I know the ending. Any writer will tell you that if you know the ending, it makes it easier to tell the story of the winding and weaving way to that very end. It’s true. I know the ending. I don’t know the details or the visuals. I don’t know how old I will be. I don’t know if I will be in California. But I know the ending. I know that I will be a soul that stretched and grew.
Above all I know that in the end I will have lived an empowered life. I know that ending.
In today’s world there’s a lot of glitz and glam around finding your voice. Yet, I don’t think we share enough about how that shows up in life on the daily. It looks different for everyone. May we remember that too. To me speaking up and using my voice means that I am holding integrity around my spirit, my health, my emotions, my grace and my purpose here. I don’t take it as a free pass to be a jerk. I hear it as a calling for me to not shy away from the uncomfortable.
A huge part of my persona wants to be agreeable. It has for decades been my default mode. I would say yes to things I didn’t want to do and I would let others take the lead. But the biggest betrayal, was every time I wouldn’t say NO. I wouldn’t say no when I didn’t have time to take on another project. I wouldn’t say no when someone was giving me unsolicited advice on how to be a mother. I wouldn’t say no when payment for my skills came in lower than my worth. I wouldn’t say no when someone put me down to put themselves above. I wouldn’t say no, and I would tell myself I was doing the “good” thing. I was being kind. Because if I spoke up and rejected them, they would hurt. My spirit has been screaming at me for decades because the only one I have been hurting and tormenting is me.
Today is my birthday, and I have spent the last 24 hours in a rumble. I share 50% custody of my daughter with her father and anyone who has been down that road knows that there are rules decided on. Agreements made and forged. To me, they are vows. Yesterday, I was informed that a vow from the other side wasn’t going to be kept and I had two choices. I could be quiet, I could let this go down and not fight. Or, I could say no, also knowing that a no would most likely lead to someone being triggered by my stance on the vow and boundaries. The second option felt the most scary and the most turbulent. It isn’t the option I choose often. I sat with it, closed my eyes and I asked myself, “What do you feel is right? And what is the reason you won’t do it?” My answer was clear. The second option felt right. It felt respectful of the vows and honoring to me. The only reason I wouldn’t do it, is because I fear the fallout and the backlash that I would endure by the other being angry for my lack of compliance to his game of manipulation. But faith and fear cannot live in the same space. To be in a time of faith will also mean surrendering to the unfolding even when it is uncomfortable and scary. My answer and my actions were then decided. I said NO.
My belly swirled with heat and a bit of the shakes. I told my body that is because this is still new. We respond in that way when things are new. Just like coffee gave me a huge jolt at 15 years old, while now it is smooth and beautiful as I drink it in each day. Same goes with honoring your voice and the kind truth. These actions will ask for that bravery and then ask even more when we must weather the storm of what is created. My answers of no cannot be held back because another will be stirred. That will never be how living for me really works.
I usually sit down each year on my birthday and write about things I am letting go, or rather the chapters that I am closing. This year feels different. I don’t want to close anything. I don’t want to shut down anything and I don’t want to stop anything. I want to keep going. The only way stories can unfold, is if the pages keep turning. Thirty-six has been a year of discovery and growth that leads then to the mystery of thirty-seven.
I don’t know what pages are ahead, what mountains there are to climb or what rivers to cross. But I do know that it all matters. Every moment, every fear I face, every time I use my voice and every challenge where I choose faith, will lead me gracefully forward because I know and remember how this ends.
I know that this ends with, “Her name was Natalie and she lived an empowered life.”