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.