Hello everyone! I know it’s been a hot minute since I’ve posted anything on here. I have learned this year to just allow my focus to go where it wants with my creative endeavors as I always seem to circle back around eventually.
Creatively I have been focusing on hand sewing lately. This takes up a lot of time but I find it so meditative and exciting once every seam is sewn and felled down neatly. One of these days I will talk more about the process. I am currently working on a pair of pants that will be about 99% hand sewn.
Anyway, that is not what this post is about. lol.
I’ve been a part of this incredible group container of women, called Fully Expressed, led by Dani Boltz (her website) the past few weeks and the discovery that has happened within this container, week after week, has been life changing for me. (BTW, Dani interviewed me for her podcast, Mudlark, and we talked all about Ethical Non-Monogamy. Listen here.)
This week we have been doing a lot of shadow work which I’ve done plenty before but not in the way Dani presents it. I have had the most profound, visceral releases and integrations I have ever experienced. I am slowly finding all the wounds and traumas I have held within myself over the years. I am realizing that I’ve seen these wounds and the traits they have created within me, had some strong emotion to them, and then unconsciously pushed them aside as we all tend to do when we are confronted with uncomfortable versions of ourselves.
What this week has helped me do, is see those traits, understand where they came from, forgive myself for pushing them aside and now I am actively learning to accept them as a part of me. Not just accept them, but see them as an asset, as a uniqueness, as a beauty within me. This has been life changing. I know, I keep saying that but it’s true.
In the past, with all forms of relationships–friendships, familial, romantic–I would find myself having big emotions whether it be positive or hard, and the intensity would make others uncomfortable.
So, I would apologize and shrink a bit to make it easier for them to accept me. Over the years, this would happen over and over and I’ve internalized this as “I’m too much” or “I’m too intense” or “too passionate”. I used to blame this on being part Brazilian. But I’m just a passionate person! When I find interest in something or someone, I dive right in and most of the time give people whiplash who are around me. I used to feel shame around this.
I used to also subconsciously feel I wasn’t worth the energy of people trying to understand or keep up with me in my passion and intensity. And how sad is that? It breaks my heart to know that I’ve operated with this unconscious bias towards myself for so many years. So, when people would tell me that I’m a lot or too much, I would agree and try to give them space from my “too much” energy.
Now, with this work I’ve been doing, plus a lot of life lessons and therapy, I realized there have been quite a few incredible people in my life who may not understand my intensity all the time but they appreciate me for it and love and accept me as I am. I do not have to dim my energy or pull back from them so they can handle being around me. They see me and they see beauty in my complexity.
I’ve always thought of myself as a pretty self-assured person so it’s been humbling to realize how much I have tried to fit into people’s molds to make them comfortable with me. And I’m pretty tired of it. I’m turning 40 next month and I’m finally feeling like I’m truly getting to know myself and liking myself for who I actually am.
I’m realizing that if someone can’t handle my energy then I’m just not meant for them, and that’s ok. I shouldn’t have to change myself to have people want me or like me or love me.
It’s scary to show up authentically. It’s a very vulnerable thing to do. But one thing that my current therapist has really gifted me with is the knowledge that other people’s reactions are rarely actually about me. I may be holding up a mirror to them and they are uncomfortable with what they see or maybe they are going through something in their life at that moment and that is affecting their ability to be fully open to me.
I am a good, kind, loving person and I am a huge giver and tend to want to nurture and heal those around me. But I can only do that fully and not be drained when I am fully myself, embracing myself as I embrace others.
They say to be the kind of best friend to yourself that you are to others. We tend to have so much love, understanding and patience for our close friends yet berate, shame and guilt ourselves for any little falter. Can we instead, encourage, soothe and accept ourselves in our highs and our lows?
We are all complex, beautiful souls and human beings. We will always make mistakes; we are constantly learning. This is exciting to me though. It has been one of the most enriching experiences to try to truly get to know myself over the past decade. Sometimes I felt as if it was a selfish act but I now find it to be the most loving and giving thing someone can do for those in their lives, even strangers. The more we know and embrace our true self, the more grounded we are, the happier we are, the more space we have to give space and embrace others as they are.
Put your oxygen mask on first before helping others put theirs on. It’s such a great analogy for life. How can we really be there for others and show up for others, be in relationship with others, if we haven’t been there for ourselves, shown up for ourselves and embraced ourselves first.
I will no longer apologize or shrink down when someone feels I’m too much for them. I will try to smile and graciously wish them well as I feel my heart swell with the love of the tribe of souls that resonate with mine.
I wish for you all to feel empowered to stop apologizing for who you are. You are complex, you are unique, you are beautiful just as you are. And you are worthy of love and acceptance just as you are.