A few weeks ago I lay on the healing table and rested into my breath. As the familiar anxiety escaped from my limbs and I returned to a place of being safely held, a gentle voice asked, "What do you want?"
"Joy", I replied.
And then I heard, "It's yours."
One night later, a necklace that I've been wearing for almost two years fell off in the shower. I had it custom made - a single gold bar stamped with the words "Be Brave".
I honestly felt damn proud. Like, yeah, I passed that test. Leveled up. I don't need that reminder hanging around my neck anymore. I'm open. I'm authentic. I'm vulnerable.
I was so focused on the necklace falling off, I paid no attention to the bracelet that remains. I had it made last year, days before my dad passed away. It is stamped in braille and spells out FEEL. I had it made to ground me in the days of the long goodbye, to center and remind me in the midst of the terror of grief, that there was also incredible love and that I should allow myself to feel both.
I never knew, until yesterday, that I am equally terrified to feel the depth of joy.
The days leading up to yesterday were so saturated with shaking and sifting and peeling back layers and peeling back reasons and peeling back masks.
My truth was ready to be seen and heard. And yesterday the sky was blue and expansive and the dirty chai latte from Conscious Culture Cafe was perfect and laced with magic, and honestly I was so damn tired of fighting and flighting. I was ready.
I texted Sister.
She replied, "Yes. Come."
As I drove out to meet Sister in Paradise I played the album I always play when I have no more words and I am ready hear the sound and the song of my soul.
This was the message woven within the ancient Sami tongue.
STOP WAITING FOR AN INVITATION
TO SHOW UP TO YOUR OWN LIFE.
In the moments and hours that followed, this is the truth that emerged as tears washed scales off my tender, hiding heart.
I've always wanted to be a mom. I wanted to be a stay at home mom. I wanted to be the mom that reads books and does crafts and lays next to my kids making up stories.
And I've denied myself this - for YEARS. Not the doing - because I've done a lot of mom stuff for 19 years. I've denied myself FEELING the JOY of having what I always wanted.
Shame for having a baby before I was married. You know, the old messages of sin and hell. It didn't feel right to allow myself to be ecstatically joyful about my "sinful" choices.
Or maybe it's because I didn't feel joy vibrating from my parents when I told them that I was pregnant - again. And again. And again. And again.
Or maybe it was feeling guilt that I had so many babies - and my amazing Sister had none.
So I've lived as if it was not a big deal. I did what I needed to do for my babies to survive, but if you ever asked me, I'd say, "You know - I love my kids - but I'm not THAT kind of mom. I like when they are in school."
Big. Fat. Lie.
I buried my "this is all I've every wanted since I was a little girl" dream and I've played it down and I've stepped aside and I've let everyone else do and say and be what I'VE WANTED TO DO AND SAY AND BE.
I've said, "No, that's not me. I'm not the fun parent. I'm the responsible parent."
I've said, "I can't do parties for my kids. That's too stressful."
I've said, "I could never be a stay at home mom."
I didn't say those things because they were true.
I said those things because I DIDN'T BELIEVE I DESERVED TO HAVE what I really wanted. I mean - how can you deeply enjoy, revel in, and celebrate what you don't believe you deserve?
And here's the incredible part.
It was already mine.
Just like joy - when I asked for it - the reply, "It's yours" was not a "Here, you can have it, it's yours" - it was a "What are you talking about? It's ALREADY yours."
It's already yours.
Let your tears come, love.
Let them wash away the scales of your tender, hiding heart.
Let the words echo in your inner chambers - It's. Already. Yours.
You have a dream. Oh, and it's a big one. And it's a good one.
No one is going to invite you to "come and get it" - because IT'S ALREADY YOURS.
It's right there - not in front of you, not sitting in your lap, it's there - right there - inside you.
In one of my all-time-favorite poems, The Invitation, the author writes,
"I want to know if you can be with joy, mine or your own,
If you can dance with wildness and let the ecstasy fill you to the tips of your fingers and toes without cautioning us to be careful, to be realistic, to remember the limitations of being human."
No more shame and believing that you can't celebrate with ecstasy what you love because somewhere the message got twisted about love being "sin".
No more looking for validation and permission in the eyes others to joyfully live your life.
No more ignoring your joy, playing small, and acting like it's not a big deal because you feel undeserving. Or under deserving. Or like someone else deserves it more than you.