Just a few years back I bought a white knit top with large black polka dots. I love polka dots. They make me happy and light-hearted.
I brought it home.
Proudly hung it in my closet.
It stayed there.
Most people can’t wait to wear their new purchases. (I’m outing my husband here, who must put on his newly purchased shoes or shirt seconds after walking out the door, like a kid instantly ripping open the packaging of their new toy.)
I recognized a certain hesitation that kept the shirt on the hangar and not on my shoulders. It didn’t match the mid-western shades of grey blandness that permeated my closet. At the time I bought it, I was feeling sassy and bold with springtime right around the corner and desired a fresh perspective.
So why the hesitation?
The point I brought up in Part I about Scaredy-Cats spending lots of energy on a daily basis to “plan and perfect” ourselves before we put ourselves out there in world …..well that was gonna on for me at the time. I know this kind of thought weighs heavy on my energetic backpacks.
So much for fresh perspective, right?
It was story fondling– thinking and feeling as if, once that shirt was on my back all kinds of attention would be on little ‘ol me. I felt this shirt was speaking for me (as our attire and adornments can do….if that’s our intention).
Who did I think I was? Rhianna or Elton John?
Who did or did not actually give me attention is not relevant. The hesitation part is more important.
The hesitating is where we Scaredy-cats pause and linger and get caught.
I was raised in the “children should not speak until spoken to” midwestern religious-fueled mileu. My family was large and I fully understand needing some sense of control with six kids undertow to manage flares for impulsive outbursts. I remember the tone of that directive and also remember the inner angst. Because knowing myself as a kid, teenager, and so on, I wasn’t one to be demonstrative in the first place.
Impulsivity isn’t one of my strong suits. I still carry the lingering rule of “take ‘er easy, make sure you sound good, intelligent and whatever you do, try not to fool of yourself” principle.
But I also believe that keeping my mouth shut too often keeps me in a frozen, kinda cowardly way. I’m not an extroverted activist, more so an introverted one. But I do have thoughts, opinions, ideas, verses to speak and musical notes to sing.
I do love Sara Bareilles singing loudly to me:
Say what you wanna say…And let the words fall out…Honestly I wanna see you be brave…
When my book was published a few months ago, I felt more excitement that I was finally taking a definitive stand towards self-expression than fear, believing that people could be inspired by my stories. That’s a new form of outspokenness for me and I love to talk about it. I admit that when I speak it, I expect people to gush and mush over me. A few do. Others just smile in a “life goes on kind of way.” That’s how it can be with outspokenness. You affect some folks and others, they yawn.
Interesting isn’t it, that I finally chose to wear the shirt a few months after I purchased it, while in California for a Martha Beck coaches summit where the love energy is high and mighty? I knew I felt safe in that environment. And my insides sparkled as much as I felt the shirt did without glittery sequins.
I believe outspokenness is not about “being safe.” It’s about owning my full sense of self-expression.
So I’ve decided to start a podcast called BloomBabyBloom.
….more in the next blog