Become the one person in the world that you aren’t too much for.
That is the invitation.
When she passed away, they told the children that dying was like being in a room filled with radiant sunlight. That the sun was so bright that it consumed her, turning her into a light beam.
Sometimes that’s what living visibly feels like to me – the open vulnerability of a construction light on an unfinished room, making art out of the sawdust and screws strewn about. That in such a brightly lit room that even all of your idiosyncrasies look lovely dappled in the sunlight.
That actually, underneath it all, my fears about being too much are about shining too brightly. Of being cut down and left alone for my arrogance. About the taboo of being seen appreciating myself too much. About deserving all of that light. About becoming my own light beam.
That somewhere deep in all of the darkness there was a spark of knowing that I am exactly as special and wonderful as I imagined myself to be before I learned how to behave.
That being such a special, beautiful thing is my birthright.
That being such a special, beautiful thing is dangerous, and so I’ve hidden it away here, amidst all of the darkness.
The darkness is me, but it isn’t me. It is the distractor, the great equalizer. I have conjured the darkness to protect me, from being too much, from shining too brightly. I have conjured it because the discomfort of the light is made bearable when balanced with a heady focus on my many flaws. In this way, underestimating myself has become my greatest defense mechanism, easily gaining me entry into conversations with other humans. Conversations in which we are taught to be self-deprecating.
Conversations where the stories of our too muchness are reinforced, because we are culturally afraid to look ourselves in the eye and see ourselves for what (and who) we truly are.
* * *
You cannot escape the darkness, so build a house strong enough to stand in it.
* * *
I sat awake in the middle of the night, heart quaking as tears slid down my face.
The vestige of the question still vibrated on my lips, through my limbs.
Is there anyone in the world that I am not too much for?
It has always been this question.
It has always been this desire – to be understood, to be met, to be celebrated, to be rallied for, to be loved for exactly who I am, in all of my muchness.
The answer was immediate, but at first it was unacceptable.
I didn’t want it to be me.
It felt lonely to be the the acceptor, the lover. I wanted to delegate the job. I wanted to be scooped up and saved. I wanted to be met here, touched where it hurt.
I wanted the answer to be anything but what it was.
I know that there is an aching legion of women who believe that they are too much at my back as I write these words.
Women who have been told and believe that they have too much heart, baggage, spirit, feelings, thoughts, fears, passion, wants, anger, intensity, desires, craziness, particularities, NEEDS, and dreams.
Women who carry the sting of rejection in their skin.
Women who are worried that they will never find a place – or a person – to belong to.
Women who hide their bright lights in the abyss of distractors and attempts to make themselves more palatable to the general public.
Women who turn themselves inside out, both wanting to be seen as enough but terrified of the parts of themselves radiant enough to fill a room with sunlight.
Women like me.
* * *
I have always dealt with my muchness by constricting it, raising barriers and borders as I attempt to hobble my light by tucking it away somewhere private and safe.
What if, instead, I allowed myself to open up into it?
What if, instead, I made space for it within my cells, opening and expanding in permission and gratitude for my own original medicine?
I breathe into my back, into the tight ropes of muscles that are so often cramped as fierce orders bring my shoulders up to my ears when I am working on something intently.
As I breathe into this space, I feel my shoulder blades open like shutters to reveal my wings beneath. Carefully folded at first, hesitant and cramped after so many years of being tied down and locked up, they begin to unfurl.
I stretch those wings to my full wingspan. Feel into their beauty and power.
Could I make space within my physical body to contain everything that I am?
Could I make space within my mental body to actively participate in the stories that tell me I am not enough, meeting fiction with love?
Could I make space within my emotional body to allow for everything that I feel?
Could I make space within my spiritual body to accommodate the knowing that I belong here, to this earth, to this body, to this life, and that I don’t have to forfeit it for a false sense of belonging ever again?
* * *
You may have built high walls.
You may have worked to keep everyone out.
You may have segmented parts of yourself away, parts that you deem unfit or unworthy for pubic consumption.
But, you are lovable, even in these parts.
You are trustworthy even in your messiness and confusion.
You belong in your light and dark.
You can breathe into these parts of yourself, making expansion your practice and path forward.
You can stand here, in the awe of possibility, and know that there is a certain messiness to finding your bearings here. Know that as you experiment with taking up more space you may knock over everything in your path.
You can and will work to rebuild this relationship with yourself, knowing that it is the fertile (and firm) ground upon which everything else stands.
It is your foundation.
This is the piece that no one can take away.
Showing up messy doesn’t mean being unprepared or uncaring of the outcome. Showing up messy means arriving as you are, radiating your truth and purpose and inner beauty – even when you have no idea how it’s going to turn out.
It means trying something new, even if you’ve never done it before and you are on the teetering edge of thrilled and terrified.
It means holding on to what you know to be true, even when everyone is busy telling you what you should do instead.
It means allowing others an opportunity to truly know you, even if there is a chance of rejection, because you know that being loved for who you really are is worth the risk.
It means being true to yourself, even and especially when you’re scared.
It means choosing to believe that you are important, you are deserving, and you are worthy – even when you have compiled and are holding on tightly to a ton of evidence to the contrary.
Showing up messy means giving your life everything that you have – and not worrying so much that you might have misplaced a comma.
You are doing big, important work.
You are allowed.
Stretch your wings. Claim your space. Dance around there.
Get it done. Smile as you work. Enjoy yourself.
Be brave enough to show up as you are.
Did you love this post? It originally appeared as a weekly missive to my top secret circle of truth-tellers that I send out bright and early every Wednesday morning.
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I remember being in the fifth grade with a chest that already fit comfortably into a 36D bra. I remember even more clearly the day that the woman in Victoria’s Secret told me I was a DD and I made some wise crack about being in “double-d denial” before bursting into tears.
I remember taking notes in little notebook. I scrawled lose weight, grow hair, learn how to put on make-up, wear high heels across the pages.
I remember being followed home by older men who commented on my body under their breath, making me feel like my curves were dirty and dangerous.
I remember choosing that I wasn’t my body. That I was more than my body.
In retrospect I realize that in that moment, I severed the tie between my head and my shoulders – leaving my body, a woman’s body, behind.
I remember declaring myself a feminist, and still quietly feeling afraid that my brave ideas would be rejected if I wasn’t hot like Gloria Steinem.
For too many years, I didn’t feel feminine, because I considered my body too clumsy, too unwieldy, and unfit for consumption.
I was a woman, but I felt silent. Silenced.
I was a woman, but I was terrified of being judged by other women.
Of being too much. Of not being enough. Of never quite fitting in.
I equated femininity with a thing that I would get to be when I was better. I couldn’t rectify being in my body without objectifying myself. I couldn’t resolve my wild, feral femininity with the glossy pages of magazines that I bought every time I stood in line at the grocery store.
I never considered the fact that my definition of what it meant to be a woman was simply too narrow to contain all of my magnificence.
It took time and it required granting myself permission to receive my own radiant love before I could begin to hold these seemingly irreconcilable parts of myself in my tender hands.
Learning how to love and trust myself has meant reclaiming my femininity. It has meant repairing the connection between my mind and the soft flesh of my body. It has meant deep healing and defining femininity on my own terms.
I remember the exact moment when joyfully embodied my own divine femininity for the first time. In that moment, I could feel myself deepening into my power and softening to surrender.
In that moment, I was ancient mama love.
I am a woman with a curvy body, a wild nature, and a story to tell.
I know that there are women out there, like me, who have felt like outsiders. Women who shun female friendships or eschew the sacred nature of their bodies, while simultaneously (secretly) pressing their faces against the glass, desperately wanting to be a part of things.
To those women, I want to say: You are a part of things. There is a home for you here. You belong to yourself.
The relationship that you have with yourself is deeper than feathers and crystals and moon phases. It is about allowing your heart to be cracked wide open by your truths – and defining your femininity on your own terms.
Your femininity is not about how you look. It is about who you are.
It is not about what you can achieve. It is about how you want to live.
It is not about keeping yourself small. It is about pouring more of yourself into every nook and cranny of your life.
It is about what you love, what lights you up like a mega-watt bulb. It is about allowing yourself to be seen – allowing other women to circle around you and lift you up. It is about honoring your own truths and living in accordance to your own rhythms.
It is about you – about all of your many parts, coexisting with love and trust.
And yes, you deserve that.
Did you love this post? It originally appeared as a weekly missive to my top secret circle of truth-tellers that I send out bright and early every Wednesday morning. Join us by signing yourself up riiiiight over here.
How many good girls grow up believing that we owe ourselves – our time, our energy, our love, our investment – to others?
When I posted a little handwritten reminder last week on Instagram, simply stating that we don’t owe anything to anyone, many of you responded. Tens of women in the loud rejoicing crowd said that it was exactly what they needed to hear, but there were quite whispers too.
Emails that said things like…
… I owe my parents an enormous debt for their support and love over my life.
…I owe my partner for sticking with me during that rough patch.
…I owe my allegiance to my family that has never abandoned me.
These quiet whispers were accompanied with another sentiment as well, one of desire. Women wrote saying things like, Well I would really love to ________but I can’t because I owe my life to someone else.
You don’t owe anything to anyone.
Your life, your time, your energy, your body, your sex, your attention is not a chip to be bartered away or bought by someone else’s kindness.
I remember the moments in my own life.
Feeling like I owed him access to my skin because he was the first to be kind to me at a party.
Feeling like I had to continue down a track that no longer fit, because I had already told everyone that I was going to do it. I had already made the promises. I had already borrowed the money. I owed it to everyone to follow through down a path that wasn’t mine to take.
Feeling like I owed partners chance after chance, because they were doing me the great service of loving me. (And I was unlovable, so I should feel lucky.)
Feeling like I owed my family everything that I had left to give because I love them dearly and that’s what love means, right? Bending yourself into knots, saying yes when you want to say no, and trespassing against your own boundaries.
Because that’s what it meant to be a good girl. Because I should have been grateful that anyone loved me at all. Because I was little more than a vessel for service, for production.
Because I didn’t want anyone to think that I was flaky or selfish or self-important or a total bitch.
Because I had set up a complex system where love and worth were to be earned.
Because I was so desperate to belong that I forgot to belong to myself.
You don’t owe anything to anyone.
When we confuse gratitude for debt, we enslave ourselves in lives that may no longer fit us.
When we believe that we are undeserving of the kind of lives that make us weak in the knees and frothing at the mouth with desire, we keep ourselves hobbled here, small and responsible.
When we want to be good, we take the safe path, the easy entry into relationships and belonging, because we are afraid that without our profound compromises we would be left alone.
When we treat our lives like commodities to be bought and sold, we are saying that we are worth loving on our own.
That we are not worth a momentary dust-up of conflict.
That the quality of our lives aren’t worth fighting for.
That our bodies aren’t ours to do with what we please.
That if we aren’t good, we will never fit in.
You don’t owe anything to anyone.
I am grateful.
I am grateful to my partner who loves me and makes me crazy and sticks around and endures the difficult conversations and navigates my muchness on a daily basis.
But I would not owe her my life if we were to no longer fit together. I do not owe her a pretty smile and a sentiment wrapped up in a pink bow if I am angry and have needs that aren’t being met. I do not owe her my silence in exchange for the continuation of our relationship, if something demands to be spoken aloud.
I am enormously grateful to my parents who grew me, sheltered me, raised me, put me through school, and love me deeply.
But I cannot be good for them alone. I cannot become someone other than who I am to please them. I cannot say yes when I want to say no, because I know that if I do resentment pollutes our beautiful relationships. I cannot take on their burdens as my own responsibility simply because we are tethered by our bloodline.
I love my sisters, more than almost anything in the world.
But they are adults with their own free will and choice and it is not my job to try to live their lives for them.
I am deeply grateful for my community here – for my business, my clients, and all of you lovely readers.
But I cannot keep myself small for your comfort. I have to be able to grow and change and shift over time in order to keep breathing in between the spaces of our energetic work together, in order to keep showing up here with everything that I have to give.
I am very grateful, but my gratitude does not mean that my life for the taking.
When we tell ourselves the story that we owe someone something, we are saying that we have an obligation to pay or repay something in return for something received.
We are reinforcing the concept that love is transactional. That sacrifice must be returned in kind.
But what is the repayment for such a debt?
10 years? 20? A lifetime of goodness?
Is this the way that we want to express our gratitude?
Are we meant for a lifetime of quietly seething, hungering, doing our best to stuff down our feelings about living for someone else?
Is that love?
You don’t owe anyone anything.
You get to choose.
You get to express your love in a way that only you can.
You get to live your life for YOU, and still radiate gratitude for those around you.
You are allowed to renegotiate relationships in order to free yourself from the tight restriction of resentment.
You are allowed to show up as you are – and tolerate other people’s reactions to you.
You get to decide what it means to be good.
You don’t owe anyone anything.
This life is yours for the living.
P.s. This article originally appeared as a weekly missive to my top secret circle of truth-tellers. Would you like to receive emails like this bright and early every Wednesday morning? Sign yourself up over here or in the shiny pink box below. xx
You may have buried your inner wisdom in the catacombs of your skin.
You may do your very best to avoid the truths that lurk behind corners only to pop out at you when you aren’t properly distracted by keeping yourself very, very busy.
You may have disconnected with yourself at some point, because the stories lies that you had been telling yourself about who you are and what you have to offer the world were too painful to bare.
Without this connection, you might feel small and lonely and useless when it comes to making your big life decisions about who you are and what you want and what you should do next.
The spark of this knowing remains no matter how many times you have tried to put it out.
But, when you are in that space of feeling weak and vulnerable, there are many antidotes available to you. The quick fixes and gurus and shiny plans that line your path, eager to bewilder you and divert your attention away from your own inner truth again and again.
If I walk back through time in my head, I can feel my own grabby hands clammy with the anticipation of these promises. I can feel the gravitational pull in my gut toward anyone in the room who felt bigger and stronger than me to latch onto.
I can feel how much I wanted those fixes to work.
This will be the time. This will fill that hole in me. This will remedy whatever is wrong with me.
I can feel how those fixes felt like my lifeline, because I was consistently telling myself that I was a lost cause without it.
These weren’t resources that built me up, filling my cracks like a balm and warming my heart.
These were resources that told me again and again that I was broken so that I could be sold a fix.
Another layer of cement over what I knew in my heart to be true.
Another voice telling me to distance myself from my own unique way of being in the world.
I want to write about this again and again, because I want you to know your own power.
I want you to know that there is a huge difference between signing up for something because it calls to you and because the idea of it leaves you giddy and breathless… and signing up for something because you believe you won’t be whole without it.
I want you to know that knowing who you are or what you want for your life isn’t privileged information held by a few, but that you can have access to this wisdom anytime you need it.
I want to write about this again and again, because I want you to know that you already have everything that you need.
You may desire guidance from someone you trust to help you access it.
You might want to dance in your mastery of a topic by exploring it more deeply.
You may even stand in your truth and know that there are places where your own inner resources are lacking – and reach out for support in learning the tools that will help you better tend to yourself.
It is absolutely human to not have all of the answers and give yourself ample permission to take part in whatever lights you up and helps further you down your path.
I am not advocating that you give up the supports and resources that fill you to the brim with hope and joy.
But, these are acts of self-love and not self-hate.
They bring you closer to yourself.
They illuminate the pieces of your own nature that you’ve been wanting to reconnect with.
They allow you to see yourself – and all of your brilliant, whole, goodness – more clearly, so that you cultivate a balanced image of yourself in your own mind.
An act of self-hate is different, because the yearning for it is born out of your not-enough-ness.
And your feelings of not-enough-ness are instigated by packaging of the solution offered.
It is meant to create a dependency. It is intended to further suppress your connection to your divine nature.
It is designed to keep you buying.
As a human who is in the business of creating experiences and invitations that facilitate growth, this distinction is really important to me.
Don’t get me wrong. I offer courses and coaching and retreats. I curate opportunities to help you get closer to yourself. But, the my purpose in creating these opportunities is to work my way out of a job.
I see you standing on your own two feet and looking into your own heart for guidance.
I see you telling yourself the truth.
I see you safe in the feeling of belonging to yourself.
I see you trusting yourself implicitly.
I believe that you have everything that you need.
You may want to ask for help unlocking it.
You may need a nudge and a loving dose of reminders that you already have the permission that you’re looking for.
You may simply enjoy participating in the community that gathers here.
But, here in this space, I approach creating these opportunities by grounding into the deep knowing that there is nothing wrong with you.
When you sit down to make a purchase, you are the only one who is going to be able to know which experience you are having. You are the only one who is going to know whether your choices are based in self-love or self-hate.
Because, as Eleanor Roosevelt said, no one can make you feel inferior without your consent.
I want to invite you into this conversation with yourself as you settle into owning your truth and standing in your power.
Do I believe that I need fixing? Do I believe this will fix me?
Who am I without this thing?
Am I making this choice out of self-love or self-hate?
Will it bring me closer to myself or fill me to the brim with joy?
Do I wantit or am I telling myself that I will never be wholewithout it?
Start with knowing that there is absolutely nothing wrong with you.
I’m great at keeping promises to the ones that I love, but when it comes to myself, I can’t seem to make it happen.
I really want to do _________, but I’m just too busy.
If I’m really honest, I don’t trust myself to follow through.
When we imagine self-trust, it seems like this enormous, all-encompassing thing that we either have or don’t have. We may look longingly at the few people who seem to be able to follow through with their dreams. We may judge ourselves harshly against their brilliant example – using this as further evidence to support our lack of self-worth.
Self-trust is built upon small moments of showing up and following through.
Through moments of integrity, where your actions on your own behalf are aligned with what you want for yourself.
You are walking through your life making choices everywhere that you go.
What to drink. What to wear. What to say yes to. What to say no to. When to engage. When to pick up your phone to start scrolling mindlessly. When to look your partner in the eye. When to commit yourself to a project, even if it’s only for 5 minutes.
If you examine them closely, these choices are either bringing you closer to yourself or further away.
Self-trust is broken in small moments of refusing to show up or actively participate in your life.
The moments when you ignore your intuition, plowing forward out of habit or fear.
The moments when you say yes, but everything in your body wants you to say no.
The moments when you compromise your needs in the name of productivity or external validation.
The moments when you make yourself small to make someone else comfortable.
Breaking your self-trust is a choice.
It is the choice of deciding that something [expectations, beliefs about “success,” praise] is more important than how it feels for you to live within your life, within your experiences of the world around you.
If we were to think about building our relationships with ourselves as if we were building them with someone else, we wouldn’t keep showing up, excited and ready, for someone who constantly disappointed us. We wouldn’t keep calling a friend who never called back. We wouldn’t continually put ourselves through the turmoil of the rejection inherent in being blown off.
And yet, that it is exactly what we expect from ourselves.
We expect ourselves to keep showing up, no matter how many times we’ve been let down or disappointed.
We refuse to do the work and then we chastise ourselves for always being stuck in the same place.
We criticize our bodies, even when we haven’t put in the time to take care of ourselves or nourish ourselves deeply.
We want what we want when we want it, but we aren’t doing the work of showing up.
I will claim this one for myself, as much as anyone else.
I want a finished book. I want it so badly I can taste it. I want to hold it in my hands. I want you to hold it in your hands.
But I haven’t been writing. I haven’t been showing up.
That book is not going to get written in between reruns of Gilmore Girls. And, each moment that I think about myself judgmentally without sitting down to do the work, I am damaging my self-trust. I am beating myself up for something that I have not, in all honesty, been applying myself for.
This isn’t the end of the world.
It is simply an honest conversation with myself about what I want and what I am willing to do in order to make it happen.
We can tolerate the discomfort of our own disappointment.
We can rebuild our trust, one honest action at a time.
A five minute stretch of writing. A walk around the block. A nourishing meal. A compassionate word when judgment is expected. A deep kiss before you head out the door.
Because I want that book, but more than anything I want to be able to have deep, resounding, and unshakable self-trust. I want to believe in my own ability to follow through.
That kind of self-trust is my responsibility. It is my work to craft trust like that. To show up and follow through when I say that I will, and to take action on my own behalf.
That is my work.
Join me to day in rebuilding your own trust.
Join me in keeping one promise, taking one small action on your own behalf.