What does stepping out look like to you?
What arena in your life is hinting - I know you have more to offer than you let on?
I think many of us are play-it-small-gals...for lots of reasons.
I also realize more and more that if you take the time to really hear, and see, and know the women around you, you’ll find out that even the ones who seem to be living large and playing beautifully into their own strengths... also have insecurities, questions of worth, and a failure or mistake that they just can’t seem to forget.
Have you ever heard the line of thinking - ‘happiness is a form of courage’?
I believe the same can be said for bringing what you have, and who you are, into the playing field and unapologetically announcing...
“I’m here to contribute because I've got something great to offer.”
Freaky Friday right?
Someone gave me a huge compliment recently and it will likely only ring true as a compliment to me. She said, “You’re quirky, and you like ugly things, and that’s awesome.”
I loved this, and it runs through my mind almost everyday now, and I smile.
And here’s why….
It’s true, I am quirky and I like ugly things...and I’ve fought for 38 years to be okay with that.
To be okay with me.
I’m going to be brutally honest here and I just know that it’s going to resonate, because that’s what honesty always does. You shine the light into the dark corners, and all of the skeletons scatter.
I was an overachiever at a very young age, and the second I started school that was recognized. I was bumped into higher grade levels for academic subjects and I was chosen to mentor my own peers who were struggling because I was patient and had an effortless grasp of the work so I was always ahead of everyone else. Early on I was placed in academic enrichment and was removed from my class several times per month to study more advanced topics.
I loved school.
I loved what it did for my brain.
I loved that I was good at it.
I loved contributing.
I felt like I had an identity where my strengths were celebrated.
I know...horrifying right?
But I don’t know if you know where this is going….
As a result of being singled out I got labeled by my peers. They weren’t endearing terms. They were accusatory and meant to belittle me. In fifth grade it developed into full blown bullying and a new girl took on the role of ring leader in an effort to completely decimate all of my friendships and successes, and destroyed my sense of self worth right along with it.
I never told anyone.
I didn’t even know until far into my grown up years that these actions were classified as bullying.
All I knew was this - who I was and the things I was good at were going to be a source of torment and ridicule and my safest bet would be to get as close to being invisible as possible.
And that’s what I did.
We moved that year and changed schools but the damage had been done. Starting out in grade 6 my teacher contacted my parents and asked if I had been in special education classes at my previous school because I was so timid he assumed there must be an intellectual delay at play. He was floored when my mom told him that I was a straight A, enrichment student.
Upon entry into grade 9 my assigned guidance counsellor set up an appointment with me to nail down which academic clubs I was going to join. I told him I wouldn’t be joining any of them. Over the next few weeks he urged me to reconsider, and I wouldn’t.
In tenth grade my English teacher asked me to submit a written piece for the English awards. I brushed her off forever, until I finally caved and shoved a messy, hand-written essay into her hands just so she would leave me alone.
By grade 11 I was nearly failing every course and in grade 12 I got kicked out of school.
I almost didn’t graduate.
I’ve had the nagging suspicion for decades that who I am is just too much.
Too much to accept.
Too much to like.
Too much to love.
I have spent all of my adult years sifting through this message...and listening to this voice...that sounded like my own...believing it was the voice of protection and security for me.
But I’ve been wrong.
And you’re wrong too.
No one else can offer up what I can offer up. Because all of it was hand-chosen and assigned by a Creator whose ways are higher. A God who knows that the place I live and the people I know may need someone like me to give what I’ve got to give.
No one can bring to the table what you can bring to the table. Because when you were created, the mold was broken. You’re the one and only. You choose to hide what you have and who you are...and the world misses out.
Emerging past these walls is hard, but also like getting reacquainted with an old, long lost friend...one I liked...one who I could remember really loving at one point.
There are many, many unknown reasons why people play small in their lives...why they don’t bring their best to the table. You may not even know that she is outstanding in one area... or he is gifted in another.
It’s all kept under wraps.
But...can I shout it from the rooftops....?!?!?
It’s. Not. Worth. It.
It’s time to take the jump.
It’s time to risk it.
Because your lifestyle of burying and hiding and playing small...soon becomes your lifestory.
We weren’t created to bury the light.
We were created to bring it.