I have been feeling guilty and ashamed about being so loud on social media the past few weeks. And nothing makes a control freak like me shut up than worrying about whether or not I said the right thing or made my point clearly enough or ruffled the wrong people’s feathers.
Because I sure as hell know I’ve been ruffling people’s feathers. There are many things I’ve said that need to be said but nobody wants to say because nobody—especially not those benefiting from the system—wants to hear them. To be honest, I didn’t want to say them either. I didn’t want to be the girl rocking the boat.
But let’s face it.
There’s a lot of boat-rocking that needs to get done, and somebody’s gotta get it started. Besides, and more importantly, I’m gonna die a slow, torturous death if I didn’t speak up about the things people don’t want to hear but need to. For someone who always put herself last in her past life, learning self-preservation is key.
But I have to admit. Even speaking up to stay alive isn’t easy. It wasn’t easy the first time or the third time and I’ve got a sneaking suspicion it’s not going to be easy the hundredth time or even the hundred millionth time.
There’s a lot of guilt and shame that comes with it.
There’s a lot of:
“Who do I think I am trying to sound so high and mighty?”
“Maybe I should’ve been a little less intense, a little bit more toned down so people don’t get too hurt when I slap them in the face with the truth they already know but keep trying to ignore.”
“Maybe I’m just talking too much and not really saying anything.”
Always, when I feel out of alignment, I give myself a little break and ask: Why am I feeling this way? Where do this guilt and shame come from?
In the past, the answer had always been easy. Every time something was bothering me, every time I felt bad about something, and every time I didn’t feel like myself, I always received the same answer. I felt bad because I felt small, unheard, and insignificant.
All the childhood memories I used to not like reliving, all the random girls I used to look down on, even all the stupid politicians I used to rant about and go to Twitter on to have my rants validated—I went in deep for them. I asked myself: Why do you feel this way about this memory, this random girl, this politician? The answer always was some form of “I felt ugly, unloved, and powerless.”
And every single time, I sat down with those feelings and simply let them be. I allowed myself to feel like I wasn’t good enough—because even though that’s not true, that’s how I felt. And what you feel almost always certainly feels like the truth, even when it’s not.
And just in case you’re wondering, I didn’t ruminate about my feelings. I didn’t reflect on them. I didn’t review all the painful memories inside my head over and over again. That’s what most people do when they’re saying they’re feeling things. They’re simply thinking about them, making them bigger inside their heads by thinking about what they could have done differently and what they should do in the future.
That’s why people never get over the painful things of the past. Because they keep thinking of them instead of actually feeling them. And by feeling them, I mean letting go of all the thoughts inside your head about the things that feel bad and just, plainly and simply, opening yourself up to the painful and, often, very physical sensation of the emotion.
That’s how I began letting go of things that no longer serve me. By letting myself feel unloved, I slowly but surely, over the years, began discovering that the love I was looking for in all the wrong places has always been here all along.
Of course, I’m not perfect. I’ll never be. And for as long as we’re human, there will always be old pains to let go of and new paths to step into.
So when I started getting that nagging feeling that something was off, something wasn’t right about me being so vocal about, well, everything, I almost immediately started to look for the familiar feeling of being small.
I told myself that I’ve been so good at simply feeling my feelings that I only needed to feel the same old same old to let it go one more time. This was easy. I’m a pro at this.
But something was wrong. No matter how hard I tried, I just couldn’t put a finger on whatever it was that didn’t feel aligned. It usually takes no more than a few minutes to get settled in and feel into whatever’s going on inside me. But I had been searching for days, going down all the familiar routes, and getting nothing.
Did I feel too exposed?
Did I feel too different?
Did I feel too alone and isolated?
Did I feel like I didn’t belong? That was a big one because I rarely felt like I belonged, and what human being doesn’t want to feel like they belong?
Did I feel like I didn’t do enough? Like I should have said things differently to get more likes and shares?
Did I feel unloved, unappreciated, and unaccepted by the people I thought should be loving, appreciating, and accepting me?
No, no, no, no, no, and no.
So what was it? The answer finally struck me like a big farkin’ slap in the face. I don’t actually feel small and powerless. I don’t feel scared of having unpopular opinions and speaking about them. I don’t feel awkward sharing about my feelings in long posts on Facebook.
I actually feel very good about myself. Proud that I’m finally, finally, FINALLY telling people what I think in a way that feels good to me. After 32 years of not saying anything, you’d feel the same too. Excited that my message is finally getting to people and is, in fact, getting to people so much that they’re being triggered enough to unfriend me, block me, and pretend they’re not watching me like a hawk.
Protip: If something triggers you, that’s all the more reason you should listen to it.
So what in the hell did I feel so bad about?! I felt so bad about something so crazy you’re never going to guess.
I felt bad because I felt good about myself. I spoke up not feeling sorry for anything I said. I showed up not feeling like I needed to apologize to anyone whose feathers got ruffled. And most importantly, I showed up fully as myself AND inspired others to do the same.
It’s one of the best feelings in the world, right up there next to swimming with the turtles under the sea and remembering yet again that there are so many things to learn about our inner and outer worlds. And yet I felt so guilty and ashamed about it.
For so long, I had been operating on feeling small by default that some part of me still thought it was the only acceptable thing to feel. And so when I finally stopped feeling small, somewhere in my mind, some version of old me hit the panic button.
This is unknown territory. What the hell do I do?
I felt scared. I still do. I’m scared of what I could say and do. I’m scared of the things I could create. But most of all, I’m scared of the big farkin’ responsibility this all comes with. That once you start stepping into the truest and bestest version of you, you have NO CHOICE but to keep moving forward. It doesn’t matter that everything’s a big, inky void in front of you. You simply have to put one foot ahead of the other again and again and again, with not much to go on but the faith that got you here.
And there’s one more thing.
I’m scared that this isn’t just about me anymore. Well, it—whatever it is—has never really been about just me, the bruised ego in this human body. I have a responsibility to myself to be myself, but I also have a responsibility to all of humanity to be all of me. I owe it to you. I owe it to everybody. And you owe it to you, to me, and to everybody else too to shine your light in the brightest way you can so you can inspire others to do the same.
We are, after all, not isolated blobs of thought encased in our fragile bodies. We’re all in this together, this being the Earth experience. We’re one and the same. And whatever you do for yourself, you inspire and allow others to do for themselves. I’m being me for me. I’m being me for you. That’s scary in a big, exhilarating way—like when you’re just about to jump off the bungee platform or sign the papers on your new home. You don’t know what’s going to happen, but you know it’s going to be good.