There is a feeling unlike anything else that could be described, but more so felt in one’s depths.
Felt in a way that I know when I’m in synch with myself.
Radiance is something that can be witnessed, when you see it captured in eyes, a motion, the fluidity of an energy surging and flooding the space shared.
Similar to flashing light. It’s there. That spark within that can radiate out, unbeknownst to our own consciousness. These are the moments I revel in. Small moments I pocket for later when the gray can settle in.
When I see them running with abandon and reveling in the sunshine. The sound of a belly laugh rumbling from a human soul. Moving so freely and making eye contact for a fragment of a second and sharing that fleeting joy. The warmth of a heartbeat pressed close to my chest and holding fast to our beats as they synch. Small fingers curled around mine and the smallest of a squeeze to know that I’m still there. The morning dew rising from the fence and the sunshine sparkling the droplets, playing tricks on my eyes.
Life’s littlest moments are what truly make up my days. What about you?
Take up space, what a phrase, what a world, and what a time to be alive right now. Who knew that in the year 2022 we would still be fighting this fight to have rights over our own selves?
Women are powerful.
How scary, how terrifying to see someone own their own space, and feel in awe of their glow. I guess when light shines too brightly, those who seek the shadows latch on and pull until their tug gives way. Here’s the thing though, light, seeks light.
Someone can always try to knock you down, or make you feel less than, or unworthy, but that speaks more about them than it does about you.
I was recently chatting with a friend and the topic of confidence came up. Where did my confidence come from? As an introverted extrovert, I recharge in alone time, but I light up like the fire sign that I am when I can channel my energy positively with others. Cue dance music, lights, I’m in the zone, and l.o.v.i.n.g. i.t.
Where does the idea of confidence derive from?
I believe that nurture has way more to do with us than we would like to admit. Finding ways to come face to face with the experiences you were raised with or the paths you have traversed will help you heal deep wounds that could potentially hinder your opportunities later in life. Here is what I mean by that. Take, for instance, a compliment, if you say, “Thank you, I appreciate that,” versus “Oh this, no, I’m not …..” kicking yourself and thinking you’re less than. Truths seep out in everything we do. If we allow ourselves to believe the floodgates of thoughts that pass by daily, one could really be paralyzed, run, or fight with everything and everyone including themselves. Nurture, the very word makes me think of blankets, comfort, food, hugs, and family, but that’s because of my upbringing and where I come from.
I do believe that confidence is rooted in a kind of chutzpah, a sense of gumption, audacity, who does she think she is?! I grew up feeling firmly rooted in the knowledge that I was one human in a massive world; however, my life had meaning. I knew that I was loved, I felt that I was valued, and my abilities did not define me, my actions were of value, not the way that I looked, but how I treated others, how I used my words, how I could potentially impact the world. I think a large part of this comes from my family, and also my idea of what faith means. I felt a sense of community in knowing I came from somewhere and that I wanted to be a person who had a story to share. I walked with a sense of knowing, but also felt outside of myself in public spaces. The introvert in me allowed me to process deeply, take time, and tread cautiously, but the extrovert in me held hands with the introvert and spoke up when she needed to. She said, “No,” firmly, and never allowed someone to squelch her fire. There were many, many times when water was thrown on the fire, but still, it simmered. There is something to be said about feeling that connection of value and worth and carrying it on your shoulders.
Confidence comes from within, but I believe it takes practice to look at yourself and truly believe in it.
Confidence and value are sisters running through your mind and needing direction. Channeling them in daily practice helps reinforce when those traits take center stage throughout moments in your life. Having the confidence to speak up for yourself is the first step to helping others. It’s the same example as “put on your safety mask first.” If you don’t help yourself, then how can you be of help to others?
I remember sitting in a meeting, taking notes, and being told by the admin, “Look at me.” I set my pen down, looked them dead in the eyes, and said, “I am listening to you. I learn best when I write things down. That’s my learning style, and if I cannot meet my own needs in a meeting, then how can I be of service to my students?”
It’s the knowledge of knowing how to use your chutzpah, channel your tact, and spin your plates accordingly that make all the difference. Life is never easy, but if you lean into who you are, it becomes much less complicated.
So, what is the takeaway from this stream of consciousness? Perhaps it lies in the following words:
Take up space.
You are worthy
Take up space.
You are valued.
Take up space.
Your life has meaning.
Take up space.
Listen to your gut.
Take up space.
Embrace who you are.
Take up space.
Love yourself because you are your own longest relationship.
They say, “A smile is worth a thousand words…” What a genius *they* were. I chose the photo for a few reasons; one it is was a photograph by my oldest and closest friend. Two, I need an updated head shot post life and two children and the pandemic, but I had not been photographed professionally in over two years. Finally it reminded me of what I thought I had lost.
She said my name, I turned and laughed, click. In one click that moment in time was stilled to a screeching halt. If I close my eyes I can see it, I can see it all flash like lightening out the window in the heat of the storm. I see that moment, and I see her and I see me…
The news, the phone calls, the fourteen-hour time difference, the lab results, the surgery, their visit, the return, the results, cutting her hair and her curls falling, falling, falling. Her story, not your story, but still the fall while I was running, running, running. Flying to visit on my first solo trip abroad. The anxiety beating in my chest. Waking up vomiting. Her making me laugh saying, “It’s nice to hear the sound of someone else puking and it not being me.” God she was so funny. Why. Why. Why. Why are good people punished? Is that even something that is valid to ask? Screw it. I said it. It was, it is, and it sometimes still crosses my mind. The flight home and feeling like a chunk of my heart lay in Hong Kong receiving the drip, drip, drip, hoping the life force of chemo would somehow heal the broken body. The waiting, the wondering, and the waiting some more. Time halted with the call; they’re coming home. She’s coming home. Home. What is home for them? The last four and a half months, like a count down before me. The last time we watched a movie together. Choking down popcorn. Fucking cancer. The call from the stupid company thinking that if only they had her take more of their potions it would change things. Leave, my sister alone, for the love of God. That last show. The blood on her tissue. Thinking to myself I should go over and cuddle with her. Texting, calling, and waiting. Curling up in the corner of the hospital bed and holding her hand. Gently waking her to speak with the doctor. Talking, talking, talking, they’re talking at her and she’s not even awake. What the hell is going on? Surgery, for what? No more pain, no more needles, she said no more needles don’t touch her. Losing my mind in the hallway calling mom choking up on the phone. Yelling at, sigh, a priest when he offered me help. I’m not CATHOLIC I yelled. I’m JEWISH. Wow. So that happened. I just sat there taking turns holding her hand, taking turns, and crying and praying that her labored breathing would ease. My God. How selfish could I be, I asked God to make it stop, what is wrong with me? That last moment. I see her hands; I see the soft rounded half moons on her nails. The same hands that held mine. Hands that braided my hair. That took pictures together. That passed book pages. That shared chocolate. That cooled a forehead. That taught me to drive. Hands. Hearts. Hands intertwined. I missed her smile. The audience packed over three hundred souls in the room to honor her. I was numb. I just kept thinking, I can’t lose this one too, in the bathroom praying the blood not to come. Waiting, not feeling right. The blood tests. The ultrasound. Hearing, “I’m so sorry, please wait here.” The look on his face. God, make it stop. Here I go again. Calling out to God and where are… they? The hospital lights dimmed as the drugs smoothed the edges of my raw nerves. “How are you feeling?” she asked, I rolled my head over to her and smiled, “So good.” Hobbling to the bathroom and thanking the nurse for helping me. The blood, that’s to be expected. The color stained behind my eyes. Every month I saw it again and again, and again. The pulsing life force within me that kept me alive, and reminded me monthly I had more to give, I had more to live for, to grow for, I had to reframe my perspective, ‘cuz this ain’t it kid, this ain’t it. What did she tell me?
“Hineni,” Hebrew for, “Here I am.” That was it, here I am, and here I will stay. I am not my sister, and she was not me.
Click. Click. Click.
The rush of the moment. The train station walls illuminated as the dusky lights of night descended upon us. All in a moment, all was still, and the laugh subsided. We sat to take a rest after shooting in the park along the Willamette River. Shooting one another and covering her camera with what we lovingly referred to as the camera condom. The humor from middle school never seemed to disappear between us. Old habits die hard, “Was that a good one?” She chuckles, “Yeah I think I got it, you smiled!”