Maybe this sounds familiar:

You are in conversation with someone. As they are talking you hear another entire monologue – all within your head. All the words you’d never dare speak, the emotions you really feel, the you you wish you could reveal. It’s so loud you marvel that they cannot hear it, that they cannot hear you (and sometimes you’re even irritated that they can’t). You struggle to stay focused, to repress what keeps rising up, to silence the din. And, *sigh*, undoubtedly, you succeed. You keep your thoughts to yourself. You quiet down the ruckus within. You’re good at this. Highly practiced. On it.

Or maybe it is only me.

Maybe I’m the only one who has known this experience – over and over again. Maybe I’m the only one who, after a lifetime of this pattern, began to feel disingenuous and not really seen, heard, or known. Maybe I’m the only one who felt bone-weary almost every single day. Maybe I’m the only one who felt like she was living two completely different lives: the dangerous one hidden, the safe and acceptable one revealed.

Maybe it’s not only me.

Despite years of good, hard work and profound healing – the therapy, the spiritual direction, the long-and-into-the night conversations with dear friends – I feel something hauntingly familiar. A deep-seated fear that if I do or say what I actually think and feel all hell will surely break loose. A deep-seated belief that I am responsible for keeping myself and them together. A deep-seated pattern of denying
those voices instead of trusting them.

Here’s what I know – and because, maybe, just maybe, it applies to you – what I want you to know, as well:

I need to, deserve to, and must listen to those voices. That rumble and ever-increasing cacophony within isn’t something to ignore. And my renewed and endless efforts to silence it will not be abided.

It’s the sound of generations and generations of women in thunderous chant on my behalf. An army that rides in my honor and defense. A force no more tamable than wild horses. They call me to gorgeous strength. They imbue me with dauntless courage. They remind me that they know – without a shadow of a doubt – who I truly am. And they will not allow anything less of or for me, their daughter, their lineage, their kin.

They say this to me – and maybe even to you:

You do not deserve a life lived in shadow or even slightly restrained. It is not to be your destiny. Silence does not suit you. So rise up. Stand tall. Step forward. And speak. We’ve got your back.

Maybe it is only me. Or maybe not.

May it be so.

[Deep appreciation to Dinah and her story for connecting me to my own. Just one of the ancient, sacred narratives I so need and so love.]