Have I told you about my excited-self?
Forgive me if I have, because she wants to talk again today.
You see, she starting to get just the tiniest bit of breathing room in my life and I’d like to give her some more.
She hasn’t often been the dominant voice I hear in my head. My dominant voices are cautious, afraid, anxious, sometimes depressed. I used to have a very dominant voice that was cynical and resentful, but that part of me seems to have gotten most of the healing she needed so she’s pretty quiet these days.
But listening to the excited part of me? – that still takes some intentionality on my part.
I’m guessing that at least a few of you know what I mean.
I’m guessing at least a few of you know what it’s like when I say that I feel more comfortable fearing the worst and bracing for it than moving forward with excitement like a young girl running through a field of tall grass on a sunny day just for the joy of it - arms wide, dress and hair flying behind her, barefoot, free from the constraints of her timidity, free from the expectations of femininity. Not worrying that there may be stones to trip on, that she may fall, that there might be some unknown, startled creature hiding in the grass as it waves in the wind.
Free to fall.
Free to discover that she is strong enough to rise up and run again.
I’m guessing a few of you know what it’s like to follow the good girl part of you most of the time. The good girl who cannot be bad. The good girl who is terrified of making mistakes. The timid one who can’t bring herself to raise her hand to ask for permission to run out of the classroom and into the field - or just to go to the bathroom, or to answer a question - let alone to just go run and deal with the consequences later.
Our good girls can get us some seriously good grades (she got me all the way through a Ph.D.) She makes sure we care for our families. She helps us to pay our bills and follow the rules and fit in. She protects us from the sting of critique and rejection – at least as much as is possible. She’s not a bad part of us (I’m pretty sure there are no bad parts of us, just mistaken ones,) but you know what? She can’t take us to freedom.
And I think I shared with you before that when I journaled a few months ago about who I am becoming the word “free” showed up four times. I am becoming free, free, free, free.
For some reason, France is part of my path to freedom. At least I think it is. That’s why I’m on a plane as you read this. To increase my capacity to be a more powerful, impactful and joyful leader. A leader who is a woman and leading as a woman—as myself—however that looks.
And let me tell you as I have planned for this trip over the past week or so (because that’s when I decided to go) my scared, anxious, good girl selves have been regularly speaking up. LOUDLY!!!
You’re going to France BY YOURSELF? But you don’t speak French (despite 4 years of classes in high school) and you don’t like traveling alone even in the U.S. Oh my gosh what if this is the wrong decision? What if your clothes are all wrong and the French people are mean?
What if you’ve wasted thousands of dollars that, by the way, you don’t actually have. And what if your business doesn’t make enough money to cover it this year? Debt. Debt is evil. What if you are wrong?
Oh and you shouldn’t be allowed to do this when other people can’t. That’s wrong too. So, if you’re going you shouldn’t enjoy it. Yes, that will help... You should make sure it is very, very serious. And hard. It should be serious and hard so no one can say you are abusing your privilege.
And now you need to get the perfect suitcase and the perfect clothes so no one will have any reason to reject you. So, you won’t look like an outsider. So you will belong.
You get the idea.
So I’m hearing all of these voices, a cacophony in my head, and I’m letting them chatter on while I look around for my excited self and ask her what she’d like to say.
She wants to say that she’s excited to go to France.
And she wants me to know that she’s strong. Stronger than I know.
She wants me to know that she is born of the wind before the storm and of lakes and rivers and sun and citrus and women’s voices and women’s wisdom and children’s courage, of wine, and chocolate, and poetry and pleasure (yes even THAT kind of pleasure.)
She wants me to know that she is born of Spirit and Earth – the human experience — the aliveness that is big enough to hold it all.
And I want you to know that you are allowed to listen to your excited self too.
And I want you to know you are brave enough and strong enough to run and fall down and get back up.
And I want you to know that in this moment, as you read this, what is true is that you are safe, and loved and it is not too late for you to follow your excited self.
And I am so looking forward to supporting you in whatever way it’s meant to be. Just through your reading this post, or through a new course that’s coming later this Spring, or through 1:1 coaching, or by answering questions for you in an email to email@example.com.
It’s been at least a seven-year journey for me from the tiny box I was living in inside to this latest step towards freedom AND impact – towards thriving AND equity.
And I promise, I am NOT that different from you. You are not WAY less brave/capable/smart/rich/etc. than me. But you don’t have to believe me. You can experiment and see what happens. You can gather your own data.
Experiment with me, will you, for this week when I am in France? My scared self would so love the company!
Experiment with giving your excited self a little more freedom to speak. And look for me on Instagram and on my Facebook page where I will be brave yet again by trying out more video posts of my time – the running and the falling and the getting back up.
Oh and that kid of mine who dropped out of school and moved to Chicago just a few weeks ago - he'll be in L.A. when I get back. Because he followed the clues of his aliveness to Chicago - where the thing he thought he was doing there fell through and other things opened up, and he found a great mentor/boss there who recommended him for a job out here, which he starts March 17. It's never too late - and it's also never too early (this is for you my 22ish-aged readers! Start now!)