. All I know is that I have wings and I am supposed to flutter.
I feel like now I can define vulnerability as openness for another … the ability to share my wounds from a space of healing in hopes that others feel safer on their journey.
In other words, one side of the sign says “FREE HUGS” and the other side says “THIS WAY” … I am neither weak or small nor strong or powerful. I am simply being and I find mission and purpose in this.
If this message resonates with you, I'll be holding a 5-session series (via Zoom) on the topic of Self-Love beginning in late July. Registration is open now. We have two spots left in this session and I'd love to have you join us!