Signs

You know how they say that when the universe is trying to tell you something it just suddenly shows up everywhere?

That is something I have always believed but instead of the universe, I often credit it to God. I became extremely attuned to messages sent through books, loved ones, and any other way. Some may call them signs but instead of thinking of them as something mythical and magical, I see them more as sign posts, you know the ones that help you from getting lost.

What I am about to tell you next is a story about piecing those current signs that I have been seeing to create a bigger picture.

This is the sign you've been looking for neon signage
Photo by Austin Chan

The First Sign

I consumed the book In Praise of Difficult Women by Karen Karbo over the weekend and my heart was just overwhelmed. For most of my life I have been told how to sit, how to act, the proper way to react, to keep my emotions in check, and to apologize for defending people and causes that matter to me. But then I realized, even as a child, I have always refused to do so because in my heart, I have always believed in fighting for what is right, even if it meant I did so in a way that offended another. There are better ways to express ourselves but that’s for later. Let’s keep going.

I consider the book the first sign because most of my 20s were spent apologizing for who I was – my feistiness, my inability to say anything other than the truth, and trying to downplay my own voice because I was afraid to offend another. I was always cautiously treading between being a dormant volcano into an erupting one.

Nevertheless, the book slowly opened my eyes to the reality that hey, maybe being difficult is not such a bad thing.

white and black One Way-printed road signages
Photo by Brendan Church

Sign Two: 

I have always adored Brené Brown, I have adored her so much that I swallow up her books so fast without taking the time to truly chew on the messages of what she was talking about. Thankfully, I came across her episode on Dan Harris’ 10% Happier and it made me want to dig deeper into her message, including her recent Netflix special.

Her thoughts on shame made me think and resonate not just about shame but also vulnerability. There is more to learn about this topic but I leave this bullet with this quote:

“Only when we are brave enough to explore the darkness will we discover the infinite power of our light.”

With All Your heart neon signage
Photo by Brittney Burnett

Sign Three:

Today, I was speaking with a dear uncle and in the course of a very serious conversation about something entirely off topic but somehow something horrendous I did nearly 12 years ago was returned back to me. My initial instinct was to be defensive – to rehash why I did what I did to justify it somehow.

But instead of doing so, I heard myself say, “I was 19 and I made those mistakes and I made amends” and that was that. And as I ruminated on the conversation that thankfully ended well, the signs somehow connected.

For one thing, I did not deny what I did nor found the need to justify it. And while I initially found the need to hide and feel guilt over what I did, I embraced it thoroughly.

As a firecracker of a young adult, I know my words have hurt other people and my 30 year old self is deeply sorry for that. However, I do not apologize for the causes I fought for nor do I think of myself as less than just because I had it in me to speak up.

Now that I have accepted (maybe through the course of the many years in between then and now) the mistakes that I have done and the words I have said, it’s like a weight has been lifted and I find myself grieving for how much time I spent in the dark.

If only I knew earlier that there was no need to hide or no need to be inauthentic, if I only I learned the value of vulnerability early on then I could have embraced the difficult and stubborn woman in me with more grace and more kindness.

Conclusion: 

Honestly, everything that I am writing to you right now is so fresh that I haven’t fully immersed myself in it yet completely to articulate it but in terms of connecting the signs, this is what I have concluded so far: I needed to understand that it’s okay to be a difficult woman but part of being one is to own up and to be authentic and to not drown in my shame because I need to shed light on my own mistakes and weaknesses so I can continue to be a positive version of who I am.

It’s mind blowing and I cannot tell you more. Bless this journey.

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