I’ve been holding back.
For months. For years. Stops and starts. Layers shed. Never quite reaching the center. Never quite letting the core be seen, heard, felt, acknowledged.
I have allowed fear of what They might think stop me. Slow me. Not allow me to dive into what I want to do, who I want to be. I’ve been allowing The Rules, someone else’s Rules, determine what I can and can’t do, who I can and can’t be.
What if I get in trouble? What if my career is stopped before it even begins?
And then knowing in my bones I have to do things my way, I have no choice but to follow my calling, to listen to my belly rumblings and heart whispers.
Why do I always have to do things differently? Why can’t I follow the beaten path, just once? Why must I never feel like the tried and true fits my skin?
I have followed. Asked advice. Mimicked, but not really. Watched. Observed. How have others done it? Does that fit me? Should I try it on?
And then, when I want to crawl out of my skin, but not my skin, someone else’s I know.
It doesn’t fit. It’s not quite right. Maybe it’s close, but it’s not me, it’s them.
What if? What if I dove in? What if I dove into me? Would I drown? Would I struggle and gasp and claw and flail about? Would I tread, gracelessly bobbing up and down, catching my breath but not really breathing? Or would I grow my mermaid tail and glide effortlessly, feeling both the resistance and support of the ocean surrounding me, the salt water from where I came, finding my breath in the depths, my ground, my home?
What if I sat and looked through hundreds of design options for my site and found The One. The One that is nothing like anyone else’s? And even knowing the vast amount of work involved with the overhaul, find myself giddy with the thought of it, of the home of my words finally being right?
What if I wrote from my heart? Allowed the words to flow straight from my womb, up across my throat, through my fingers and onto the screen? What if I allowed the tears to fall as my throat finally opened up and the words appeared. What if I wrote my truth and reality in this moment?
What if I let go of my fear? What if I followed my mantra and looked at the rules and decided they didn’t really apply to me and did what I want? What if my fear held on tight and through shaking hands and trembling voice I did it anyway?
What if I owned the words that have howled my name? What if I started living my vision of me?
What if I went deeper? What if I embraced the adventure?
What if I finally allowed all that BIG to break loose? What if I owned my strength, my beauty, my balance of ebb and flow?
What if I started over, again? And again, and again?
What if I allowed my roots as a mother, as a writer, as a woman to dig down into me? What if I stopped worrying about my “audience”? What if I really made my own statement, for real, for always?
What if I whispered YES through painted red lips? What if I growled it?
What if I shared the stories, the truth of them, releasing the details to the wind, knowing they don’t matter? What if I got to the center, the core, the heartache, the joy, the agony, the pleasure?
What if I opened myself up, again, and and instead of running and hiding when it felt like to much, this time I stayed rooted, chin up, eyes open? Allowing for bending and swaying, but not running, not hiding?
What if I shed another layer of those stories that have held me back? Time and again held me back. What if I went off script and did not what was expected or assumed, but instead became classically, timelessly me?
Writer. Rebel. Guide.
What if I owned those words, truly? Allowed them to sink into my skin? Permitted myself to be these words that have danced around me, begging me to claim them? Maybe not forever, but at least for now? And what if forever, knowing as I type that a smile spreads across my face and my soul, my body softening into the truth that yes, yes, forever.
What if I recognize the fire in my belly to write and put my words out into the world, connecting through letters and screens and gathering and finding and holding hands with my tribe? What if I realize this fire has been there since childhood, but I have squelched it, dampened it, hidden it? Writer. Always a writer. Then, now, tomorrow. Always.
What if I dig down and know I can’t do it the way every one else has, that I have to break out of any molds, that I have no choice but to do it my way, to be the woman I am at my center, to howl at the sun and the moon and to sometimes ask forgiveness, but never, ever again, ask permission? Rebel. Yes. Oh yes, since birth, doing it my way. Always stomping, dancing, skipping, stumbling on my own path.
What if I got quiet and listened, fervently listened? What if heard my own embodied wisdom? And then, what if I held my fears by the hand and walked into the world knowing I could help others, knowing I could guide them into being and becoming, into shedding and releasing, into growing and glowing? What if I looked around and saw those gathered, looking back seeing the depth of the circle, looking forward seeing its breadth? Guide. The voices and myths becoming angry that I dare take on that word, that I dare allow it to melt into me, me into it. Guide, yes, a piece of me as true as the writer and the rebel.
What if I dove in? Indeed. What if?