“Wild Woman teaches women when not to act “nice” about protecting their soulful lives.” Clarissa Pinkola Estés
// I wrote this late February \\
An amazing photographer, Natalie Gildersleeve, shared this quote on Instagram on Sunday. It felt like such perfect timing for me to see it. I had posted a quote about how liberating it can be to let go of expectations from outside of yourself, Saturday night. I had a comment from someone who it seemed to rub the wrong way. Someone who has done really well in the way of what society typically sees as success. It was a passive aggressive comment. I almost didn’t respond for this person to clarify, but I don’t buy the necessity to avoid these uncomfortable situations for peace, or that it’s unkind to stand up for yourself. It’s all about delivery. Even if you have to privately unload your knee jerk emotions about it first.
I know I’m far from alone in feeling I was shamed into being as small as possible. If I was upset, I was shamed for being too sensitive. If I’m proud or excited about something, I’m greeted with more shame & “must be nice” reactions, or weird discomfort, as if I don’t struggle deeply, too. If I stand up for myself or my truths, I’m being negative or emotional. No.
I don’t believe there’s some destination in growth. It will sway & shift directions. Right now I’m done though. I don’t want to be small. I can’t care how people will misperceive me or my family. I understand it’s not usually about me/you (whoever is being shamed), but about their own struggles. ESPECIALLY, if your light is shining light on their shadows. Our family has gone through job loss, foreclosure, welfare, extremely tough marriage issues, beans & rice for meals, death in the home, making things work-ish when lacking security, serious health issues, very dark moments during this past year (also life changing mindsets for growth)…the list continues, but my point is that my photography doesn’t tell you my/our struggles. It shares my getting through them. I’m not a victim. This is just our/my journey. We had plenty of people not understand our unconventional ways. We kept pushing though. I’m happy how far we’ve come & we deserve to be happy when we are!
My hope is we’ve taught our children that we can be ok no matter how insane things may seem or be. That we can block out all that outside noise that goes against our gift of intuition telling us differently. I want them to see how nobody can tell them what their journey is supposed to look like. Not even their parents. We, globally, don’t come into this world with the same journey. We may have the same needs, like love, nutrition, loved ones, good health, kindness, grace, safety, but our ways of getting them, or not getting them, aren’t going to be the same. Those needs aren’t the things I’m really talking about. Our ideas of fulfilled lives won’t be the same. We don’t need to feel shame for our journey or our truths because someone else hasn’t or is struggling to do the same with letting go of needing to do what other people think they should. We definitely don’t need to feel shame because folks don’t understand or disagree. It’s none of their business, and it’s none of our’s what thoughts they own. Honestly, more commonly those thoughts stem from conscious and subconscious envy. Maybe they wanted to do something different in life, but they went with checking a box of conformity to please others. Orrrr, their way has to be right, or else they wasted a lot of stressful energy & life. Even that is conditioning. Maybe all that you’ve done was meant to be your meaningful path, but it’s not another’s. We don’t all feel fulfilled by the same things. Our interests & passions are very different. We see life through very different perspectives. We have very different experiences & challenges. I choose to respectfully rebel the life other’s may find to be the successful way. Success is extremely subjective, right? Right.
I’m not insinuating it’s easy. I won’t pretend fears don’t brew for me, but I know there’s a million ways to live a fulfilled life. I celebrate anyone that has gone through dark times & can have moments of freedom from the conditionings of society. I especially celebrate your being proud of yourself!