Looking fear in the face

Fun fact: just like most things in life, getting started is the hardest part. I have been sitting here, staring at my keyboard with thoughts swirling for the last twenty minutes. I want to write- I actually have a vague idea of the point I wish to make. But I cannot get that first sentence down. The ever elusive opening thought, perfectly curated to draw the reader in while leading effortlessly to the overall theme of the post. Clearly, I did not land upon that magical sentence. Instead, I stumbled clumsily into the post. I feel like that’s more my style anyway. Elegant is overrated. Also, so is clear, coherent thought. My brain is bounding to and fro. I have a ton of little snippets attempting to become the strongest thought in the thunder-dome of my consciousness right now. They are all worthy to write about- none of them are related. Woot!

Full disclosure- different from a fun fact- if you are in my life, your mere existence designates you as a possible subject of this little corner of the internet. Sorry, not sorry. That now being made acutely clear, there is a woman that has been in my life for many years. I have always admired her. The way she speaks. The causes she takes up arms with. The mother that she is. The human that she is. Her heart and her eloquence. And yet, I only recently saw her struggle. She is damn fine as obfuscation. A woman after my own heart.

I pick up on tiny details. Word choices. Body language. Not to toot my own horn, but I can be rather perceptive. This is one of those cases. A turn of phrase caught my attention in a post she made. A seemingly innocuous request for addresses. So I did what any rational human being would do- I fixated and tumbled down a rabbit hole. I devoured past posts and personal details she allowed into the semi-public forum. I went to other people’s timelines. I became a bit of a sleuth and I had my not-so-sneaking suspicions as to what was happening.

Armed with nothing but intuition, I reached out to my beautiful friend. I kept it vague and kind. I opened the door to allow her to tell me her truth, if she wanted. I feel honored that she felt I was a safe place to land and unburden her hurts.

I learned- an continue to learn- that her and I have had some very similar experiences. Though heartbreaking, what’s astounding to me is the isolation that said shared experiences created. I could deep dive into our needs as women to maintain our bullshit in our own heads. To shield the world from perceived weakness. Quite frankly, that would be accurate. At least for me- I don’t want to speak for her. But what’s worse- the isolation that we experienced wasn’t born of our own obstacles. It was artificially created by another. Someone that didn’t want us speaking our truth. Even now, as I type this my anxiety ratchets up. I fear that somehow this vague post will make it’s way through a convoluted grapevine and unleash a verbal lashing my way. Alas, I trudge on. I have lived too long in fear. I have worked too damn hard to find myself- my truth- my voice. I no longer want to allow someone else to suffocate that. I don’t want to perpetuate my own isolation- moreover I want to be a beacon of light in someone else’s.

As my friend allowed herself to unload the emotional turmoil she had been carrying, she gave me a compliment. One that has stuck with me. She stated that I set a good example of fortitude- my cognitive dissonance couldn’t reconcile hearing this from a woman that I admire while she was admonishing herself. I immediately self deprecated.

It seems my inner voice is as kind to me as hers is to her.

I have since marinated on her words- and my response. The day she spoke to me, I felt like an impostor. It isn’t rare that I feel like an impostor. I am muddling through this business of being a single mother, a business protege- a human stumbling around learning myself. The thing is- what she was saying was, she saw me as an example of how to continue to put one foot in front of the other. The truth is- that has been beyond difficult on certain days through this insane journey over the last two and a half years. Nevertheless, I have continued to move forward, even if my steps have been closer to shuffles- far from the leaps I expected of myself. Expectations are the birthplace of resentments.

She reminded me that even when I don’t feel strong- I am. Even when I don’t feel strong, that doesn’t mean I can remove my impact on someone else.

The past few years have thrown me some plot twists that I could have never begun to anticipate. Oh boy, some of them have been doosies. My fear has suffocated me. I have allowed it to seize me. Silence me.The woman that I admire- that has allowed me to share some of my strength with her- has restored some of my voice. Reminded me that I am a force of nature. My voice matters- fear be damned. So I will delve into bits and pieces that I have been withholding as time allows. Today- man, today I sit in gratitude. Appreciation for the tender souls God has placed in my path. The people that have propped me up when I needed it. The ones who love me when I am strong, when I am weak, and everything in between. The ones who cherish my voice. I am a blessed woman. My cup runneth over. More than anything- I am in awe of watching this amazing woman’s journey back to herself.

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