What All Girls "Should" Be


"I think the world wants girls to be pretty and small and quiet."


-Glennon Doyle Melton


I heard these words from Glennon Doyle Melton recently, a woman that up until that point, I wasn't aware existed.  Bells went off in my head.  I sat straight up.  My ears perked.  My heart quickened.  These words resonated with something deep inside of me, and almost simultaneously and without fully knowing why, I felt as if I might cry.  It was a mixed cry of pain surfacing, relief, and the resonance of being recognized.  As if she'd said those words and then looked deeply into my Soul.


Something clicked in me, and suddenly a big chunk of my past and old patterns made so much more sense.  At first, it was just pure resonance that defied logical thinking or explanations.


"This!  Listen," a deep part of me commanded.


"(...) How can you be a successful girl, if the purpose of being human and growing is to grow and to find your voice?"

-Glennon Doyle Melton


Glennon speaks of her realizing at a very young age that if she could just stay pretty and small and quiet, then everything would be okay.  But as we all know, this is an impossibility.  Eventually, even the most blessed genetically are hit with the awkwardness that puberty brings.  We eventually grow out of the sweet innocence of childhood.  We're given the mixed messages to be quiet unless spoken to, to do as we're told without question, that the adults know best.  Yet, our Soul's flourishing depends on self-expression on the deepest of levels.  Success in the material world seems to teeter on a precarious and paradoxical axis of shutting up and being loud.


When I was in grade seven, the beginnings of an eating disorder began to unfurl.  Perhaps on some level, I was subconsciously aware of the unspoken rule that girls be pretty, small, and quiet.  I equate the disorder and skewed body image to grade seven, but the journey there started much earlier.  The stories began at an even younger age, twisting their way through my psyche, through my cellular memory, imprinting themselves until they became unconscious patterns repeating themselves.


The objective truth is that I was an early bloomer.  My mum passed away the summer before I started grade three, when I was eight years old.  By grade five, I had my period.  


I can remember with the most vivid physicality, the feeling of shock I felt when my live-in nanny had to explain what a menstrual cycle was, and what sanitary pads were for.  She'd grown increasingly concerned with each joke and laugh I'd have at the commercials on the television for those products.  "What are those for?!" I'd snort, "Grown women peeing their pants?!"


See, you'd might not think it now, being that I also work in the birthing world, but for the entirety of my childhood, I had the deepest engrained fear of blood.  Just the mention of the word would bring me to my knees and my vision would spin as I'd come close to passing out.  (I'll let you imagine how my younger brothers took full advantage of that weakness).


And so, with my completely dramatic, but very honest phobia, my caregiver at the time understandably worried what I might do should I discover what "those" things were for on my own.  


By grade four and five, I was also developing curves ahead of my classmates and most other kids my age.  Oh, the awkwardness and shame my body brought me.  I didn't know what to do with it.  The stares.  The comments.  It was expected that I was a teenager, and yet I was still processing a world without my mum.  


A little girl lost in a woman's body.  


One day, I'm shut away in the bathroom.  I can't be older than nine, because we're still living in the small rental we lived in when mum passed.  I'm panicked and sweaty.  My chest!  There's lumps.  This is cancer, right?  Cancer runs in the family.  Oh god.  I have cancer.  


I come out of the bathroom, approaching my widowed dad in the kitchen and as bravely as I can, I tell him I've found these lumps in my chest, and I don't know what to do, and am I going to die too?  Even though he's doing his best, and even though I'm just thankful to hear it's "fine", I'll be "okay", that's "normal," the awkwardness doesn't escape me.  And so, I equate these developing curves with an awkwardness and a shame that settles over everyone who must pay them mind.  My lips are sealed.  Quiet becomes the name of the game.


I remember fitting into one of my mom's old bikinis.  I'm sure my dad didn't think much of it-- let's just say that he's masterful at bargains.  I imagine this would have saved him from both bathing suit shopping with his tween, as well as spending money on a new suit.  A double score, bless his heart.


There was the combination of being reminded how much like my mom I was (am), the pressure of living up to the pedestal I'd put her on and assumed everyone else had her on too, as well as the brutal discomfort of filling out a woman's swimsuit before I was even in high school.  


I went swimming with a friend.  There's us, and then there's the older friends of the friend's older brother.  Standing at the edge of the pool, I can feel eyes scanning me up and down.  And then comments made as if I'm an object, as if I can't hear.


"Are you sure she's ten?"

"But those boobs."



One winter during these impressionable years, I gain the nickname "Jello" from a bunch of (what I now understand to be jealous and flirtatious) girl and boy bullies.  Struggling to own my body, struggling to feel okay about wearing a real underwire bra, struggling to feel okay about growing up, this word cuts so deep that I am never okay with eating jello again.  (Well, I wouldn't be now anyhow, given my dietary choices.  Ha!!  But, I can sincerely say that the texture of anything gelatin-like gives me immediate nausea and causes my toes to curl.  Truth.)


A boy a few years older than I am comes by to watch my brothers and I while my dad is away for a bit one evening.  We play Legos in the basement.  I fight with my one brother over one of the green base plates.  We never seem to have enough of those!  Giving up, I lay on the couch to watch some TV.  Our babysitter joins me, laying down and squeezing in behind me.  My body stiffens as he puts his hand between my legs, resting it on my thigh.  Pretty.  Small.  Quiet After what feels like an eternity of laying perfectly still and holding my breath, the doorbell rings.  I jump up, running up the stairs two at a time, still breathless.  My uncle has arrived, unannounced.  A massive wave of relief and shame washes over me, and I find myself wondering if he can see it on my face.


Grade six.  


It's nearing the end of the school year, and I work up the courage to ask an older boy to sign my yearbook.  This was a thing, carrying our yearbooks around at recess, seeing how many messages and names we could accumulate.  "Hey there, big girl," said boy writes, throwing in a winking smiley face for good measure.  I pray that I'm not turning eight shades of red as he hands me the book back and I see his message.  Another older boy signs his name next to his photo, and draws what looks like two camel humps.  An upside-down WW with soft peaks.  "What does that even mean?" I wonder silently.  He elbows his buddy as he hands me my yearbook back, and the two of them crack up, smiling at my chest before I turn and fight the urge to run away.


Grade seven.


The boys wanting to "date" me, do so out of a fascination with my body.  I try to make myself okay with this.  


There are plans to go to the movies with a large group of kids.  Titanic is playing-- the best movie to see with your boyfriend or girlfriend because it's so romantic!  So we all make plans.  Of course we're not old enough to go out as couples yet, so a group meet-up is the perfect mix of awkward excitement.  My 'boyfriend" at the time writes me a letter, asking me if I'd mind wearing a tight shirt.  


It was during this year that I began to connect my blonde-haired, blue-eyed, and large boobs to what society deemed "ideal" good looks.  I think it also makes sense that on a subconscious level, I was increasingly petrified of the loss of control I had over growing up, the inability to slow it down and cling to the small shreds of innocence left.  I knew what the world around me expected me to be.


Pretty.  Small.  Quiet.


I was precariously on the edge of acne, the thing that would shatter any bit of prettiness I may have felt.

I wasn't a big girl, but my chest certainly made me feel it.  My height added to my self-consciousness.  I felt myself wanting to shrink, to be more delicate and small.    

I can say I was quiet, because I most certainly never sorted through this mixed bag of stories I told myself.  I quietly wore the tight shirts when requested.  I wanted to be liked more than I wanted to feel comfortable.  Getting to a state of comfortable seemed like a catch-22: I needed to speak, and doing so felt terrifying.  Perhaps I believed that being liked would eventually lead to being comfortable.


I began to take power over the one thing that made sense to me, the one thing that I could control:  the amount of food I put (or didn't put) in my mouth.  Somewhere along the line, I'd grown fearful of anything on me getting as big as my chest had.  And so, I quietly obsessed.  I had the fortune of packing my own school lunches at the time, so I got away with packing as little as I wanted.  By this time, my dad was up and out of the house before we got on the school bus.  He worked a full time job, kept house, wrangled three kids, and coached my brother's hockey team, all on his own.  Family dinner times aren't something that I remember much of.  At this stage in my life, I'd been a keen performer for years.  Convincing myself that my thoughts were normal, and disguising the dysfunction within me became as automatic as breathing.  I was aware of my dad's workload, and I much preferred to tip toe quietly rather than rock any boats.


Pretty.  Small.  Quiet.


Eventually, I begin to slip up.  Or maybe it was a subconscious cry for help.  I'd been very lucky in grade school, growing up with the same class (more or less) all the way from kindergarten.  And so, some of my closest friends began to take note of my lunches.  


I'm asked why I never seem to bring the same stuff I used to.  You know, the "good" stuff-- the Joe Louises, the cookies... why does my lunch always consist of carrots and celery?  Why am I not eating?  Where are the pudding cups, for crying out loud?


I ask them if they know how much fat are in those things?!  


Momentarily, I'm unquiet.


Momentarily, I am using my voice not to talk about child labour in Pakistan, or Nike's complete disregard for women in their shoe factories, or how Michael Jordan refuses to educate himself on the company paying him to endorse their goods.  All topics I passionately covered in school speeches, and while championing a then-fledgling group I'd joined to raise awareness on child labour. I'd always been a smart kid-- good grades, well-behaved.  An excellent mask for the uncertainty and anxiety building up underneath.  


Pretty.  Small.  Quiet.


In those moments, I open my mouth, and my fear of losing control slips out. 


Unbeknownst to me, my friends tell the teacher, and suddenly I find myself in the hallway, speaking to her as she unrolls corrugated coloured paper onto the latest bulletin board.  Without missing a staple, she says to me, "I expected more from you."  She asks if she needs to speak to my father.  I am so embarrassed, so self-conscious, and for once in a very long time, I actually feel quite small.  I assure her she doesn't need to tell my dad.  I'll be good.


I start bringing pudding cups to school again.  I'm careful not to slip up and let the fear out from here on out.  


Grade eight comes, and with it, a flurry of the worst acne.  I am aware on some level that my skin is in pretty rough shape, but more than anything, it is the reaction of the adults in my life that trigger my self-consciousness.  I can't just pretend that it will pass, that it's a stage, that it's okay, because everyone is pushing various cleansers for me to try and recommending various products.  (All out of love, I now see.  All out of the best of intentions).  Eventually, I am whisked off to the doctor and prescribed a rather serious drug called Accutane.  It feels like a desperate act to make me pretty again.  I do my school speeches that year, and I am presented with my first ever container of concealer right before I get ready to take the stage for the divisional level of the competition.




My dad has remarried, my newly blended family has moved into a new house together, and I begin a new chapter at a school devoid of any childhood friends.  My skin is once again clear, but my self-esteem more frail than ever.  I'm so terrified to make a bad impression, so desperate to fit in.  


Blonde-haired, blue-eyed, large boobs, fresh meat.  I'm told by my new friends that the guys think I'm "mint."  Rather than this being a reassuring thing, I feel panicked.  I've got their attention and now I have to figure out how to keep it, look cool, and not fall off the radar, or worse, fall into social disgrace.  


One of my older stepbrothers attends high school with me.  To me, he is a god.  I've entered his territory.  Making him look bad, or having him think I am uncool, would be worse than death.  I'm introduced to his friends' younger siblings and this easy pass into the popular circles must not be taken for granted.


Right off the bat, partying and drinking are par for the course.  That's just what's done.  Quiet becomes do what they do, learn the new town lingo.  So, I do what they do, I learn the lingo.  I have no idea what my limit is.  No idea how to hold my liquor.  All I know is that popularity feels pretty okay.  I'll take this new skin, this new role, and do what it feels like I am supposed to do.


I can completely re-invent myself.  


My first school dance, I agree to drink tequila at the before party.  The next thing I remember, I am waking up the next day feeling like I've been hit by a tanker truck.  My stepmother and dad are beyond furious with me.  It turns out that rather than waiting for them to pick me up after the dance, as was the plan, I'd taken off with someone else.  They'd driven around town looking for me, worried out of their minds, only to come home to find me passed out and beyond incoherent.  In the days to come, they receive a phone call from the school vice principal saying that I'd been seen making out quite heavily at the dance with a boy.  He thought they should know.  Did the vice principal see who the boy was, by chance?  No, he hadn't bothered to check.


I know who the boy is.  I'm told by friends.  They're practically high-fiving me.  I'm also told that I made out with another boy prior to that, on the way to the dance.  Wild Child!


I am mortified.  It's not even one full month into school, and already I've made out with two boys in one night and I don't even remember it.  Annnd, I'm already grounded.


And yet, this train keeps rolling.  I'm too scared to get off because at least on this ride I feel liked, I feel seen, I feel acknowledged.  Maybe this is the new me.  Maybe I'm not the smart kid with the good grades who is well behaved.


The rest of grade nine continues in a similar fashion.  I drink a lot.  I get high a lot.  I agonize over what I eat.  I agonize over every word that comes out of my mouth.  I drink some more to escape the agonizing over what I eat and say and how I look.  


I am continually in trouble at home, at odds with both my dad and my stepmom.  It's like a game of chance: I drink and get high, go to parties, and formulate stories and lies to get around being grounded.  Most of the time, I lose and I'm grounded more often than not.  It becomes a running joke at school.  "Are you allowed out of the cage this weekend?" I'm asked.  When I'm let out of the cage, I rage harder than before, I push the limits even further.  Tension between my parents and I is at an all-time high.  We fail to understand each other on any level.  My dad doesn't get what has happened to me, who this kid is, and what he is supposed to do with her.   


I begin to date a grade eleven guy.  He's cute.  He's popular.  I am completely and utterly preoccupied with impressing him and maintaining my social status.


February of that year rolls around, and my parents go on a snowmobiling trip.  My older, OAC (that's like grade thirteen, if you're not familiar) stepbrother has some friends over for a party, not something that would have been unusual at all.  Of course I am not going to just sit in my room!  Social suicide that that would be!  I've been welcomed into this group in the past, and so I make my way into the fray to drink my face off yet again.  Drinking means losing inhibitions and losing inhibitions feels heavenly.  It's a break from over-analyzing the strategies of fitting in, a hiding place in public.  Hell, it's a part of fitting in.  It's a necessity.  A lifeline for me now.


Of course, I get way too drunk.  My boyfriend isn't there, and I make out with another, even older boy.


That is the night I lose my virginity.  I'm still fourteen.  


I do it because it's the path of least resistance.  It's a part of the story that feels already written.  He's popular, I have his attention, I feel attractive, I feel wanted, and this is just what I am supposed to do, right?


Even in my drunken state, I cry a little bit because a deeper part of me is yelling that this is not how it's supposed to go down.  But I shove that voice down and drown it out.  "Shut up!  Just do what you're supposed to do."


Pretty.  Small.  Quiet.


The next day, I lay in bed all day feeling the heaviest sensation in my stomach.  When I get up to pee, I feel as if everything between my legs will drop right out.  I feel the deepest sense of shame, the most intense depressing thoughts I had ever felt up until that time.  I hate myself.  


Everyone finds out.  Everyone.  Even my dad.  It turns out I'd been acting even stranger (I know, right?!), and he went digging for answers.  He came across a bunch of letters written between my then-boyfriend and I, hiding in a shoebox in my closet.  Remember those?  The old version of text messages.


Losing the last possible shreds of respect from my dad, enduring the guilt and pressure to have sex from my boyfriend after confessing to him what had happened, and facing public life at school sends me into the largest shame spiral.  Drinking and partying is probably the only relief I can possibly reach for.  When I am not able to party my shame away due to being under house arrest, I hole up in my bedroom and cry.


Somehow, I stumble my way through the next year.  I'm of the belief now that any time a guy is interested, it's because he assumes what he can get from me.  When I (shockingly) stand my ground against having sex, I'm met with protests of "Come on, I know you're not a virgin."  Time and again, my story of physicality tied with worthiness is reinforced.


When a new school in another town opens the year I enter grade eleven, I take this as an invitation to escape the twisted relationships and choices I've made.  


I find solace in drama class, losing myself in other worlds and characters, not unlike the ways I did as a kid.  I momentarily escape how I am feeling, simultaneously gaining praise from audience members.  In order to take advantage of an amazing co-op between a professional theatre and my old high school, I begin to take classes in both schools.  I straddle two worlds: the one I thought I'd left behind, as well as the new one I still don't feel I completely fit into.  It is completely worth it to find a home I feel safe in at that theatre.  


In grade twelve, I begin auditioning at University-level theatre schools, as I prepare to graduate from high school.  I've decided I want to be a professional actor.  The stage is the only place where I feel remotely good about myself, and acting is the only thing I can manage to do these days without getting into trouble.


I don't consciously acknowledge it at the time, but I also make this choice partially because my boyfriend (one I had begun dating in grade eleven when I took up the theatre co-op), was auditioning for theatre school as well.  I don't know who I am without being in a relationship, I'm so co-dependant, so following him seems like the obvious choice.  What are the chances we would both be accepted into the same program that received over 600 applicants, auditioned slightly less, and only accepted 25?  Who knows.  But we're both notified that we're in.  


I move away to school in the city.  I have no idea how to cook for myself.  I'm still outrageously terrified of eating too much.  I don't know how to make a move without my boyfriend, and the social anxiety I've experienced since high school sky-rockets.


I live off of coffee.  I am up all night with racing thoughts.  Panic attacks become the norm, and it's not unusual to find me huddled on my bed, convinced that I am dying.  Getting to class becomes a serious chore due to both exhaustion and anxiety.  I've cleverly chosen all of the same electives as my boyfriend, so thankfully I'm able to cling to him like a raft.


My acting classes keep me going, though I fail to form any deep bonds with my classmates.  We're together all of the time, but I've become magnetized to my boyfriend's side.  I can't make any decisions without his input.  I panic over what monologues to perform, and he chooses them for me.  I don't understand what I am reading because I can't slow my breathing enough to make sense of it, so he explains it to me.  I am sinking fast and it's only the first year of what is supposed to be four.


My drinking habits start up again.  This time, though, there's no curfew and no adults to have to answer to.  So I can drink myself to sweet oblivion even if it means black out after black out.  I'm not even of age when I first move away to school, but I find ways around this small detail.  The booze makes it possible for me to socialize without having to think.  It makes me cool.  It gets me out there.


By this point, I have caved and reached out for some help.  My family doctor back home agrees something is wrong and puts me on anti-depressants and anti-anxiety medications.  The anxiety and depression are certainly still there, if not now coupled with a near-zombie like dulling of any remaining interest in life.


At the end of the school year, my boyfriend decides he isn't continuing on in the acting program.  He decides to stay on at school, but to major in something else.  We begin to drift.  He's likely becoming exhausted having to hold me up all of the time.  I'm certainly not fun any more.  The panic attacks are becoming a near-daily occurrence, the depression deepening, and he's still really the only one I lean on. 


Second year comes and goes in pretty much the same fashion.  Except now, I am living off-campus and a bus ride away from school.  It takes even more of an effort to get up and go to class because now I can't just get out the door and walk there.  Because I am required to attend my theatre and acting-based classes or I will be outright removed from my program, I drag myself through the motions.  Acting now amps my anxiety more than it soothes my pain, because of my fear of not being good enough.  Of just wanting approval.  Of being loved.  Of getting it right.  


I spend my nights jacking myself up on coffee so that I can exercise for hours in the exercise room in my apartment building.  I subsist on store-bought cheesecake and bowls of cereal, because I'm too perpetually exhausted to learn how to cook a proper meal.  This is the year I begin to binge and purge.  When I am not flat-out starving myself or running on coffee, I am stuffing down all things sugar and then throwing them up.  I am told that I am "so thin and pretty" that I "could model."  Genetically, I am predisposed to being thin like mom was, so when my dad does happen to visit me I don't think he picks up on my habits.


This is also the year I begin to fantasize of a way out of this life.  I spend hours researching the perfect suicide attempt.  Wanting something quick, something as painless as possible, and something that would be as minimally traumatizing to whoever found me.  I take notes in a secret journal, telling no one.  Having a plan gives me a small amount of relief, a safety net.


I do not exactly take my depression and anxiety lying down, though.  At some points, I am frantic for help, frantic for it to end.  I recognize that I can't go on this way forever.  Touching base with a friend who identifies with being depressed as well, I get a phone number for his therapist. Psychologist?  Doctor of some sort?  Her title escapes me.  I do recall she worked at a hospital outpatient clinic for mood disorders.  The catch was that to see her, you require a doctor's referral.  Only my doctor is two hours away, and it takes months for an appointment with him.  Also, my family doesn't exactly know how badly off track I am.  I am a performer, after all.  I convince myself that reaching out that way is an impossibility, no matter how desperate I am.  I've been so quiet all of this time, how do I speak now?  I don't know how to make small talk with them, let alone how to begin to explain where I am at.  I was embarrassing and shameful enough in high school, I'm on my own now, I can figure this out.  


With no way to gain a referral to the mood disorder clinic, I call them myself.  I beg and plead.  Momentarily, again, unquiet.  I use my friend's name.  I reach near hysteria telling them I don't trust myself any more, will they please just help me?  It works, and I am taken into care. 


My acting teachers are somewhat onto what is happening with me.  At the end of second year, it's suggested by the founder and head of the program that I take a year off.  He's concerned that I am "a delicate flower about to be trampled."


At last, I am seen as delicate!  


Pretty.  Small.  Quiet.  


I refuse to take the suggested time off.  I might be floundering, I might be beyond terrified of acting at this point, but I also have no idea who I would be without the stage, without performing.  I'm afraid for my life if I stop.


That summer, I am forced to move back home for work.  I begin bar tending and waitressing at a local bar, my relationship with my boyfriend very near its breaking point. 


This is the summer I meet the man who I will eventually call my "partner" because "boyfriend" doesn't do him justice. 


I am, (obviously), a tangled, shadowy, insecure mess.  I'm twenty years old and being home for the summer feels like living on egg shells.  Working at a bar is probably the last place I should be.  But there I am, and there he is: twenty-five, the most hilarious sense of humour, the craziest, curliest mop of hair I've ever laid eyes on, and the sweetest hazel eyes.  He's outwardly so funny, but I sense the sweet and thoughtful sensitivity underneath.  


This impossibly sweet and patient guy sits with me every night I am required to close the bar and am scared of being left alone with my boss.  

He sits with me when I hesitantly agree to hang out, but haven't yet admitted that I have a boyfriend.  

He sits with me when I confess that I really like him, but that I have a boyfriend, and that I'm probably not someone he wants to involve himself with.

He sits with me after I end things with my boyfriend of four years, and lets me cry over how awful I feel, and how confused I am.


When I go back to school in the fall, he makes the drive to the city to sit with me, just so that he can turn around and make the drive back to go to work in the morning.  He begins to drive up on weekends, and then half-way through the week, even though much of my weekends and evenings are taken up by rehearsals and shows.


He sits with me when I try to end things with him, telling him I don't know if I am over my ex, and that I am scared of becoming that dependant on someone again.  I know what a mess I am, and I know he's a good guy who could do better than the train wreck that I am.  I don't know why he sits with me, but he does.  He patiently lets me end things with him, but invites me to stay with him over Christmas break anyhow, because he knows how hard it is for me staying with my parents.


He sits with me.  And sits with me.  And sits with me.  Through my confessions of insecurity, my confessions of body image disorders and food disorders, through my confessions of unfaithfulness.  Through what are at least a hundred more of my messes, he sits with me.  


Fast forward three years of him sitting with me, and I've (miraculously) graduated university and find myself unexpectedly pregnant.  I've certainly begun to turn my life around, but I suppose I've a ways to go with how I see and carry myself.  I'm twenty-three and he's twenty-eight.  At first, I am panicked.  In my mind, I still see myself as the mess of a person that I was, and I cannot even begin to imagine raising and supporting a child.  


He sits with me.  He is calm and cool and completely serene about it.  I ask him (with what I imagine is the tightest, highest voice) what he thinks, and I suddenly see the entire situation through his eyes.  


I see me through his eyes.  The true me.  The whole me.  The worthy-of-love me.  The Earth-Mother-Goddess me.


"I don't know.  I think we're ready for this."


He's right.


We've since had two more babies and are a family of five.  At the time of this writing, it's been just over eleven years since we first met.


Eleven years that he's sat with me.


I am not remotely the same person I was when we first met.  Sure, there are aspects of her that have stuck around, like the voices that tell me I need to be prettier, smaller, and more quiet in order to be loved.  But I recognize my Soul's voice now and she assures me that everything will be okay no matter what I look like, what my size is, how much space I take up, or how loud I am.  She encourages me to speak up when it's best to, to walk away quietly when that serves me, or to take my stand.  Sometimes, I am wise and listen to her, and sometimes I do not and I fall down.  And through that all, my partner sits with me.  


So you might be wondering why I decided to pour all of my past out here.  Perhaps it seems like an over-share to some.  


To be perfectly honest, I questioned the writing of this through the entire process of it.  It felt terrifying, risky, and it brought up a lot of painful memories I had long since buried.  And yet, Spirit continually insisted I do it.  When I doubted or railed against the signs, I was gently prodded forward.  It's been one giant leap of faith to keep typing the words out, and an even bigger one hitting "Publish."


I've felt ugly, dirty, and worthless over again as the memories surfaced and replayed themselves in my mind's eye.  I felt the sensations of shame, guilt, grief, and horror just as if I was experiencing them for the first time.  I've felt sick concerning myself with what others would think.  Would I bring shame to my family all over again?  Drive any existing wedges deeper or create new ones?  Would sharing so publicly mean my kids might someday know such intimate details about my past?  Would it wreak havoc on my bonds with them?  Embarrass them?  What about folks who know me now but didn't know me then?  Would it colour the way they saw me? What about my partner?!  I would never in a million years want to hurt him or bring him shame intentionally.


And yet.


I have shared because my shame is your shame and your shame is mine.  Our stories are interwoven and connected on levels we cannot even begin to fathom, because our interconnectedness runs deeper than our Egoic, human minds are capable of comprehending.


We share archetypal facets of character.  We share pride.  Envy.  Gluttony.  Lust.  Sloth.  Greed.  I am still making myself okay with those facets, with those old stories, because they're beautiful in their own way, and they've led me to where I find myself today.


We also share the deepest, most profound vibration of Love.  We all come from it.  It is what we all are.  The rest?  All of that other stuff?  It's all smoke and mirrors.  Human and temporary.  All an invitation, a trip back to that very Love.


On some level, my story is your story.


And I wanted you to know that it's okay.  We're okay.


We don't have to be defined by these stories, not if we don't want to be.  It's a choice.  We can redefine our stories.  We can bring our awareness to them, and choose another way to be.


You are worthy and you are loved, no matter your past.  No matter your stories.  No matter where you have been or where you are going.


You don't have to have a partner or babies to show you that.  Your trip will be your trip, perfectly designed just to get you where you need to go in the timing that you need to get there.


You came in with the purity of Divine Love.  At your core, beneath the scars and the beliefs, that is what you are.  And that is what you will return to when you are done with this life here, no matter the letting go or hanging on that you choose to do with this body, these experiences, and these breaths.


Your Heart, your Soul, your Light, are a blessing to all here.


One Love. 

Sat Nam.