Someone tried to spank me on Facebook yesterday. I had posted a picture of myself after a haircut, something I do pretty much every time I get a cut as a way to celebrate doing something nice for myself and to continually work on the fear of being SEEN, real pictures of the real me at real (although admittedly well-styled, at least on my head) moments in my real life. I guess there were a lot of posts on my page yesterday, because I gave a sermon at my church and provided the music on Sunday, and folks had posted pictures and recordings of that. At any rate, the spanking…

artist-circus-clown-476Someone commented: “Wow Julia for someone who seems so private you seem to need a lot of attention.” It was followed by the obligatory: “LOL,” as a way to say I’m not really insulting you. Other favorite FB devices that serve this b.s. purpose include: “Just saying…” and the ubiquitous winky emoticon. This digital attempt to use humor to diffuse criticism is something I am VERY well versed in. It’s dishonest. It’s dishonest to pretend it’s a joke and it’s dishonest to believe you are NOT being critical when you do it. Mini-rant over; back to the larger rant.

So wow. Yeah. And I felt it for a minute, because let’s face it, the LOL, the “just saying,” and the winky face don’t really do anything about the words, do they? I felt that accusation. It fed right into old stories of mine about bragging, being too proud, trying to get the spotlight, things that were actively discouraged in my home.

Those stories are things I’ve worked on, but they’re still there, so when I received the FB spank, I had to take a few minutes. My initial response (internally) was not very friendly to the speaker, but it was also tinged with self-doubt. You can tell this is true because I DID go back and look at what I’d been posting that day. Was I asking for attention? Was I showing off? Was I shining too bright a light on the good things that had happened over the last 48 hours? ALL of that is spin, nonsense, garbage, old stuff that’s meant to keep me small.

My retort was sassy, but unnatural. I hid how it made me feel with false confidence: “I don’t actually need it at all. People just keep giving it.” I thought that would be adequate. He persisted. “I almost believe you… Sorta. It’s all good. You’re a babe regardless. LMAO.” Oh, thank goodness he thinks I’m good looking. I continued to respond with my put on self-confidence and he eventually surrendered, which I confess is my goal in these situations, BUT it left a mark AND it reminded me of some things.

It left a mark because it brought up old stuff that I’ve been working on but didn’t particularly want to dance with on a particularly good day. It also left a mark because dammit, can’t a girl just be happy about haircut? Can’t a girl just share the good things that are happening? Can’t a girl just be proud for a minute? Would it have been a problem if a man had posted photos of his recent speaking engagement, his golf score, himself all dressed up for a special night? WHY is this a problem?

It makes people uncomfortable. And to that I respond with a resounding: “Sorry. Not sorry.” I’m sorry if you are not comfortable sharing the wins in your life and if you were raised to believe that you should not crow when something has gone right. I mean that. I really am. That’s the part I’m sorry about.

What I’m not sorry about is that my newly found lack of shame and conscious decision to stop playing small makes you uncomfortable. You can challenge me if you really need to, but I won’t be pushed back into the closet. I won’t.

And I want to ask you to do something, which I acknowledge I have no real right to do, but if you’ve read this far, maybe you’ll be game.

alone-boulders-idyllic-426893If you get uncomfortable when people share their best bits, I want you to take a minute and think of something you are proud of, and even if you don’t feel ready to share it, just sit with it. Feel what it’s like to congratulate yourself, to revel in the good thing you are or did or had or made for yourself. Bathe yourself in praise for just a moment. It’s really okay. Nobody can stop you in your head. Nobody can ask you who you think you are or tell you you’re too big for your britches. You get to just enjoy it. If you’re ready to take it a step further, share it with me. Send me a little note so that I can read it and then say: “That’s awesome. Yay you!”

This is how we rise. Not even a little bit sorry for that friends.


  1. Hi Julia,

    I love to read what you write. I love how you are living the work and sharing your light with every ember of your fiery soul. I have been meaning to say that for a while, but I just want you to know that right now. A few weeks ago you asked who we think you write like and I have to say you write like if Erma Bombeck, Martha Beck, and Anne Lamott had a baby. Keep it up!

    You encouragement to congratulate ourselves today comes a great time.

    I am putting the final touches on a proposal to the Templeton Foundation to write three books – one on hope, one on gratitude, and one on wide-awakeness. (I had sent the proposal in two weeks ago, but they decided to change the proposal format so they asked me to resubmit. How about that for Universe making sure I really want to make my desire known!) I am super scared about putting that desire out there, but I am doing it anyway. It is a super competitive award, but I am doing it any way. I am not that good a writer (I tell myself in the spiral that often swirls in my head), but I am doing it anyway.

    I have already won – whatever the outcome.

    I am congratulating myself for stepping up to the plate. I am congratulating myself for working for years on the ideas that I was able to pull together, and for the fact that those ideas are connected to making the world a more loving place at this time when we are all in so much need of love.

    Again, thank you for asking us to congratulate ourselves and for being who you are.


  2. Dear woman…You post all the posts you want about your awesomeness. It will never match how awesome you actually are. Post a gorgeous selfie every damn day! Or a meh selfie because you are worth celebrating regardless of what face you have on.

    Today at the pool, I felt beautiful, strong, and happy. I told my kids. I anchored the feeling in a special spot on my arm. I basket in that shit.

    You make the world a better place to be. Your heart and mind and voice are worth celebrating.

    And if you ever feel weird about posting your awesomeness, let me know. I’ll post it for you. I will always do what I can to lift you up. To lift us all up. We belong to each other. I’m am you and you are me, we are ours to love.

    Rock on, Love Warrior!

  3. Another aspect is that you have a business. Part of the algorithm for having a successful business is to be seen and heard. Plus, your haircut is beautiful.


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