I’ve decided I must make some NOISE upon my return to blogging, instead of crawling in ashamed and apologetic, as is my instinct. This blog is for me alone and the only way for it to be a productive and useful space if I am forgiving with myself. When I can write, I will; When I can’t write, I refuse to beat myself up about it!
And now I will include a quote that, although a popular blog post, seems an absolutely necessary part of my blog as well:
Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.
Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.
It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us.
We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant,
gorgeous, talented, fabulous?
Actually, who are you not to be?
You are a child of God.
Your playing small does not serve the world.
There is nothing enlightened about shrinking
so that other people won’t feel insecure around you.
We are all meant to shine, as children do.
We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us.
It is not just in some of us; it is in everyone.
And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously
give other people permission to do the same.
As we are liberated from our own fear,
our presence automatically liberates others.
Marianne Williamson, from A Return to Love
These are words I need to keep close by and return to. Especially the line, “Your playing small does not serve the world.” I have spent most of my life playing small, feeling like I am not worthy of being big and loud and taking up attention, space. Although I’ve always admired those that are uninhibitedly themselves, I have always seen this action in myself as exceptionally selfish. I need a way to assimilate her assertion that it is unselfish, and actually liberating to others, for us to be the best possible versions of ourselves and to share our glory and beauty freely with the world.
As I write these thoughts, I think of myself as a traveler. Abroad, I am a much different person- open, proud, confident, free, adventurous, relaxed- I have a sense of shining and wanting that glow to be noticed. I feel as if the walls I normally hold up around me are loosened to curtains, and sometimes even parted. The distances between myself and other beings are lessened, not so daunting and unsurpassable. How ironic that I’ve had the experience of feeling that connectedness is more possible in places where my native language wasn’t spoken, in which there was in fact so much more challenge (realistically) in creating the “easy”, everyday interactions that seem opportune in my native environment! Perhaps it is because being in a foreign country automatically sets me apart as different, so there’s no pressure felt to conform, and all that’s available is to grow in my uniqueness and take pleasure in whatever means I’m afforded to connect with other people. It’s perhaps simply a matter of approach: In my home, I expect to be able to connect easily with others, so I’m not willing to work hard for it, therefore I feel the barriers that much more strongly (actually building more up around myself) and fall easily into the trap of spiraling loneliness; Abroad, I expect that connection will take effort and willingly work towards it, therefore finding extreme joy and gratefulness in whatever interaction with others I am capable of developing, and so feel the pull of universal human connectedness despite the fact that I might realistically be more alone in my setting abroad than I am in my home setting. What does this tell me about myself, about where I am meant to be and what I am meant to do in this life? These questions and inclinations draw me to continue traveling and searching in new and unfamiliar corners.
Finally, the quest to be “liberated from my own fear” just might be the foundation and the answer behind this work of creative exploration. Is not my fear the clenched fist, keeping me from expanding to my full joyous potential?