“And the day came when the risk to remain tight in bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.”
You know when it’s over. You know when you can not and will not take anymore and are tired of giving your self away. You know when the pain of staying small and the risk of saying no is not as great as the pain you have lived acquiescing for so many years. You know it’s time to claim your value and worth.
You outgrow an old skin and realize as that covering begins to shed, it never really was yours. You tried to squeeze yourself into a mold to be seen as ‘nice’ or ‘good’ and not make waves or cause a problem. You never wanted to stand out or be seen as too much.
But that doesn’t work for you anymore. You are suffocating inside a belief that does not fit who you are. Who knows where that belief came from or why you believed it. It doesn’t matter. What does matter is in every fiber and cell of your being you can not and will not accept less than what you deserve. Then and only then are you willing to risk losing parts of your world to become who you really are. When you stand up and are willing to stand strong alone, for your own truth, you claim your place in this world. As Russ Hudson has said, ‘You take your place in the great mandala of life.’
We all, in one way or another, give up parts of ourselves to fit into an idea of who we should be. We live, for a time, the story others wrote for us. The day comes when we discover we are the author of our own lives and it is up to us to begin living our own story. We burst through the old skin and begin a quest to live the life we were meant to live.
It must be what John Lewis, Martin Luther King Jr. and so many others decided early on in their lives, that they were not going to accept being less than anyone else simply because of the color of their skin. They were finished being treated as inferior, as if their lives didn’t matter. It was over when they demanded to be at the table, not to serve and bow down to others, but to sit amongst all and show up fully as equal and accepted nothing less.
When you are ready to say ‘it’s over, no more, never again,’ and are willing to risk being alone and cast out of the circles you wanted so desperately to belong to, you will discover other voices calling out to you. Those voices are others who have traveled the path before encouraging you to take a step towards your own freedom and life. You will find yourself on a path that is completely new and somehow totally familiar. The path was always there, waiting for you to step onto and walk into your true life.
I know this well in my life. I lived in a skin too small and tried to fit in too many times. For me, that skin is almost gone. Every once in a while I see another piece that needs to be let go of and I, with the help of others, gently and compassionately say goodbye. I thank those pieces and parts of myself that got me here and I let them fall off. I stand in a new place of openness and uncertainty, confident the path will continue to appear before me.
My sincere hope is that in this country we come to this place together and say resoundingly and emphatically ‘it’s over, no more, never again.’ My prayer is for an overwhelming majority of us to collectively stand up, stand out, stand strong with and for one another to be who we were meant to be as a nation. United and diverse. Inclusive and free. Where we each belong to our own powerful truth and support each other to discover theirs. That is my wish and how I will stand and walk going forward. And if I see you on the path behind me I will hold out my hand to help bring you forward as I continue to be led farther along.
I tried to live small.
I took a narrow bed.
I held my elbows to my sides.
I tried to step carefully
And to think softly
And to breathe shallowly
In my portion of air
And to disturb no one.
Yet see how I spread out and I cannot help it.
I take to myself more and more, and I take nothing
That I do not need,…….
Excuse me for living,
But, since I am living,
Given inches, I take yards,
Taking yards, dream of miles,
And a landscape, unbounded
And vast in abandon.
You too dreaming of the same.