Like a toddler waddling the room reaching in the air for the right words, I find myself humbled by recent life experiences. Each growth moment has demanded that I –umm—grow. The expansion has required a fierce commitment to transformation not only of myself but of each and every one of my relationships. This is giving new meaning to the phrase grown and sexy.
I am not learning to speak French or Wolof so there is no Rosetta Stone to help me through this phase. I am not learning to speak in public so a speech coach won’t do. I have, however, benefited greatly from a circle of spiritual teachers. Some of them trained practitioners while others are friends who have taken time to listen my story and share an experience or an insight.
Over the past 10 days I’ve had four conversations that in previous years would’ve been categorized as awkward, tense and would have fallen into the column of not happening. Learning how to speak, to honor what’s most present for me without worrying about the outcome has been liberating. It’s less like a toddler streaking around the house naked and more like a grown woman standing without clothes on, in front of a mirror appreciating and celebrating her own body with each of its imperfections.
As I vented and processed with two different girlfriends I realized the way these women cosigned my pressing the mute button on my own voice. It’s what many girls are socialized to do. We’re taught to be quiet, to not rock the boat and that the truth is not nice. It’s also way too easy to succumb to playing the victim. Meanwhile my male friend insisted that I needed to speak up and out and directly to these people in my life who were out of integrity. I also needed to give voice to new boundaries. He challenged me to do this as a way to de-clutter and detox my mind. In two instances I initiated communication by picking up the phone, and in two others divine order created the perfect ‘random’ meetings.
What’s the payoff of my staying silent? I wouldn’t have to go through the growing pains and I could sit with the familiar, but I’ve found that the reward for walking through the difficulty is that I get the satisfaction that comes with honoring both my voice and my vision. The uncertainty of how it will unfold is part of the adventure. Sometimes moments like these are indicators that a relationship has come to an end, but in this case it wasn’t about endings. I’ve preserved relationships with people I care about, who love and care for me deeply and who are sharing the journey with me for purposes much greater than ourselves.
Indeed there are definitely times when it’s better to let things work themselves out and not give energy to them, but discernment is key. Our gut will tell us the difference. I am finding that the more often I exercise these muscles of learning to speak, the more grown I feel. I’m not sure if sexy is the word to describe my elation, but damn I’m feeling good inside my own skin.