In 2019, I had to confront my own fears, concerns, insecurities around being politically, societally, morally, or religiously incorrect for the ways I was teaching, preaching, and representing myself.
The more I leaned into exploring my feminine side, the more 'inappropriate' it felt. I felt shame for my more mature views, beliefs, insights, and desires.
I believed that society prefers sweet girls and that the only honorable way to be a woman was to be married or a mother. Furthermore, women who were confidently in touch with themselves, their boundaries, and their independence were intimidating, aggressive, and some version of too much.
As I explored my feminine nature, got more tattoos, came out as bisexual, shared my love of being nude, encouraged people to wildly chase their dreams, and started contemplating the realities of this dimension, I spent some time concerned about what my former students, their parents, and my former colleagues might think of me living more self-expressed and exposed.
I didn’t really realize how afraid I was until I started venturing out into unfamiliar territory. I was afraid family and friends would disown me. I was afraid to offend. I was afraid enough of rejection that it has taken years to blossom open into the level of self-expression I find myself living into these days.
I was afraid of losing the positive role model title I had become accustomed to since high school. I was afraid mothers wouldn’t want their daughters around me. I was afraid people would make fun of or pretend not to know my heart anymore. I was scared to feel outcasted because I cause people shame or discomfort. I have always taken pride in positively affecting people and I was afraid that unleashing all of me would strip me of my admiration.
What I realized in the depth of my inner work was that I was thinking and operating from years of conditioning of what being an adult means. I had a certain definition of a respectable woman. I had patriarchal beliefs about women, their bodies, and sexuality. I had a whole structure in my head that was formed based on what I had observed throughout my life.
But as I kept dismantling all these beliefs, I liberated myself and others.
You see, I have had a lot of role models in my life that became very human as I (we) have aged.
I saw leaders that I put on a pedestal fall from grace when I have witnessed them act like the primal humans that they are.
I have experienced disappointment, shame, and weirdness when I saw the people I thought had it all together were really falling apart behind the scenes.
I have no doubt that many people have experienced this with the elders, mentors, and teachers of their time.
This isn't meant to make anyone wrong.
In fact, the exact opposite.
This realization helped me to become human as well.
It granted me permission to stop pretending or striving for perfection.
I was already very human but I wasn't acknowledging all the parts and aspects of me; my multidimensionality.
I was trying to uphold some unrealistic version or expectation of the model person. The upstanding citizen. The humble Christian. The perfect teacher and coach. The list goes on and we all have our own versions.
I stuck with and extenuated the parts of me that won people's approval like the clean cut, homegrown, all-american, midwestern girl. The athlete. The winner. The wife. The corporate manager.
But (without my knowing at the time) I was compartmentalizing the more complex, diverse, and marginalized versions of myself.
The part of me that gets sad and angry.
The judgmental part of me.
The natural beauty.
The one who thrives on adventure.
The one who has high standards.
The sensual and sexual part of me.
The inquisitive deep thinker.
The one who loves money.
The one who loves herself.
The business leader.
The goddess, the angel.
In my self-exploration, forgiveness, and acceptance journey, I had to grant permission to be and unleash all the parts of me. The parts I thought were dark or grotesque and the parts that I though were too pretentious and arrogant.
I had to be okay with the nausea that comes with feeling vulnerable and exposed. I had to be okay with any negative feedback, praise, criticism, rejection, opinions, questions and other consequences that come with living out loud the way I chose to.
Exploring and sharing has always been worth it because on the other side of that incredible discomfort is rapture.
On the other side of that risk is reward.
On the other side of that pain is pleasure.
On the other side of that disruption is clarity.
On the other side of those deaths is life.
An unlimited and unleashed life of authenticity will blow your mind.
Living is as easy as breathing when you are living fully expressed and I have crossed enough of those thresholds to know it is worth it (and safe) every single time.
Something else that I have solidified is that I will be my core self at every level of the game.
My fear about rejection slowed (because I don't think it ever 100% shuts off as humans) when I really came to acknowledge the truth of who I am.
No matter what skin, identity, clothes, or title I have on, I will always be:
Rich, nourishing love
Depth, truth, and life force energy
Sweetness, laughter, play and innocence
Joy - hilarious joy
Maternal, mother nature
Empowered masculine and feminine
Diversity and versatility
Deep listening and receiving
An emotional hug
God and goddess
The embodiment of unconditional love
The core of me will always be love and I will always integrate the shadows of my humanness.
The depth that I have gone has taken me to the heights I have gotten to soar.
My inner work and self-acceptance have made me healthier, wealthier, happier, lighter, and sexier. It has made the adventure of life such a rich and nourishing experience, even in the toughest of times. It has helped me become more attuned and impactful in my commitment to unleash the hearts of others.
I am obsessed with this life and journey and I have hardly just begun.
What a beautiful ride.
I will always be living a life I love.