When I was a wee freshmen in high school, I made it a routine to buy a bagel and cream cheese, take it to the gym locker room (I had first period PE), and eat breakfast with a friend.
It had been clearly communicated that there was to be no eating in the locker room. Understandable.
But I wanted to eat my bagel and I wanted to eat in the locker room.
One day, as I was scarfing, I heard a voice behind me – it was the PE coordinator (takes care of equipment and facility).
I turned around, saw her –
and whipped back around staring down at my food.
I sat there still as a rock, cringing at my obvious disobedience, and acutely aware of her presence.
I wanted to disappear.
Just melt away….
Slide down the drain by my foot.
Never be seen again.
I can still remember the heat emanating from my body, burning my face, incriminating me further.
She finally said, “I know you saw me. Just because you turned your back to me doesn’t mean I don’t see you… you know you’re not supposed to be eating in the locker room.”
I slowly turned, and somehow garbled out a sorry excuse of an apology and plea of ignorance.
That memory came up today, or was it yesterday? Doesn’t matter.
And I immediately connected it to the undeniable fear and shame of “getting caught”, getting in trouble, stepping outside the lines, not following the rules.
I was and am deeply aware of spending most of my life trying not to splash, make too much noise around adults and authoritative figures.
And I realized I had carried the shame into my adulthood.
That memory didn’t mark the beginning of the shame.
It served as the testament to the already existing shame.
Somewhere along the way, I had learned that I am not worthy of being me.
That the way to live this life is to keep quiet, tiptoe around the fringes, and submit, concede, acquiesce.
Now, at the age of almost 31, I find that quite hilarious.
Don’t you think so?
And even more so, I know so.
I’m grateful for my journey.
Walking in the shadows reminded me of the freedom of running wild under the sun.
And I just know that I really did come here to do something, to be something.
To do that and to be that, the only thing that is required is belief in me.
Belief that my words, my thoughts, feelings, desires, hopes, dreams matter.
That there is nothing in the world that can take away anything from me.
There doesn’t need to be, if I am willing to deny who I am.
And now I can see past that story, that illusion.
I can see clearly.
And in that, I know freedom.
That freshman has my compassion.
And I have the lesson.
I am a beautiful gorgeous creature.
That makes me laugh, cringe even.
But why not?
Who am I to not believe the first thing that came up in my mind to describe myself?
Who am I to defy my nature?
All this to say,
my life is about living Me.
I am about Me.
I am about my expansion,
my full self-expression,
my absolute exhilaration and joy.
I am about me and I’m quite proud of it.