“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you.” – Marianne Williamson
Oh how those words have haunted my thoughts today.
Was Williamson talking to me when she said that?
Did the influential activist and speaker from Houston, Texas, picture me in her mind’s eye when she said those poetic words?
But oh Marianne, if only you knew how my heart ached when I read those words – chest rising and falling faster, eyes flashing with panic.
What am I to do now, now that I know the truth?
Most days I wake up, look outside at the weather, and amble over to my closet to begin constructing my outfit for the day. Some days my eyes land upon one of the many beautiful tops or dresses that I own, lingering long enough to appreciate their fine craftsmanship, and then I move on.
I select a “nice” outfit. It cannot be too attention seeking or flattering. It has to have just the right balance – like milk and sugar in coffee. It has to be this way so that I can play small.
My intention in choosing simple attire is to shrink myself.
Today it rained. A lot. And then some more. And just when it stopped raining, it started up again. Started to pour. And I loved it. Rain always makes me want to create – to write, to cook, to sing, to glue buttons onto rings. Rain is peaceful – it comforts me.
Perhaps, rain allows me an excuse to stay indoors, out of the public’s judging eye. Yeah – it’s just one big eye. Kind of like a Cyclops.
Suffice it to say, I got quite soggy in the rain today. My hair looked like something out of a hair salon’s garbage can. Flat, frizzy, and slightly greasy looking from the rain. I was not looking my best. This suited me quite well.
A friend and I went for Indian food. Her hair looked magnificent by the way. We chose to sit in front of the window, so that we could watch the glorious rain fall outside as we ate our delicious curried dishes.
Two men at the back of the restaurant finished their meals and moved outside. Right in front of us. We took little notice. One man came inside, and asked the woman working to help him with something. She went outside. He handed her his phone and asked her to take a picture. He sat directly in front of us – motioning to the woman to get the whole window in the shot. The man had her take about six photos, from different angles, so that the camera would undoubtedly capture us in the shot.
At this point, I’m making an indignant noise that sounds like someone grunting in their sleep. Come on guys, we’re trying to eat. We don’t want two thirty-something year olds to not-so-sneakily take our photo. Also, have you SEEN my hair?
It’s situations like THIS that remind me of my need to shrink. To play small. Because where men have seen me as a thing to be prized, women have rejected me altogether.
So yes Marianne, I shrink so that people are not intimidated by me. I shrink because I care for them, and I want to show them my love. They can’t see it, but this is me loving them.
As I heard your words today Marianne, something inside of me broke. The truth hit me like a delicious piece of curried cauliflower.
“We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.” – Marianne Williamson
I’ve been *gulp* afraid to be beautiful. I’ve been afraid of shining.
Hearing your words today, Marianne, set me free.
I’m not saying that I’m some stunning woman who deserves to have everyone look at her. Oh no. That’s not me at all. I just want to feel comfortable wearing clothing that accentuates who I am. I want to shine my light, be my own unique version of “brilliant, gorgeous, talented,” without trying to apologize for it.
I will probably still pause in front of my closet in the mornings. But now, it will be different. I will be choosing my favorite pieces and wearing them confidently.
Thank you Marianne Williamson, you gorgeous woman, you. Thank you for speaking those words just for me today.
So let’s be liberated from our fears, shall we? Let’s stop covering up those parts of ourselves that we feel the need to apologize for. Let’s shine together.