Oh, I was going to write about herbs today and how not to make mistakes with them. (I will write about that next week!) But, I checked in with my heart, and it said ‘no’ to that topic. My heart said to talk about this instead: being a woman and not making ourselves small.
When I was flirting with the guy I was attracted to during the Sex Surge, I made myself small for him sometimes.
I don’t mean that I squished my body down to a smaller size (although, that’s a very common way women make ourselves smaller for other people). No, instead I made my mind, spirit, and emotions smaller.
When I would talk to him, I would not share all of the ideas or knowledge I had on a topic. In fact, I pretended to not understand something on at least three occasions (those being the most memorable – ouch!) so that he could enjoy the power of explaining something to me.
Both my soul and my mind cringe to think of this.
I am very curious- intellectually and otherwise- but in the case of this guy, I feigned curiosity about things he was interested in. I didn’t refuse my own curiosity, but I definitely amplified my excitement over his questions and adventures.
I certainly did not share the depth of my feelings about him, with him. This was very smart, on my part, it turns out. But neither did I share the depth of excitement I felt about experiences in my life or how much I loved certain things, even when there was opportunity to do so. Some part of me remained…hmmmm…inside the lines of what I thought he would find attractive.
And while I did share who I really was at that point in my life, I only shared an acceptable percentage of it. So as not to scare him off. Because I really, really wanted him. And I feared I would be Too Much for him, if I was truly, fully present and sharing of myself.
[To be super clear: I was and am too much for that guy. Too big. Too creative. Too sexy. Too smart. Too emotional and spiritual. Too much. Before, I hid it. Now, I rejoice in it. He could never have handled me; he just wasn’t capable. Also, my husband would never put up with me being small. He is constantly encouraging me and growing with me and supporting my own growth. That’s why I stayed with him. And that’s what every woman deserves.]
All of these limitations and half-expressions and self-narrowings did damage to my spirit, too.
I made my mind, emotions, and spirit smaller so that he might like me. And that was just…really dumb and damaging.
This was one of the big reasons I left our friendship- I knew it was not healthy (at any level). I also knew that, if my dreams ever came true and we somehow had a torrid (but, you know, gggoooorrrgggeeeooouuussss) affair, how could he ever accept the truth and totality of who I was?
I was looking at the Valentine’s candy displays in the local pharmacy last weekend, and I wondered: how many ways and times do women do this in our life?
A lot, I would gamble.
A way lot.
With the announcement of David Bowie’s death earlier this week, I was thinking of what a bright artist he was. I never really liked his music, but I always admired his willingness to just put stuff out there and be who he was. Crazy make-up and hair, complex visual art, fluid sexuality, and compelling music (even if it doesn’t float my boat, it’s still very interesting).
The old saying goes that David Bowie did all his outlandish stuff and at first people hated him; then they wanted to be him.
I think that says volumes about not being small.
Mark Nepo, in The Book of Awakening, writes:
“We are born with only one obligation – to be completely who we are…a flower in its excellence does not yearn to be a fish, and a fish in its unmanaged elegance does not long to be a tiger…Mysteriously, every weed and ant and wounded rabbit, every living creature has its unique anatomy of being which, when given over to, is more than enough.” (p. 11)
This post is not a call to get your Ziggy Stardust on – unless you feel that is your most you. It is simply a request that you not make yourself small for anyone.
That you be yourself, as often as you can.
That, in the moment where you can choose to get small for the sake of someone else, or be your full self, you choose the latter. In that moment, you choose to lift your head, open your shoulders, stand taller, and with your bright eyes shining, you take one small step deeper into who you are.
Let me tell you the truth: the world will envy you for it.