Just got back from a whirlwind training and retreat in Savannah, GA. While we were there, my new friends and I were marveling over how well we got along, how easy it seemed to open up and share, to spend time together, to accommodate each other, to spend time in common space. These are things that have not always been easy for me, and yet I came away from my 6 day trip with soul sisters. I shared things with this group of women I hadn’t told anybody before. And then I came home, and found them all online where we gather every day to greet, share, and encourage. And I stand in wonder, so tempted to think it was the way we came together. It was the power of the gathering that made the difference… but my wise self knows better.
I have struggled for so long with connection. I have been places that are fabulous, with people I believe in, and yet, I felt my connection to those folks was tenuous, strained, elusive, fragile. In my historical social experiment, I see now that the only variable that’s really and truly different now, is me. Whew. I feel that as I say it. The power of confession and celebration all in one sentence. The reason I struggled before was because I was closed off; I was afraid they wouldn’t like me, that I would screw up, that if they did like me, I’d disappoint them. So many old and nasty stories about myself getting in the way of my heart. The reason I make deeper connections faster now has nothing to do with the situation or even other people. It has everything to do with me.
Now I know that they may not like me. They can like or dislike the real me, that’s fine. It’s my opinion that really counts and the more ME I am, the more these people who love that just seem to appear. I also know I will screw up; yup, I will make mistakes in front of and sometimes TO these people. They may find my mistakes impossible to forgive. Yup. That’s how it goes when you actually do things instead of waiting for the right time, with the right people, in the right place, when all of the super elusive criteria have been met. I will make mistakes and they will be okay with it or they won’t. I may disappoint them, but I won’t disappoint myself nearly as often.
My friends, it’s opening day. Well heck, it’s a little past opening day, but I’m finally feeling it. I’m feeling like I know who I am and I really like that woman. I’m feeling like I don’t care so much if other folks don’t. Don’t want to hurt anybody, but nobody’s everybody’s cup of tea, right?
Interesting thing I’m finding is that as I settle in, as I let “her” out of the bubble wrap I’ve kept her in all these years, all that social stuff is sorting itself out. People who don’t dig me fall away, and aren’t mean about it. It’s all good. And all those other sparkly people out there? They just want to throw confetti for my coming out as myself party. Hot damn.
So soul sisters, I thank you. I thank you for your gentle encouragement as I ripped off the band-aids. I thank you for the examples you showed me of strength, vulnerability, leadership, awareness, connection, wholeheartedness, and love. I still have so much to learn, but this one, I think I’ve finally got it. And I am so glad.