On Monday, Fran Wilde posted this piece about being “Mouse”. She spoke about learning to be silent, to be quiet, and gaining competency at sailing a boat. And then she said:
But there is another place where I want that feeling of competence. That sense of being capable:
Speaking up for myself.
I have never felt competent at that.
These words were like a giant gong going off in my head. I’ve been coming to this understanding/realization about myself in the last couple of weeks. I think I’ve realized this before, but in the past, I just felt overwhelmed by it and then let despair set in.
I’ve been working on engaging my fear the last couple of months. I’ve been taking baby steps, and saying out loud the things I think people will make negative judgments about. So far, all signs point to me continuing to do this. Mostly because it strengthens my confidence in myself, which is what Fran talks about in her post.
Speaking up for myself feels like the next stage/phase. I was in yoga on Monday and I realized something I’d never quite put together before. In my adult life, for every employer I’ve had, without fail I’ve jealously guarded my time. I was unwilling to compromise on time. I realize this rigidity is connected to my unwillingness to speak up for myself.
When I was at work, I would let people treat me like crap. When I wasn’t at work, I could choose (i.e. “control”) who I spent time with. If someone was being disrespectful, I could just walk away. Or suffer in silence until the event ended, and then vow to never spend time with that person again.
Fran talks about developing confidence in a physical skill and being able to translate that into another realm. Rose Lemberg responded with a series of tweets about belonging, competence, and privilege. She talked about where one finds strength when there isn’t a physical place to return to (a strong theme for Fran). It was the last several tweets that really nailed it for me (13-18) – like the hammer on the gong.
My center, my core, is here. Right here. (18)
— Rose Lemberg (@RoseLemberg) June 10, 2014
There is something inviolate at my core, a place I’ve guarded and it is that place from which I can trust myself. It is the place I return, time and again.
As I’m learning to turn down the dial on the fear knob and turn up the dial on the curiosity knob, I’m seeing possibility and considering new ways of being. Including standing up for myself.
For today, I’m taking R.E.M.’s song, “Stand”, as my theme song.